by Jerri Moore - Hesperia, Calif.
Fall has come around again and we have had another busy year at our new place. As we mentioned in our story last year we found an old thoroughbred ranch to move our donkey breeding operation. We moved in Thanksgiving week. Our family was looking forward to seeing the new place, so we hosted the family Thanksgiving meal. Luckily we always do a potluck, so we only had to cook the turkey, which turned out to be more of a chore than we thought. We learned Thanksgiving morning the only setting the old stove worked on was self-cleaning. We opened and closed the oven door all day to try and maintain the correct temperature; the only part of the turkey that didn’t survive this cooking process was the wings. The meal turned out well and it was an enjoyable holiday.
Two weeks after we moved in we had the largest snowfall for our area in the past 30 years; it snowed 18 inches in a 24-hour period. Before we moved we asked folks in the area if they received much snow and they assured us only a few inches, and it would melt right away. This time major highways between Southern California and Las Vegas, Nev., were closed for two days. I know this doesn’t seem like a lot for those of you in the north that receive blizzards, but here in “sunny” California we practically shut the state down when we get a little snow. I wasn’t able to get down the pass to work, which was OK since it took several hours to get the animals fed. Charlie had to remove a pine tree that fell on the backhoe so he could clear the snow. He made paths between pastures and runs so we could feed the critters that afternoon.
We hadn’t had time to fix all the shelters so we had to put the old man Rooster and our 23-year old tease stallion in the barn along with the weanlings. We herded all the brood jennies into one of the pastures with a shelter and the mules and geldings into another pasture with shelter. The broodmares don’t ever get along with each other, so they had to suffer in separate runs with partial shelters. We had to dig out blankets that were still packed in trunks. My sister, Barbara’s little old quarter mare, Tara, was staying with us and we put one of Rooter’s World Champion Jack blankets on her (Rooster “head shot” is pictured on the front cover of Mule and More this month). Barbara has quarter horses and paints and always teases us about our long eared animals, so I made sure to take a picture of Tara in Rooster’s blanket to tease her back.
Snow stayed on the ground for over a week, but feeding was much easier once we could get around with the truck.
We also discovered the water pipes on the place were very old; the first one ruptured when the snow thawed. We went out to feed and found an ice river between the donkey barn and feed barn. It started flowing once the sun came out. This was the first of numerous water leaks we encountered over the next six months. We began turning the water main off every night so we didn’t wake up to geysers in the morning. There was a maze of water lines running all different directions to every inch of the property. At one point we were watering every animal on the place out of one water faucet. The local hardware store made a fortune on us in water hoses; you would be amazed at how many hoses it takes to water six acres.
We spent most of last summer restoring water to all of the pastures, runs, and barn. We still need to work on a drip system for all of the trees. Our son, Corey has become the official ‘tree waterer’. He goes out every day and waters all the trees and donkeys. Corey was also in charge of giving Charlotte, our 400 pound pig, a pig puddle every day during the summer; she likes to take the hose away from us and spray everything around her, including the person doing the watering. She is quite a character.
We finally have a Rooster jenny that is old enough to breed this year. We did a lot of searching and finally decided on breeding her to Jacque Benny. We have watched this jack at Bishop Mule Days for quite a few years and think he will be an excellent cross with our stock. We could have had Jacque’s owners, Glen and Carol West of West Farm Mules, Las Vegas, (www.westfarmmules.com), ship the semen to us as they do an excellent job of collecting and shipping, but we wanted to visit. So we loaded Martha, the jenny, and headed to Vegas. We ran into snow going over Mount Summit; snow seemed to be a theme for us this past winter. We arrived a little later than we hoped, so Glen and Carol invited us to spend the night. We had a great time reminiscing about the good times we used to have at the Wild West Saloon in Bishop. Glen makes a mean margarita, and hopefully you don’t have any early morning classes the next day.
Martha got in foal right away, but we waited until we were sure there wasn’t any chance of more snow before we picked her up. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jacqueline (yes, we are hoping for a girl) in February. We’ll have her on our website (www.braymoorestables.com) as soon as she arrives.
In February we had a tragedy. We lost our most favorite breeding jenny, Straight Fellow Farms Hannah Cole; she gave birth to a beautiful jack colt and hemorrhaged shortly after he was born. This jenny was a half-sister to one of Tex Taylor’s (www.bramothfarm.com) reference sires, Rancho La Burrada Walter. She is the dam of Braymoore’s Condor, our three time World Champion Jack, and Braymoore’s Eagle, our other outstanding breeding jack. She is also the dam of Braymoore’s Martha Washington, Braymoore’s Miss Katy, owned by Doug and Sue Wallace of Osceola Kingdom Longears, (www.oklongears.com) and Braymoore’s Hawk, her last jack colt. Hannah will be greatly missed; she was an outstanding producer of fine jack stock. Luckily we had a lactating jenny, Ada, that accepted Hawk so he didn’t have to be bottle fed.
It took us until March to start preparing for Bishop Mule Days. We were out driving the boys on our one-eighth mile track with two layers of clothing just to keep warm. We had our mule, Glory, in training with Tim Phillips, so we didn’t have to worry about getting her worked (Tim and Glory are featured on the cover of Mules and More this month). So, we concentrated on the critters we were taking. Braymoore’s Condor and Braymoore’s Sultan were being driven every other day to build up their endurance to be able to compete in some classes. We were lunging and working Braymoore Mamie Eisenhower and Braymoore Margaret Taylor, our 2-year-old jennies for halter and in-hand trail. Percilla was keeping in shape for her youth classes by teaching the 2-year-olds how to pony. Percilla was being shown by McKenzie Herbert in the 13 and under division, and she comes on weekends and works with her.
We only took two trailers instead of three to Bishop this year. I had been working too many hours at my other job at a local hospital, so we ended up not being able to get ready for as many classes as we wanted. We made the decision to spend our time videoing all of Tim’s classes on Glory, so I have some reference tools when I start riding her.She was awesome in the jumping classes, finishing second in the green jumper; she also finished second in reining, and placed very well in most of her green classes. We might go for the all around green mule next year.
We were very excited to win the honor of World Champion Jack with Braymoore’s Condor for the third straight year. Jerry Rush of Sycamore Springs Ranch, Locust Grove, Okla., (www..sycamorespringsranch.net) showed Rooster’s son, Sycamore Springs Joe to the titles of Reserve World Champion Jack and Reserve Champion Performance Donkey. Joe’s offspring also won Get of Sire and World Champion Model Saddle Mule. Congratulations Jerry on your great success with Sycamore Springs Joe; you have done a great job with him, we are very proud.
Jerry was also gracious enough to bring Corey’s jenny to Bishop with him that we purchased last summer from Pete Cooper of Miami, Okla. We let Corey name her and she now goes by the name of Cuddles. Corey has taken full responsibility for her; he feeds and waters her every day, and is eager to start her training this fall. We are going to start with teaching her to lunge and ground drive. She is quite athletic and should make Corey a very good riding donkey some day. Corey is hoping to have Cuddles ready for a class at Bishop next year.
We are busy working on setting up our collecting facility for the spring. We didn’t get to it last spring.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to take a vacation this last summer. I took Mondays off work the month of July and most of the three day weekends were spent working on repairs and clean up around the ranch. We lovingly call our new place “the money pit,” every time we fix one thing something else is always waiting to be done. Some day it will be the place we dreamed of when we moved in. We did get to go on one trail ride over the summer. The Sheriff’s Posse puts on a fund raising ride each year at Los Flores Ranch; this is a very large local cattle ranch that also puts on a round-up each spring. They herd the cattle through our little town to begin the local county fair; it is quite a sight to see cattle going down the city streets and into the fairgrounds. The benefit trail ride had about 100 riders in attendance; there were several mule riders and only one donkey, our boy, Sully.
We have been riding and showing Sully for a few years now and thought it was about time to see how he handled a big ride. The riders were all gathered at the trailhead waiting orders to start the ride by crossing the river. Sully had never been through a river and didn’t really like it; we finally had to put a lead rope on him and have Percilla pony him in to get started. He didn’t show any fear of the water, just didn’t want to get his feet wet. We were very proud of him for the rest of the ride. He kept up with the other horses and mules on the ride and even out-walked quite a few of them. We had a drink break about half way through the ride and Sully waited patiently while we all refreshed ourselves with the free drinks provided by the Sheriff’s Posse. This was a fantastic ride ending with a barbecue and a raffle. I’m sure we’ll be attending again next year.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers who purchased breedings to our fine jacks this past year and wish you well with your mule and donkey foals. We always have fine stock available for sale and stand some exceptional jacks for your breeding consideration. If you are ever in our neck of the desert please give us a call and come on by…we have plenty of room for visiting critters also.
Charlie, Jerri and Corey Moore
16259 Mesquite Street
Hesperia, California 92345
Ranch Phone: 760/669-5842
Cell Phone: 951/662-5806