ut on the Nevada ranges he would run. He would steal mares from neighboring ranchers and fight for other stallion’s mares. If you saw him, you would think it was remarkable that he did not have more scars on his beautiful body from fighting. Even in the winter his coat would shine reflecting the brightness of the snow.
George made his way out West the hard way. He had many jobs along the way; he had been a lawman, a wrangler, even an outlaw. He married and settled down on a ranch in Nevada; it wasn’t much but it was his. George and Mable scratched a living on that ranch, until their fingers bled. There was growing and harvesting hay for the animals and growing and canning food for the winter.
It was in their second year on the ranch that they discovered they were going to have a baby. On the second day after she gave birth, Mable insisted on getting up and helping with the chores. George thought to himself about how lucky he was to have such a wonderful wife. The third year, the couple had a daughter, they were blessed with her health, like their son. The crops were in, everything was ready for winter but then it happened!
The Black came down from the mountains, he had stolen mares from the other ranchers, George and Mable hoped that he had enough mares to keep him busy for the winter but, as luck would have it, that wasn’t so. The Black raided one more ranch; Mable and George’s. Their boy saw his shadow opening the corral gate, but by the time he could tell his father it was too late. George grabbed his rifle from over the fire-place and ran to the corral, but The Black was long gone. All that there was were mares running out of the gate to freedom with The Black.
There are many herds of wild horses in Nevada. Some are small, some are large, some as many as one hundred. The Black’s was in the hundred range. He had to lead them to where they could eat grass and drink water. Both of which were getting more and more scarce in Nevada and the cattle-ranchers claimed they needed it all to feed and water their cattle. Part of George and Mable’s livelihood depended on those mares, as they would breed them to their stallion and break the colts and sell them every year. Without the mares they could not do that anymore.
George went up in the mountains to see if he could find his mares and The Black but after three days it got too cold and the snow covered their trail. George was thinking on the way back to the ranch of how The Black would make a great ranch-stud. His father had been let loose by the army to breed to the wild mustang mares and improve the breed, and that it did. The mustangs of Nevada had become larger and more durable. It was the perfect blend of breeds.
George and Mable got through that winter pretty easy, having no mares to feed and water, while the ranch stud had a rest but it was a cold winter. Mable often thought, while she was doing her chores, ‘I wish the mares would come back to us and be pregnant from The Black. We would have the grandest colts in Nevada.’ Then she would stop day dreaming and finish her chores.
It got so cold that winter that the children could not get to the schoolhouse and Mable and George had to teach them at home. One day, as the girl was being helped with a problem by Mable, the boy looked out of the window and saw, in the empty corral, their old mare standing alone. Ice was hanging from her mane and her head was lowered, as if she were on her last legs, close to death. The boy quickly ran for his father and told him about the mare. George went out to the coral, walked right up to the old mare and he petted her on her head as he said “Welcome home old girl, welcome home!”
Within the next three days all of the mares came back. George and Mable never had The Black for a ranch stud but the next year they had the best-looking colts in Nevada for sale!
The Black by Don Fraser
The Author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org