“Blood on the Saddle”


"There was blood on the saddle And blood all around, And a great big puddle Of blood on the ground. The cowboy lay in it All covered with gore, And he won't go riding no broncos no more.... For his bronco fell on him and mashed in his head."


The Fifes trace this piece back to something called "Halbert the Grim" (published by Motherwell in 1827). The melody is said to be the same, and both involve vast quantities of blood. There has been a lot of evolution along the way, though; I would not consider the two related if it weren't for the melody.

The version we usually hear focusses solely on the blood, but the Gardner/Chickering text gives a brief biography of the cowboy and talks of his sweetheart who has lost her love. - RBW


  • Harry Jackson, "Blood on the Saddle" (on HJackson1)


  1. Fowke/Johnston, p. 101, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Gardner/Chickering 101, "Blood" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Fife-Cowboy/West 38, "Blood on the Saddle" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  4. Darling-NAS, pp. 331-332, "Blood on the Saddle" (1 text)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 106, "Blood On The Saddle" (1 text)
  7. Roud #3685
  8. BI, FJ101


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1905
Keywords: cowboy injury death horse
Found in: Canada(West) US(MW)