Sunday, May 17, 2009

Floyd's Horse Stories: Horses I Have Known

Floyd’s Stories: Horses I have known, part 2

I rode Ginger to school up until the 6th grade at Rock Creek. That was a school about 4 miles south of Monte Vista, though it is no longer there. When it was time to go to high school, I had to go clear to Monte Vista, and take the bus. But me and Ginger still got to ride, just not back and forth to school every day.

Starting in the fifth grade, and then throughout high school, I spent all of March and April worrying about when school would be out, and hoping it would be done in time so I would not miss out. On May 25, the cattle were taken up to the mountains. I waited all winter for this, and didn’t want to miss it. If school was finished, I could go.

Most years, seemed like the last day of school was on the 25th. I’d leave after school and meet up with the herd at Cornelius Ranch, southwest of Monte Vista. It took us 7 days to drive the cattle to the range. We had an old sheep herders trailer that would follow us along. At night, we’d put up a tent, and the cowboys would sleep in that. When we got to the range, we loaded the horses on the truck and hauled them back to the ranch.

(On a side note here, I was just sitting here listing and writing all this down when Floyd was sharing this story, but now that I’m re-writing is all, I can tell you already I have a lot more questions, and want to hear a lot more details about this!)

In the fall of the year, we’d go back up to the mountains, and round the cattle up and drive them down to Wason Ranch, load them on the railroad, and ship them back to Monte Vista. It took a 100 car train to bring them all back to the valley for the winter. They unloaded at the Zinzer Switch back in Monte Vista and sort them out there between the five permittees who ran their cattle in the high country together. When we had our cattle unloaded and sorted, we’d drive them out to the ranch.

Ginger and I rode together till I graduated high school and went into the service. He died when I was in the service. He was probably 21 or 22. We were just about the same age.