It's rare to see horses on city streets, even here in Texas. However, one man is trying to keep the cowboy tradition alive. His real name is Sam Olivo, but most folks know him as the 6th street cowboy. Olivo enjoys riding his horse Big Red through the streets of downtown. He offers rides and lessons to anyone willing to take the time to hop on.
"It makes me feel good you know. You'd be surprised how many I see when I walk down the street and all the thumbs up and people from all over the world," said Olivo.
Olivo says he and Big Red are inseparable, but the two have faced some serious obstacles together; none they haven't overcome. In fact it was Big Red that Olivo was riding when he had a serious accident and became disabled.
"This is the horse I was running when the saddle went underneath and I got dragged at the race track.…My spur got stuck to the cinch so he drug me underneath him and that's how I got hurt, but we became as one me and him."
Olivo has since recovered from the near fatal injuries he received, but after the other night it's now Big Red who's recovering.
Friday night, the horse stepped on a piece of steel, slicing an artery in his already sensitive feet.
"He could've bled to death you know," said Olivo.
Vets wanted to put Big Red down, but Olivo wasn't ready to let go just yet.
"I just knew in my heart I wasn't going to lose him," said Olivo."
Olivo was right. He makes ends meet living off a disability check. But that is not enough to cover Big Red's vet bills. So he says strangers from all over Austin and even a few folks he knew came forward to save his horse.
Dozens pitched in, but one family in particular wanted to give back the best way they could.
"He taught my daughter how to ride," said Shelly Moyers.
Moyers and her husband, Homer, wanted to make sure Big Red and Olivo wouldn't part just yet.
So the husband and wife pitched in by finding Olivo a vet and they covered most of the bill.
"I think more people should try to do that. I think they would be shocked at the opportunities around them. Because Austin is such a big small town, but everybody pretty much knows everybody and everybody here takes care of one another," said Moyers.
Olivo says he's forever grateful to have friends like the Moyers who care so much about Big Red. He says he considers the horse to be his family.
"The old horse has been good to me you know…He's like a brother that's exactly what he is. He's like a brother," said Olivo.