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Cassie nodded as she saddled the horses. They rode out a short time later. The dog by her side. They kept the horses at a walk. In less than an hour they arrived at the hill overlooking the lake and spied the herd at the water's edge. They slowly walked their horses down the hill so that the herd did not spook. It was a large herd with horses of many colors and sizes. Colors ranging from almost pure white, to grays, browns, black and many combinations of colors. "The herd ranged in age from foals, to colts, to young stallions to the old man himself. Cassie pointed to the stallion that stood apart from his herd. He eyed the humans.
"He is magnificent." Victoria whispered.
"This could be the reason Chobo was acting up this morning. He sensed the herd."
"Why would the herd bother him?"
"Midnight is his father. If he would have stayed with the herd, he would have eventually challenged him for control of the herd. They just about fight to the death unless one of them gives up and leaves."
"So you rescued Chobo?"
"Sort of. Ellie and I pulled him out of a mud hole a few years ago. Brought him back to the ranch. He had some nasty scrapes. He may have already challenged Midnight and was run off. Granny and I patched him up. The herd instinct has never left him."
"Do you think he would go back to the herd?"
"He might try, but in order to stay he would have to challenge Midnight again and would probably get killed in the process. He is too tame now to really defend himself."
"Chobo is an interesting name. You said it was from ancient Amazons?"
"Yeah. Ellie said it was a really old weapon the Amazons used. Chobos are short clubs that they used in hand to hand combat. Somehow he reminded her of the bravery of those women needed to fight with those weapons. She said it was because he challenged his father at such an early age."
"Did you ever try to capture Midnight?"
"Yeah I did. You heard mama say it was not one of my better ideas."
"It is not something I like to be reminded of."
"It does not matter. You do not have to say anything if it makes you uncomfortable."
"Uncomfortable? No, embarrassed is more like it. Mama will tell her take on it but it is better to hear how it actually happened. She tends to make things out to be more than they are." She smiled. "I had only been running the ranch for less than a year, when I got the bright idea to try and catch him. My daddy always told me to leave him alone. He said he could not be tamed. But daddy had died earlier in the year and I hated to be told that some things could not be done. Midnight had brought his herd down and I decided to catch him. I managed to get a rope on him and led him away to the field on the other side of the hill. I managed to get him calmed down, or so I thought. I got a saddle on him and climbed on. He stood still for maybe about five seconds and I remember thinking, that he wasn't so bad. Then he started to buck and I lasted maybe three seconds, before he threw me against a rock. I broke my leg. No one knew I was out there. I was stuck. I could not walk and had no way to get back to the house. It took them two days to find me. But trying to ride that devil wasn't the only bad idea I had that day. I tied Goldie to the tree and she could not get home either. The first night it rained, which made for a miserable night. When they found us I was in bad shape. To this day I have no idea how Midnight got that saddle off."
"What did your mother say?"
"It wasn't pretty. She yelled at me for better part of an hour. Since that day, I have left Midnight alone. He deserves to be free. I have also learned to carry a special pouch with me in the event I am injured and unable to ride, I tie the pouch around Goldie's stirrup and send her home. I have been working on voice commands with her so that if for some reason I can not get to the pouch, I just say the word and she goes home. I have also been doing that with our friend here. I hope no one ever claims her."
"They watched the herd and laughed as the colts frolicked in the water. From the forest on the hill top, they were being watched also.
To be continued...
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