Oxen in a Freight Train

“We aimed to get two good Missouri oxen for wheelers and leaders, size being required for the former and intelligence for the latter. The next grade were the ‘pointers,’ which were hooked next the tongue. Between these and the leaders were the ‘swing,’ composed of the ‘scallawags’ —the weak, lazy and unbroken. To show how few stood the twelve hundred miles journey, I will state that but two of my twelve got through, the rest having died or given out from time to time. They were replaced by others from returning trains, or by the best in what we called our ” calf yard,” or loose cattle. This was a corruption of the Spanish word caballada, although the ‘Pikers’ did not know it, and, in fact, did not bother themselves about its origin, as ” calf yard ” seemed the natural term for a troop of oxen.”