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A Tribute to Judy – Part 16

© ChristianChan - iStock-476118892
Ernest Hammer


MAY 31, 1938 – AUGUST 8, 2023

Part 15 was published December 4, 2023 and can be read here.

More about Wild Horse

Tony would send a semi load of cattle out, and Judy and I would sort them and put them out to pasture. One time when Judy and I were sorting cattle in the alley, we heard this sonic boom and the cattle went wild. They plastered us up against the fence and we couldn’t move. Jet planes flying out of an Air Force base near Clovis, New Mexico, would turn around north of Wild Horse, then head south. The noise was horrific.

After Judy and I got settled into our move to Wild Horse, we started getting involved in activities at the Wild Horse School. The Wild Horse ladies club had a meeting on one Saturday a month. They had a dinner for the local farmers and cowboys on that same day. Also, local residents had a card party once a month. Judy had a reputation for being a shrewd card player.

Grandchildren would come and visit every summer. When Andy, Paula, and their three children came up from New Mexico, that started building a tree house. When Kim, Jerry, and their three children came out from Colorado Springs, they rearranged this tree house. This went on for two or three years.

More Goats Episodes

One time we weaned a bunch of kids at Tony’s. He had put oven wire around a small pasture and thought it was kid proof. He and Brenda left for a few days. A day or two later, we got a call from a guy in Haswell wanting to know if we were missing any kid goats. It is twenty-five or thirty miles to Haswell. Judy and I checked the pasture with the newly weaned kids and found a six-inch gap in the corner where Tony had run out of wire.

The kids all went through that space and followed the road to Haswell. We didn’t lose a kid, even without a guard dog. The guy in Haswell had some goats so he captured ours and put them with his goats. Judy and I fixed the corner in the fence and put the kids back in that pasture with no more problems.

Goats are difficult to contain. One Sunday morning, Tony had some nannies and a billy in a small pasture close to his house and they were missing. He found them close to the highway up at Wild Horse. He put the nannies and the billy back in the pasture. Brenda said, “Are you sure they will stay in?” Tony said, “of course.” So, they went to church. When they got home the nannies were gone ‘of course.’  Tony searched everywhere and they were not to be found. The sun was going down when Tony got a call from a guy over south of Karvel who wanted to know if Tony was missing any goats. Tony, Brenda, Judy, and I went to this guy’s ranch in the dark. The guy said he knew where the goats were, so he and Tony were able to get them into the corral. Happy ending.

Cattle Drive

My Dad had grazing rights on the west side of Fort Carson in the winter. In the spring, we would move the cows and new baby calves’ home. We had to drive the cows and calves out of the pasture and then down the highway right-of-way to a tunnel under the highway. Then between the highway and railroad tracks to a bridge, where we went under the railroad to a pasture.

We were doing fine until a train came along and blew its whistle. It was chaos. Judy jumped off her horse and grabbed a calf by the hind leg and was holding it beside the highway as the cars sped by. No one was slowing down. I finally got back to help Judy. We got the cows under the railroad and into the pasture. This pasture had Fountain Creek running through it. It also had some swampy areas. My brother-in-law, Bill Fetty, was running his horse as fast as it would go to get around some cows that were going the wrong way. Bill’s horse ran into a boggy area and did a summersault. Needless to say. Bill and his horse both got wet. We finally got the cattle to the neighbors where they could settle down.

Next: More Cattle Stories