“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near McGill in White Pine County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Strength and Endurance

Strength and Endurance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2013
1. Strength and Endurance Marker
Inscription. Descriptions of the variety and number of horses used by the Pony Express became distorted during the course of its history since November 1861. In general, the type of horse used for carrying the rider and mail depended greatly on the region. The more fleet-footed thoroughbred horses worked fine on the central prairies, but the strength and endurance of half-broken mustangs were needed to cross the arid deserts and rugged mountain ranges of the West. Alexander Majors, one of the three founders of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company's Pony Express, chose the California mustang for its strength and endurance, describing it "as alert and energetic as their riders."

As each of the more than 100 stations spread along the route, relays of horses needed to be kept in sufficient numbers to meet the demands of the relay system. As the C.O.C.&P.P.E.C prepared for the "start-up" of the Pony Express, the company estimated that it would take approximately 75 horses to make the nearly 2,000 mile trip from Missouri to California.

A little more than two months before the first riders left from St. Joseph and Sacramento, the firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell began purchasing 500 of the best horses available, paying as much as $200 a head for some stock. One ad, posted in the Kansas Leavenworth Daily
Strength and Endurance Marker and Pony Express Sculpture image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2013
2. Strength and Endurance Marker and Pony Express Sculpture
, asked for "200 grey mares, from four to seven years old, not to exceed fifteen hands high, well broke to the saddle and warranted sound ..."

So, just how far and how long can a horse run? A modern-day horse in good shape can travel at a full gallop on flat terrain for maybe five to eight miles. Over the mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada, a horse and rider may be able to cover five miles. Pony Express mustangs could travel at speeds of about 10 miles an hour, but at times could gallop at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. At a full gallop, the distance that the horse could travel before becoming exhausted depended on several variables—if it was a hot or cool day, state of health, and when the horse last had a drink of water.

A good Pony Express rider rode his horse at a steady spring and generally galloped the horse only to get out of harm's way. None were easy to ride, but all agreed that in a race for life and mounted on a half-broken mustang, the express rider could leave danger far behind.

"There were about eighty pony riders in the saddle all the time, night and day, stretching in a long, scattering procession from Missouri to California, forty flying eastward, and forty toward the west, and among them making four hundred gallant horses earn a stirring livelihood and see a deal of scenery every single day
Pony Express Sculpture and Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2013
3. Pony Express Sculpture and Markers
of the year."
—Mark Twin, Roughing It, 1872

"The worst imps of Satan in the business. The only way I could master them was to throw them and get a rope around each foot and stake them out, and have a man on the head and another on the body while I trimmed the feet and nailed the shoes on ... It generally took half a day to shoe one of them."
—Pony Express Farrier and Station Keeper, Levi Hansel, in 1901 describing his experience shoeing half-wild California mustangs at Seneca, Kansas. Photograph—D.B. Young, wild mustangs near Simpson Springs Pony Express Station, January 2010.
Erected by National Pony Express Association, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pony Express National Historic Trail marker series.
Location. 39° 47.845′ N, 114° 44.444′ W. Marker is near McGill, Nevada, in White Pine County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of U.S. 93 and White Pine County Road 18 (Nevada Route 893), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located at the Schellbourne Rest Area. Marker is in this post office area: Mc Gill NV 89318, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Speedy Riders (here, next to this marker); The Crowds Cheered On ... (a few steps from this marker); The Pony Express (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lincoln Highway (within shouting distance of this marker); Schellbourne: Gateway to the Goshute Nation (within shouting distance of this marker); Schellbourne (within shouting distance of this marker); Cherry Creek (approx. 10.5 miles away); Cherry Creek School (approx. 10.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in McGill.
More about this marker. Marker is one of three Pony Express National Trail interpretive signs for the Schell Creek Station.
Categories. CommunicationsRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 222 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement