Cross Shield Ranch is found on the eastern side of Double Mountain. On a Texas map you
would start your search about half way between Lubbock and Abilene, Texas stopping in Stonewall
County. This is where Byrd Cochran also known as deadman Cochran established the ranch
in 1916. His grandson, Steve Cochran operates the same ranch today; where past history and
the present day meet.
The tour begins with a brief orientation on local history and the origin of the XL
cattle brand and the Cross Shield Horse brand. The tour will present the many different
aspects of ranch life beginning with Don Long, a noted horse trainer, who will start a cowboy's
most valued helper, his horse. Don will show how cowboys teach their horses to become helpers;
how a bond is established with respect for each other; how a horse that has never been ridden
learns to accept saddle and rider; how men communicate with a horse with body language.
While the cowboys are rounding up the cattle you will watch a cowboy demonstrate the art of
horse shoeing. The cowboy will explain the whole process; different problems; types of shoes;
problems they overcome or create. After this you will see the cowboys pen the cattle. Then
the horses and cowboys will go to work separating the cows and calves. The inoculation, the
identifications via branding, and tagging and ear marking will be explained.
Through out the day tour members are encouraged to view the activities closeup, take pictures
as they like and even step up and brand a calf if they so desire. Covered bleachers beside the
working pens give everyone a ring side seat at a real cow working.
Once the calves are turned back to their mothers a working cow dog will show the group how a
good cow dog can replace two or more cowboys and how to move cattle quickly and quietly.