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The Horse Trade

IMAG0003When I first started riding on San Rafael desert, in the early eighties, I was working for Gurney Land and Livestock. They ran their cattle on some B.L.M. permits down there in the winter, and on Fishlake mountain is the summer.

One of our neighbors on the desert was a man named Chad Moore. He had a permit next to us, with a base camp at a place called the Texas Well. Chad was in his mid fifties at the time. He was a bachelor, and had spent his whole life running cattle on the desert. He ran on the desert year round, as did his dad.

Chad hardly ever had any help, and sometimes had a hard time getting everything done. Most of the water on his place was from wells he had to pump with small gas engines on jack pumps. Around each of his water holes he had built traps, where he could shut the gates when cattle went to water. This was how he gathered most of his cattle.

After a while the cattle would get smart to this, and started to get somewhat wild. They would hear his truck coming, and take off. It ended up that Chad had quite a few maverick cattle on his place that had never been branded or marked.

We had quite a few cattle that would get mixed with Chad’s. It was hard to keep  fences up in that country, because the sand would drift over the top of them, and would blow out from under them in another place.

Scott Gurney and I had decided to go help Chad gather some of his cattle, and we could get ours while we were there. We went to a place on Chad’s allotment called Middle Canyon. There the water was down in a canyon. He had a coral built above the canyon right on the main trail the cattle took to go to water and back. We were going to coral the cattle there.

I was the new hand for Gurney’s, and didn’t get my pick of horses. I was riding a big buckskin gelding they called Sambo. He was big enough to be a work horse. The said they had used him to skid logs on the mountain to build a log fence. He wasn’t real smooth to ride, was a little lazy, but he was good and gentle.

When we got about to the coral, a three year old maverick bull left the bunch and was trying to get away. I asked Chad if he wanted me to catch him. He said catch him if you can. I started after him on Sambo. It took me a ways to catch up with him and rope him and by then we were about a mile away from the coral. I headed Sambo towards the coral at a trot. Part of the time the bull would hang back and make Sambo drag him. Part of the time the bull would be trying to bunt him in the butt. Sambo didn’t pay much attention to him, and just kept trotting towards the coral.

We got him to the coral, and got my rope off of him. The other guy’s had got the rest of the cattle in the coral. We were deciding how to haul everything back to camp, and letting our horses get their wind.

Chad was looking at Sambo, and told Scott, ” that’s the horse I need”.

At the time you could buy a pretty good saddle horse for around six hundred dollars. Scott told Chad, “for a thousand dollars, he’s yours”.  Chad looked at me and said “get your #!#%#! saddle off my horse.

We took my saddle off of him and hauled him to Chad’s coral.

I was happy that I didn’t have to ride him anymore. Scott was happy, he had a thousand dollars, and Chad was happy he had a new horse.

As far as I know Chad had that horse the rest of his life.