Written by Eclectic Horseman
1. How did you get involved with horses?
I grew up on a ranch in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. We ran cattle and did everything horseback except the fencing, irrigating and haying. I learned to cowboy from my father and uncles who learned from their father and so on. We have always been Vaqueros. Vaqueros siempre.
2. What one word describes your ideal horse-human relationship?
3. What are your current professional goals?
Well, professionally I am an architect and a rancher. As an architect, I design houses for movie stars and big shots as well as for people who can only pay me in beer and sandwiches, literally. I do the best work I possibly can for my clients to make them feel like they got the best deal they could from me. It’s the same with the horses and cattle. As cliche’ as it might sound, I try to give our horses the best deal in training, feed and the best job I can find them. Most young, cow-bred horses seem to really enjoy being in open country moving cows, and they get to do a lot of that kind of work early on. I try to raise exceptional ranch horses and top-quality beef cattle and hope to continue to improve both over the years.
4. Do you see yourself as part of a larger community of horse people, and if so, how do you fit into that community?
Yes, I have a lot of friends that I have worked with and rode with that share the same passion I have for practicing good horsemanship, working cattle and roping. The people I admire and feel a communion with are exceptional in their pursuit of excelling at all three. A couple of them are clinicians, a couple are well-known trainers, but most are just working guys, out there where no one can see them. But they are all Caballeros Completos (Complete Horsemen).
5. What equine-related product could you not live without?
My 24-foot gooseneck livestock trailer. It’s the first new trailer I’ve ever had and the lights still work. That’s handy. I can haul 12 mares or 10 saddled horses or a load of bulls up front and saddle horses in the back section. It has a solid top that doesn’t leak and makes a good place to get in out of the rain if we’re in the middle of nowhere. The brakes still work and I’m not embarrassed to pull up at a roping or a clinic anymore.
6. What is the most important character trait for a great horseman to possess? Why?
Patience. A guy or gal can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they lack patience, they tend to fall short of excellence.
7. What do you get out of working with horses? What do you give?
Working with horses soothes my soul. We do all our cow work horseback and still feed with a team of big, bay Belgian mares. I give the horses a job to do and they seem to enjoy it as much as I do. There is an indescribable feeling going out on a cold, snowy morning to feed cattle hitched to the wagon or bobsled with only the muffled sound of the horses stepping and the jingling of the harness, their hot breath rising in 30-below air. Work teams anticipate their work and seem to thrive on it. Also, anyone who’s cowboyed knows the simple pleasure of riding through big, open grass country on a good horse, especially if it’s one they’ve raised and started. Having cow work to do only makes it better, especially if they’re your own cows.
8. Who is/was your favorite horse of all time? Why?
A buckskin horse I still have. I got Buck as a green four-year-old (he’s 14 now) and he was a bad motorscooter. Bought him from a guy, also named Buck, who was a team roper. Kept flipping over backwards in the box when they tried starting him on team roping. Guess he just didn’t like that dang box and I will only rope off him now if I have to. But anyhow, he just shined outside and I can tell you there has never been a better circle or natural cutting horse on our humble little place. In his prime he could long trot and cover more country faster than any horse that ever stepped on the place. As good a horse in our rough and rocky country as I think I’ll ever see. Buck could jump rocks and cut hardheaded bulls at the same time. Athletic a horse as I ever hope to ride.
9. Who would you most like to ride with?
My grandfather Antonio Márquez who died in 1964 when I was only four. He was a great Vaquero by all accounts and could throw a beautiful figure-eight. As far as the living, nothing is sweeter than riding with my three kids and my wife. They’re the best cowboy crew a guy could ask for. Also, I would like to learn to ride cutting horses with Matlock Rose.
10. What is your most memorable horse-related moment?
Went to a branding a few years ago with a green-broke four-year-old gray I had bought up in Wyoming. Called him Blue Cheyenne. I had this colt going pretty good and had used him all winter calving. Toward late spring he had kind of soured on roping those little calves because a lot of our cows are pretty mean and he would get rammed quite a bit while I was on the ground doctoring and ear marking. I always tried to keep between him and the cow and he got to where he dreaded going out. Anyhow I gave him about a couple of months off after calving and decided to take him to this branding. I just couldn’t miss that day and made a lot of real fancy shots, but the great thing was the softness and aptitude of that colt after some time off. He had a lot of confidence and an eagerness that made me real proud of him. He seemed to really enjoy himself. I got to hand it all to that colt for making us both shine that day.
Pedro Márquez’ ancestors came to New Mexico eleven generations ago in the 1600s with Don Juan De Oñate, a Spanish Conquistador. Historically, his family on both sides have always been Ganaderos (livestock people) in New Mexico and Colorado, but out of 52 first cousins, brothers and sisters, he is the only one left ranching. He and his wife, Sarah, and their kids, Camila, Antonio and Anna, own and operate a small cow ranch in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado where they run Black Baldy and Limousine cross cattle and raise registered Quarter Horses. Pedro has released two CDs, “Nevada” and “Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads.”
This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.12