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Hitch Horses


10/25 & 10/26/12

10/25/12, Hinkley, CA - This day was a long 21 mile drive down Highway 58, from Kramer Junction to the town of Hinkley.  Traffic on the highway is extremely heavy as most of the car and truck traffic from the north side of L.A., that wants to go north on I-15 or west on I-40, uses this route.  Fortunately, the highway has a wide shoulder and I was able to keep the team out of the traffic lane.  None the less, with an endless parade of vehicles, moving very fast and fairly close, it was a tiring day and I was glad to get off the road in the town of Hinkley. After pulling on to a frontage road, I was very happy to stop at the first business (Rileyís Bar) and camp out back.  Drafts were only $1.75, the people were fantastic and the horses and I had a comfortable camp out back. Unfortunately, I had to pay a lot of attention to the team and didnít take any photographs this day.

While I was there, I got an invitation to stop by Jamesís place, a mile down the road. James is a fellow teamster and drives his Belgian Show Horses in several different hitch classes, including a unicorn and a four-up.

10/26/12, Hinkley, CA (Coord. N. 34 deg, 55.181 min; W. 117 deg, 11.739 min.)

This morning, I hitched up and drove a mile east to Jamesís place. I was happy to accept an invitation to stay the day and give the team a rest.  While the team munched a little hay and took it easy in a round pen, I went with James as we hitched up his lead team of Sorrel Belgians and took them out for a spin.

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The lads havenít had a full day off since we stopped in Lone PIne, CA, so they were more than happy to munch a little hay and rest in the round pen.

James was kind enough to give me a spare evener beam (mine is looking a little shabby) and a spare collar for B.O.B.  I try to carry a few critical spare items, but lacked a few essentials. Iím in a lot better shape now - thank you!

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All four sorrels used in the hitch stand between 18 and 19 hands high. They are high-stepping, up on the bit horses that do a great job of looking flashy as they pull a hitch wagon around a show ring.

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Shod with Scotch Bottom shoes and checked up good with overhead checks, these horses really pick up their hooves and zip along as they pulled the wagon down some dirt roads near the house.

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A nice team of horses.

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James, driving the team off the pole after our jaunt in the desert.

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A scotch bottom horse shoe is designed to make a horse pick his hooves higher, and provide a break over before he places the hooves back on the ground. Itís considerably heavier than a standard horse shoe.  With this type of shoe, the flares on the outside of the hoof are protected and donít break off, leaving the horse with a much bigger hoof than normal.

In the afternoon, James ran me down to the feed store. Once again, the wagon is fully provisioned and ready for the road.  After I pick up a few grocery items in Barstow tomorrow, Iíll turn south down Route 247, before turning back east for the City of Twenty Nine Palms, CA.