‘Yellowstone’ TV: Does Show Creator Taylor Sheridan Use Real Cowboys in the Hit Series?

by Matthew Wilson

You can’t take the cowboy out of “Yellowstone” for sure. Creator Taylor Sheridan has created a sweeping modern western that millions enjoy. One of the ways he’s made the saga of the Dutton family so successful is by keeping to his cowboy roots.

That’s right, Sheridan employees real-life cowboys on the show. Actor Kevin Costner may just play a convincing cowboy as John Dutton. But “Yellowstone” also features real horse riders on the show. For instance, Andrea Fappani appeared in the first season. Fappani is a real NRHA five-million-dollar horse rider and trainer.

Tim McQuay, an NRHA three-million-dollar rider, also appeared in “Yellowstone.” He appeared a couple of times throughout the series. Both showed off their horse-riding abilities for audiences. This helped create a level of authenticity in the show.

For those that didn’t know, NRHA Futurity is a well renown horse-riding competition. The two are among the best at their craft.

Other Cowboys in ‘Yellowstone’

Employing real-life cowboys has become a recurring element on the show. It’s easy to see why Sheridan would cast well-known horse trainers on the show. Often production is working with actual horses and livestock. So it’s helpful having someone with experience from just a safety level. But they also create another element for viewers watching at home.

Season Three featured a host of trainers including Kelby Phillips, Todd Bergen, Bob Avila, Corey Cushing, and Tracer Gilson. But Taylor Sheridan also paid it forward and invited his own personal horse trainer to appear on the show. It must be nice having a famous cliental. Sheridan’s horse trainer Tim Foran makes a cameo in three episodes of the show’s inaugural season.

His horse Walla Walla Starbuck also makes an appearance in the show’s fifth episode. While it may have a unique name, the horse also has a hefty price. The animal is worth around $50,000 in NRHA earnings. The horse is one of Sheridan’s personal mounts.

And then we can’t forget about Jake and Lloyd. Both are real-life cowboys and Sheridan cast them to keep the show as authentic as possible.

Of course, most “Yellowstone” fans are probably more focused on that Season Three cliffhanger. The show certainly knows how to keep its viewers in suspense. In the closing moments of the season, the Duttons experienced a coordinated attack on all fronts.

Several fan favorites are in jeopardy. And fans are unsure what characters will make it out alive. Fortunately, the wait for more “Yellowstone” will end sometime this summer when the show picks up with Season Four. Fans can be sure there’s a reckoning in store for whoever coordinated the attack.