Stud Horse Rider | By: Bil Nadeau | | Category: Short Story - Western Bookmark and Share

Stud Horse Rider


   Stud Horse Rider

     The young rancher made his worn out brown gelding trot as he got closer to home. Once the cabin was sighted he spurred the horse into  loping. 

    At the hitching rail he jerked the reins back. The horse slid to stop in front of them.

   As he dismounted the rancher yelled, “Martha deer, we could not even afford Jack Danials.” 

   Looping the reins around the rail he said, “Honey we didn’t get enough cattle sold at the auction. That renegade ranch kicked our ass.”

   Not hearing any answer the rancher shrugged his shoulders and said, “Martha I’m not saddle sore.”    

   When he reached the front door he took a deep breath and said, “Honey don’t worry, our cattle herd is going to get us by.” 

   The silence alerted the rancher. He rushed into the house. 

   The empty living room  hit the rancher fiercely. 

   Martha certainly is a seamstress. She spends some tine sewing what ever cloths need it. He yelled, “Honey my work jeans are tore up.”  

   The lack of any response alarmed the rancher. He started hunting for his wife.

   In the kitchen the wood stove was not even lit. The rancher yelled, “Sweetie the campfire doesn’t cook anything like you do.”

   The bedroom was orderly and neatly cleaned up. The bed was even made. The rancher sighed and stated, “That’s nicer than a bedroll.”

   When he made the back door the rancher paused and mumbled, “I wonder if some rattle snake got in scaring her off.”

  He hurried over to the barn. The door was wide open. Every pin in the center that normally held a gelding was empty. The one on the right that usually held his wife’s favorite mare was also empty. The gates were just closed not latched. On the left the stud was the only horse still pinned up,

   The rancher punched his left hand and yelled, “The geldings got loose. She’s trying to round them up.”

   He then quickly turned back toward the horse he had rode home on. That gelding had his nose to the ground. He looked so wore out there was no way to ride him very far.

   With a grin the rancher said, “Ain’t got no choice.”

   He quickly led the gelding over to the saddle shed, unsaddled it and penned it up in the barn. 

   The tall white stud was the only other horse. The rancher determinedly haltered it and led it over to the saddle shed. With the lead rope around the hitching post the rancher quickly saddled up the stud. Cursing the delay he got out a bridle. He took the halter with lead rope off. He then got the bridle on  with the bit in the stud horse’s mouth.  

   The rancher quickly mounted the horse and reined him toward the trail that runs from home south to the main pasture.                                                                                                                          

   The rancher spurred the stud and yelled, “Giddy-up.” 

   The stud took off quickly and ran to the trail. 

   Upon reaching it the rancher jerked on the reins and yelled, “Whoa.”

   He dismounted and started checking around for the hoofprints of the mare. The stud horse quickly started sniffing toward the small trail breaking off to the right. The rancher quickly caught sight of the hoofprints there. He had to cross his arms and frown because this was not the trail leading to the main pasture. He couldn’t see any stray horses heading this way because the trail leads to rough rocky canyons without much grass to graze. It was really only a shortcut to renegade’s ranch.

   After a moment he states, “Huh, she must be out to gossip. Wives get together to do that no matter how much their husbands don’t get along. I’d better catch her before she tells something she shouldn’t  ought to.”

   The rancher quickly remounted the stud horse and spurred him off onto the small side trail.  

   As they went along the rancher’s mind was sidetracked. He kept wondering how his wife could help them renegades rustle his cattle. 

   Following the trail as it wound about the rancher quickly ran into another puzzle. The trail hit a boulder. One could wind around it or ride slightly under it. Since leaning forward in the saddle is harder than riding upright the rancher figured his wife would take the longer way around.

   The stud horse could not be reigned the easy way around. He kept stopping and wildly turning back.

   The rancher said, “That mare must be in heat, but why would Martha take the hard way?”

   He glanced down and noticed several other hoofprints other than the mares. None of them matched any of the rancher’s horseshoes.   

  The rancher reached to the holster strapped to the side of his saddle and jerked the Winchester model ninety four out. He swiftly cocked the lever and spurred the stud horse. He had to bend over and hold the riffle down barrel forward. He was able to make it through the tight spot. 

   He then stopped the stud horse to get a close look around. He saw where the tread marks headed into some trees.

   The stud horse raised his  head up to nicker but the rancher jerked on the reins to keep him from giving them away.

   The rancher said, “I hope we beat them to her.”

   He reined the stud horse up a hill away from the trail. When he reached the top he caught sight of Martha on her mare surrounded by five outlaws.

   The rancher jerked the reins quickly stopping the stud. He dismounted behind a tree and glanced down hill a bit. He saw how the outlaws kept trying to get close enough to pull Martha out of the saddle and how the mare kept kicking at their horses. He grinned and said, “That mare is really in heat.”

   The rancher pulled the stud under the tree to unsaddle him while he tried to get away and run down hill. The rancher held him in place with a rein around his neck. Once unsaddled the rancher took the bridle off and turned the stud horse lose.

   He then said, “This is just like grizzly bear hunting.”

   As the horse lopped down hill to the mare the rancher got right behind a small bolder and aimed the Winchester down hill at the outlaws.

   The one ridding a large black gelding was circling Martha. He yelled at her,”You’d better give up. I don’t want to make it with a corps.”

   Martha yelled, “My husband is going to kick your ass.”

   The outlaw cursed loudly and said, “Bitch don’t know what a real man is. She’s probably got some wimp to boss around.”

   Martha yelled, “He’s sweet. Turns any woman on.”

   The outlaw started laughing, then said, ”Any bull like me gets what he wants.”

   After positioning himself like a sniper behind the small bolder the rancher took notice of the outlaw riding the black gelding. Instinct told him to take that one out. Unfortunately that outlaw kept moving about. It was almost impossible to aim the rifle accurately at him.

   The outlaws were caught off guard by what they interpreted as a wild stud horse coming about. Most reined their gelding out of the way so the stud would not fight them for the mare. 

   The one on the black gelding yelled,”Don’t shoot that stud. He’s going to knock the woman from horseback when he mounts the mare.”

   He had his horse stand perfectly still close enough to be the first one to attack Martha.

     Martha did not get caught off guard. She recognized the stud as soon as he cleared the trees. She reined the mare around to face him and yelled,”Whoa.” 

   The outlaw tensely yelled, “That mare has got to surrender to the stud like you ought to surrender to us.” 

  The rancher took note of that outlaw as the leader. He calmly aimed the Winchester to the center of his skull. As the outlaw grinned the rancher shot him right between the eyes.

   The four other outlaws could tell where that killing bullet had been fired from. Out of reflex they all quickly drew their pistols and started lopping their horses towards the rancher. 

   Most of them had to ride right alongside Martha. That way the stud horse started kicking their gildings in the legs hard enough to make them fall. When they hit the ground most of the outlaws lost their handguns.

   The rancher  had enough time to cock the rifle repeatedly and pick them off.  

   After the last outlaw fell motionless the rancher set the rifle down and grabbed the bridle. Armed with it he started running down hill yelling, “Whoa.”

   Martha dismounted and took the bridle off the mare. She then looped one of the reins around the neck of the stud horse. She took control and led him away from the mare. She did not loose the stud when her husband was able to wrap his arms around her. 

   While hugging his wife the rancher whispered, “Martha dear our horses saved us.” 

   Martha took a deep breath, then grinningly said, “My lover ain't no chicken.” 



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