Don't Tamper with Horses


March 7, 2024

...Continuing-Part 7.

The posse thundered down the hill, led by Orville Wilkins' hunting dog, heading for the three men who were saddling in the bottom of the draw.

The Casady brothers abandoned their half-saddled horses, turning instead to run to the shelter of brush and trees, firing their pistols as they went.

Sam Morgant gestured to the men riding with him and they split. They hung back out of accurate pistol range and moved to surround the small hollow where the Casadys made their stand.

Dropping from his horse, Moss sheltered himself behind a rock and nestled his rifle to his shoulder. He grinned to himself as he imagined the frustration the horse thieves must be experiencing, trapped in the hollow with only their pistols while their rifles sat strapped to their saddles.

"Give it up, boys!" Sam called. "You're surrounded and outgunned. You ain't got a chance!"

Silence filled the draw, then Ron Casady called out his reply. "Alright, Morgant. Don't shoot. We're comin' out." Sunlight flashed from his pistol as he tossed it to the ground.

Al Casady burst from his sheltering bush and ran to his bay horse. He leaped on without touching the stirrup and drummed his heels into the horse's flank. "You won't catch me!" he yelled as he headed straight toward Orville, using careful balance to keep the saddle centered on the bay.

The farmer dropped his rifle, paralyzed by the sight of the horse barreling down upon him. Move, he told himself. Either grab for his gun or jump out of the way. His body did not respond.

A sharp whistle sounded and the bay turned as only a cutting horse can. He sank on his haunches and switched leads, then loped up to Moss. The saddle slipped on its loose cinch and Al Casady toppled to the ground. He sat up and blinked, then stared into the barrel of Orville's gun. The fight knocked out of him by the well-trained horse, he surrendered meekly.

Moss rubbed the bay, then looked up to meet Sam's eyes. "Best cutting horse I ever had," he said. To be continued...

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