Thursday, 28 July 2016

Skipping through Colorado

Friday May 6th
Gerry and his young quarter horse off to a reining competition in the morning...
 Mo had unusually been dragging behind a little the previous day, and in trotting the horses to beat the dark the previous evening, I noticed he was slightly lame behind.  On examining him more closely the next morning I realised he had a crusty injury at the back of his pastern, probably a rope burn from when he got caught in his tethering rope a couple of days previously.  I hosed it thoroughly, applied Vetrazin, and he seemed much better when we set out for Julesburg where I hoped to get hold of bandages, though he was dragging a little again by the end of the long day.
Julesburg is in Colorado, and I contacted Linda Dolezal, the President of the Colorado division of the NPEA for help. She arranged an excellent place for the horses at the luxurious ranch of David Garniss just inside Colorado south of the Platte at Julesburg, and met me there armed with the required medical supplies. David took over the task of applying some yellow paste he swore by and bandaging Mo's pastern before the horses were turned out in a white railed paddock for the night.
Then home with Linda for a fabulous supper cooked by husband Craig, shower and bed. All in all a great evening after a rather demoralising day.  Linda and Craig at home....
Saturday May 7th  Linda drove me back to Julesburg, with a stop to admire the imposing Pony Express statue at the visitors' centre en route.
 Taking a photo of Gerry taking a photo of us taking off...
Happily Mo walked off sound and back to his usual cheerful self, and Gerry donated the pot of magic yellow paste. I was also applying it to Lady's cut which was healing nicely.

Monuments at the site of Old Julesburg....
 Julesburg was originally established near this position on the south bank of the South Platte river, but it subsequently moved position several times, ending up in 1881 at its present site further downstream and to the north of the South Platte.

 Julesburg got its name from the infamous French Canadian Jules Reni, who built a trading post at a river crossing point here in 1859.   A notably dodgy character suspected of thievery, he was unwisely employed by Russell, Waddell and Majors as a station keeper for the stage line and pony express, and became embroiled in a famous and fatal feud. Evidently it was not long before the company became unhappy with his less than admirable running of the station and sent Jack Slade, their tough superintendent for the Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie division, to sort him out.  Reni skeddadled, but crept back later to ambush Slade, leaving him for dead riddled with buckshot.  Unfortunately for Jules' future health Slade survived and was naturally a little peeved. A month later he managed to capture Reni, and according to accounts tied him up and used him for a macabre form of target practice in which he named the part before shooting it.  The grand finale was apparently to cut the ears from the dead body.  Those were the days.

 Crossing the South Platte not too far upstream from where the stage and pony express riders would have crossed....
The South Platte was wide and shallow here with a central island, though crossing was not without the ever present danger of quicksand.  One pony express rider was nearly drowned at this crossing when his pony lost its footing and was swept downstream by flood waters. The rider managed to struggle ashore with the mochila, and continued his ride on a new horse.
From here we were headed towards the North Platte, and a few miles north of Ovid we crossed back into Nebraska after a whistle stop journey through Colorado.   Lady and Mo by a marker for Hughes Ranch, or Nine Mile Station,..
 ..according to the information on the marker this station was not one of the original stage and pony express stations, and only came into use for the last few months of the pony express. It was located a couple of miles away to the other side of the interstate which can be seen in the background.
It was also at the entrance to my destination for the day, the Hammeyer Ranch.  Seriously bad weather had been forecast, so Linda made a concerted effort to find shelter for myself and the horses for the night. The Hamemeyers (sorry I am not sure of the spelling) were all away at a rodeo, with the exception of Newt who was holding the fort.  But they were happy for me to hole up at their house which is why when the horrendous thunderstorm arrived (we even lost electricity for a while!) we were all safe and dry, the horses in the barn below..

No comments:

Post a Comment