SINGLETON RANCHES - EST 1986
The Singleton Ranches started in 1986 when Dr. Henry Singleton purchased the famous San Cristobal Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to breeding and raising good cows and horses, Dr. Singleton wanted country that preserved the ranching heritage brought to New Mexico over 400 years ago.
Purchases of land grants in New Mexico and California over the years have resulted in assembling more than 1,000,000 acres of ranch country. Dr. Singleton passed away in 1999, but fortunately today his five children continue to operate the ranches as he wished. Caroline, Singleton's wife of 57 years, was also actively involved in the ranching business until her death in 2007.
Singleton Ranches is one of the top five operations in the United States in terms of total acreage and cattle numbers. But it is the families that work the land who form the heart of Singleton Ranches. These families are totally immersed in ranch activities year-round. The spring and fall works involve not only the wives and children of the ranch cowboys, but the neighbors as well. Whether it is gathering cattle, working in the branding pen or fixing dinner, everyone helps. These families are proud of the way they live, treasuring the simple things most.
Singleton began to accumulate ranch land in 1986, with the purchase of one of New Mexico’s most historic ranches. Located between the Ortiz Mountains, Cerrillos Hills, Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Jemez Mountains, lies the archeologically important Galisteo Basin, where the 81,000-acre San Cristobal Ranch has operated for some 400 years. Under blue skies approximately 300 days of the year, the San Cristobal acreage has been occupied by the ancient Paleo and Anasazi Indians, as well as by the Spanish conquistadors.
Today, the land, which is only about 15 miles from Santa Fe, is home to the ranch families who operate the San Cristobal’s cattle and performance horse operations. In honor of tradition, the Singletons have habitually kept the historic names of all their holdings. In New Mexico, the San Cristobal to the Aqua Verde, Bar Y, Latigo, Conchas, Bigbee/Lobo, Trigg, Bojax and Dunlap/ Perez ranches all carry their original appellations.
Singleton cowboys often ride through ruins dating back from 300 to 1,500 years during their work day. They ride past Indian pueblos, ancient petroglyphs and across land that holds the remains of old Spanish forts and missions.
The Singleton family and their employees are fiercely proud of their present lifestyle and their efforts at preserving the past. And in an era of broken promises and downsizing, employer/employee relations at Singleton Ranches are of the old school, where respect and work ethic are still appreciated.
The emphasis on family life is a welcome addition to this workplace, too. Singleton Ranches provides their hired help with ample housing, horses good enough to shorten a lengthy gather and plenty of beef in the kitchen. The return comes from some 30 families with loyalty for the brand they ride.
Alex Carone is a general manager of 750 sections, or roughly 500,000 acres, in New Mexico. He has worked for Singleton Ranches for more than 15 years and can still say, “I’m just really proud to work here.”
In New Mexico the ranches continue to be known by their original names. Included are the San Cristobal, Pecos, Conchas, Lobo, Bojax, Moon, Lazy 3 Bar, Trigg, Agua Verde, Perez and Bar Y.
Most of these ranches in the New Mexico Division go back in time to prehistory. Ruins of Indian pueblos and camps can be found throughout the ranches. Petroglyphs and artifacts that date from the 1100s to the 1600s can easily be found. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 that forced the early Spaniards to leave New Mexico began in part at the San Cristobal Pueblo, on the ranch named for it. Spanish Conquistadors and explorers such as Francisco Coronado and Antonio de Espejo left detailed journals and maps describing their journeys through several of the ranches. Old Spanish forts, missions, and churches are found on the
northern New Mexico ranches.
Over the years many things have not changed. Our cowboys and their families are fiercely proud of their way of life. For Henry Singleton, who grew up on a ranch near Fort Worth, Texas, the greatest reward was “just being out in the country, the association with the land, animals and people.” As he put it, “take care of the land, and have it in turn take care of the people who work on it.”
The California division is comprised of three ranches including the historic Peachtree and Topo ranches in the Salinas Valley, and across the San Joaquin Valley is the River Island Ranch in the foothills of the Sierras. The Peachtree and Topo Ranches, a combined 90,000 acres, were once a part of the Mexican San Lorenzo Land Grant of 1842 and are considered to be among the most productive ranches for yearling steers in California.
The Peachtree Ranch is named for the many peach trees that were planted in the early 1800s by the Franciscan Friars who established the nearby mission San Antonio. The ranches are in the Gabilan Hills, covered with rich grassland and 42 varieties of oak trees. Wildlife, including elk, deer, pigs, and mountain lion, abounds on all the ranches.
Origin of Remuda
The mare band for Singleton Ranches is kept at the San Cristobal Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is known for always raising good horses. Horses with substantial bone, good minds, and lots of cow sense are what we strive to raise. We upgraded our existing mare band by purchasing 16 mares and foals from the Montgomery Ranch near Crowell, Texas, about 17 years ago. These mares were predominately grand daughters of Dry Doc (with a sprinkling of foundation racing breeding). Harper McFarland, who had been a long time manager of the San Cristobal Ranch for over 50 years, then purchased several stallions to cross on these mares. The stallions were predominantly cow horse bred and were grandsons of Doc Bar and Doc O Lena.
One of the stallions was a son of Doc O Dynamite, which was used for many years in ranch breeding. Over the subsequent years, many changes have been made in the breeding program. The broodmares, which numbered near 50 head, were divided into four different bands and were pasture bred to the aforementioned stallions at Singleton’s Bar Y Ranch near Santa Rosa, New Mexico, where longtime manager Leroy Webb tended to them. Harper, Leroy Webb and John Scott all came from the same area near Big Lake, Texas, and were all very active in the horse business. They traded horses back and forth, giving each of them a chance to build a well-respected ranch remuda.
In 2000, an AQHA champion stallion, The Hot Express (Zan Par Express X Lil Hotshot Bar), was purchased, and a separate horse division was begun with all the mares and stallions being completely relocated to Singleton’s San Cristobal Ranch. This division is comprised of a complete modern breeding facility, with all services available to the public, and a major training facility, which will emphasize the all-around performance horse.
Additional stallions which have been added to the ranch’s program include:
• Bit Of Heat by Hollywood Heat out of a daughter of Zan Parr Bar
• Dualwithme (2005 & 2006 AQHA Hi Point Cutting) by Dual Pep out of Cowstruck, a daughter of Smart Little Lena
• Timber Cat 101 by Docs Hickory out of Cats Full Measure, a champion daughter of High Brow Cat
• A Smooth Edition by Smooth As A Cat out of a daughter of Doc Quixote
• SCR Crackin Thunder by Metallic Cat, out of 2006 NRCHA Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Winner, Smart Crackin Chic by Smart Chic Olena
• A Streak of Disco by Streakin Pac Bar out of Ms Runnin Disco
We also stood at the ranch AQHA Champion stallion Daniel B Boom by Boomernic out of a daughter of Bull Parker. All of these stallions have helped us move forward in our quest to improve our remuda.
Our newest additions to the mare band include mares like:
• Smart Crackin Chic (LTE $215,000), 2006 NRCHA Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Winner, 2007 AQHA World Show Finalist (Smart Chic Olena x Kwackin);
• Soft N Shiney, 2006 NRCHA Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Finalist (Shining Spark x Miss Softwood)
• ARC Shining Please (Chic Please x Shining Summer)
• Little Lena Nitro (Nitro Dual Doc x Little Lena Rio)
• Linda Boon Boom (Peptoboonsmal x Pretty Little Lena)
These mares are performance horses that have been flushed to add higher end genetics to our remuda.
The horse division is of paramount importance to the cattle operation since we do our entire cattle work horseback all year round. As a result, our remuda must be suitable for use in all kinds of terrain and weather. Our breeding program reflects efforts to produce a horse with strong bones, a good mind, and a big heart. Of necessity, these horses must also be genetically “full of cow” to accomplish their daily responsibilities.
INTO THE WEST
Wide open spaces with many different terrains makes the San Cristobal Ranch a perfect back drop for some movies. An old one "The Cowboys" with John Wayne shot on the ranch in the early 1970's.
Some new ones "Into The West," "Commanche Moon," "Seraphim Falls," "The Hitcher," "Lone Ranger," "Thor," "True Grit," "Cowboys & Aliens" and a Chevy Truck commerical.