Breaking a Horse in New Mexico Territory

One cowboy bucks the traditional game while breaking a horse in New Mexico Territory.

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The headquarters for a large ranch was a few miles from our homestead near the now extinct town of Los Tanos, New Mexico Territory. Dad happened to be there one day when the cowboys brought in a wild horse. Each man had to try to ride him or take a spanking with a pair of chaps. My dad, being a nester, was excluded from the game.

One by one the cowboys mounted the horse and were thrown. Then one of them refused to take his turn in the saddle. He was seized, bent over a barrel, and the chaps were applied.

He fought, kicked, and cursed, and as soon as he was released he started swinging at the running cowboys. Unable to vent his wrath on tormentors he couldn't reach, he vaulted the corral fence, sprang to the saddle, and rode the wild horse to a standstill. 

Dorothy Van Gundy
Wellston, Oklahoma

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.