Horse links

How to read
a horse's

Paso Finos
and mustangs
at play

A stallion's
love life

How to Buy
a Horse at a

How to Breed
for Color

Killer Buyer:
True Stories

Visit to Canyon
de Chelly

Sandi Claypool's

Horse photo


Poultry photo

Rattlesnake Acres, continued ...

Another plus was that two of our neighboring families home schooled their kids. I had recently begun home schooling our middle-school-age daughters. This sort of thing works best when families can share the load, each teaching what we do best.

During the first few weeks after buying the land, John hauled off the ruins of the old house and beheaded various rattlers. Together we tore out the old barbed wire fencing which draped from rotting and tilted fenceposts. We knocked down the thick stands of cholla that infested the place by running them over with our Volvo station wagon. Soon its front bumper bristled with embedded spines, but better there than in our hides. We piled up the green cholla and some brush and made a bonfire. It smelled like roasting chilies.

Our new well hit water at 260 feet. It gave us 12 gallons per minute of the most delicious water we'd ever tasted. We brought in a manufactured home and tied it dowm with welded rebar to a reinforced concrete foundation. We weren't taking any chances with the high winds of the New Mexico plains. Our valley even gets a tornado from time tio time, so the weather records say.

We built a barn and a welded wire pen for our dairy goats and a hen house for the chickens, and set up two six-foot-high by 75 feet long wooden fences to break the gale force winds and blizzards that periodically rake the Estancia Valley. They provided a sheltered path between our home and the barns.

On July 26, 1991, we and our critters all moved in! I credit the speed with which we could get all this done to the easy regulations the county had in those days.

Finally, now that we were in the country, our Great Pyrennees and two Border Collies had real farm dog jobs. They took enthusiastically to the job of discouraging coyotes and hawks and herding the goats when we let them out to graze.

Soon we built an electric fence bordering our ten acres. We knew exactly what we wanted it to fence in: horses. Every day, the girls and I studied books on horse care that we got from the library. We joined a 4-H Horse Club and went riding at our friends' homes. We hired a builder and he put up a horse barn, open on the southeast side. By the spring of 1992, the winter snows had melted, the mud had dried, and we were ready to buy our first horse.

We were heading for the greatest adventures of our lives.

Next chapter: Coquetta --->>

Back to the Table of Contents for Killer Buyer: True Adventures of a New Mexico Horse Dealer

View of Rattlesnake Acres from the northwest corner looking southeast across the Estancia Valley.

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