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Wagonteamster

In Memory

April 14, 2014, Valley Falls, OR - Sadly, Friday night my grandfather Howard (Jake) Sheaffer passed away at the age of 101. I know Jake would like to be remembered for the great horses he has bred and raised in the past eighty years.  Like his father, Jake is a member of the Percheron Hall of Fame and was instrumental in keeping the breed alive in the years following WWII, when draft horses rapidly disappeared from the farms and ranches across America. There are few Percheron owners in the US that own a horse that doesnít include the bloodlines of one of his great stallions or mares.  Exceptional horses like, La Rex, and Doc Gray are just a couple of the hundreds of horses that have called the Sheaffer Farm home. Jake was also an inspiration to many potential teamsters and draft horse owners, myself included.

Howard (Jake) Sheaffer, 1912 - 2014, Horseman Extrordinaire.

 

    Preparations for Trip #5 continue. The new supply trailer is complete,  It looks something like the supply trailer I pulled behind the wagon on Trips 3 and 4, but it has a few improvements, the most visible of which is a metal arm extending across the back of the trailer, eight feet above the ground. On this, is mounted a pair of red flashers and a slow-moving-vehicle sign. This should make wagon and trailer more visible to drivers and provide more warning for them to slow down.  Iíve also included (2) 55 gallon water barrels.  Along with a couple of jugs, this will allow me to carry 125 gallons of water, in addition to the 20 gallons carried in the wagon tank for personal consumption.  This effectively increase the ability of the wagon to travel up to 80 miles between sources of water.

With harness repairs complete and shoes on two of the three horses, I was finally able to hitch up the lads and take them for a spin. The first thing I noticed while hitching the horses was that Horse Bob sure did gain a lot of weight this winter. Heís going to need quite a few spins around the block to get him in shape.

After pulling out of the house, we headed down the Abert Rim road for a little seven mile jaunt. My neighbors were branding calves and had made it a social event, with friends and fellow ranchers gathering with their cutting horses for the occasion.  I was tempted to pull down their drive, but then I thought of the effect the horses and wagon might have. I would probably have scattered the cows and had the horses pitching their riders.  So, with more than my normal amount of discretion, the lads and I took the turn down the road to the south and did our best not to add too much of the old west to the occasion.

Doc and Bob returning from the first training run of the year.

The next five or six weeks will be busy ones as I get ready for the trip and finish up a long list of chores around home. I have a goal of hitching up and driving the team at least four times a week to get them in shape for the upcoming trip.

 

Like always, Doc insisted on pulling the wagon by himself. No matter how much I encouraged Bob or tried to discourage him, he would always find a way to grab most of the weight for himself - oh well, thatís Doc.

I hope everyone is getting some fine spring weather. Talk to you soon,  Bob

[Home] [Trip 5] [When the Weather Breaks -] [A Few Day Roadtrip] [In Memory] [Cuttting Cows and Training] [Trout and Horse Driving] [Brandin' Calves] [Three Weeks To Go] [Wagon & Trailer Work Done] [Things Are Coming Together] [Shakedown In the Mountains] [Scouting Trip] [Tough Start] [Whoa!] [Cattle Drive - Day One] [Cattle Drive - Day Two] [Sweet Summer Days] [Warm, Horsey Days] [An American Serengeti] [In Nebraska, Once Again] [Back Home, At Last] [Happy 2015] [What's New With the Teamster?] [A Long Time Between Posts] [Nice Times] [Twelve Wonderful Days In Glacier Bay]