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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Into the Pecos River Valley


4/4/10, Fort Sumner, NM - This morning, my host, Forrest Brockman was kind enough to solve the problem with the cattle guard at the end of the ranch road.  First we hooked the biscuit wagon to a pickup and drove it to the other side.  Then we went back to the house, loaded the horses in a stock trailer and took them across. This whole process didnít take too long, and was a lot better than driving back across the rough horse pasture. Thank you Forrest!

I was just asked the other day where to find some good draft horses in West Texas. Well, Forrest Brockman,  (575) 799-0617, has a nice team of 9 and 10 year old Suffolk Punch mares for sale, right here in Eastern New Mexico. The teamster Iím staying with tonight, Jerry Gideon, has driven this team and says they handle real nice. If you want to see what Suffolk Punch Draft horses look like, go to Lee the Horseloggerís website.

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An interesting view of some cattle and a stock tank on the range.

It was a beautiful day that started a little cool but warmed up quickly. By late afternoon, the temperature was into the mid eighties, but with low humidity and a nice breeze, the team stayed cool. We first topped the escarpment that encloses the Stockaded Plains, then descended gradually into the Pecos River Valley.  With plenty of mesas, old washes, and exposed rock and sand, the scenery was spectacular.

Since we were so far from a good sized town and traffic was fast, we didnít get a lot of visitors, but a few stopped to visit.

Bob and Bill pulled well in the morning, but in the afternoon, they were letting me know that itís time for a day off.

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If the kids donít want to sit on him, Doc will always accept a nice pat on the shoulder.

Approaching Fort Sumner, we started to descend into the Pecos River Valley.  As we came further into the valley, we started to pass through some irrigated land, and it was nice to see some green again! Ft. Sumnerís biggest claim to fame is that it is the place where Pat Garret shot William Bonney (aka Billy the Kid) following the Lincoln County War.  (Thereís a great John Wayne western movie about the Lincoln County War.)

Tonight, weíre camped at the home of Jerry Gideon, in Fort Sumner. Jerry is a long time teamster, who has driven horses and mules for a lot of years. He currently has several mules, and hitches up a wagon whenever he can. When John McComsey came through here last summer, he stayed with Jerry and rested his mules.  Jerry also found a farrier for John to get new shoes tacked on his mules.

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Billís looking carefully down the tracks to make sure no trains are coming.  When theyíre beneath him, he knows theyíre going to run him over!

As many of you know, today is my birthday. In the past 51 years that Iíve had this bronc saddled, Iíve had a really good ride.  I may have been scraped and bucked some, but, for the most part, itís been a peaceful lope through a mountain meadow.  Heck if life doesnít pitch you every once in while, you might not realize that youíve ever been in the saddle!

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Horses on the range are always interested when the team goes by. This herd ran alongside for about 2 miles, then tired of the game and went back to grazing.

Tomorrow, the team gets a day off to lounge around, eat hay, and take naps.  Iíve got a few maintenance chores to do, and some supplies to get, but thatís about it.  All of the horses are freshly shod, so I donít have that chore to do. Iím writing a new ĎTop Handí story, and hope to have that published on the website soon.