James Richmond's
California Story

Breaking in the Mustang Team

July 30, 1860 Have been drawing baled hay of late. The man I am working for is a reporter for the Sacramento Union. His wife and two children live here on the ranch, he spends most of his time in the city, and knows very little about farming.

One of the horses I had been driving was wanted for other use. So he said pointing to a mustang in the drove "That fellow ought to be broken to drive. Do you think you could manage him?" I thought I could, so the boys were called to help me corral it. I soon had a lasso around his neck and choked it down until it gave up. And I could lead him to the barn where I had my load all ready to start.

We drew a sack over his head and put the harness on as gently as possible in order not to frighten it. Then we slipped the sack off and headstall on as quickly as possible put the sack on again and led him to the wagon were the other horse was already in place.

I was on the seat whip in hand by the time the trace was hooked. One of the boys pulled the sack off, I touched them with the whip and away we went with my mustang team. The dust flew. I knew we would not belong in getting there, if everything held together. Away we go on a dead run. Six miles to town. Would they let up before we got there? Not a bit of it! I dared not stop them for fear they would not start again, so away we go at breakneck speed all the way to town. When we arrived they were pretty well warmed up and ready to stop when I said whoa! When I was ready to go home I had a well broken mustang team.