Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood

CHAPTER V.
WILD HORSE RUNNING.

For several days after Billy Cody got his prize he did nothing but train the animal to his use and was delighted to find that Little Grey would follow him like a dog wherever he went.

Having all arranged now for his wild horse hunting, he set out one day from home to be gone a week or more, he told his mother, and with the promise that he would bring her a small fortune soon.

He had already discovered the feeding grounds of the herd, and thither he went at once, arriving in the vicinity shortly before dark.

As he had expected, he found the herd, nearly five hundred in number, but he kept out of sight of them as it was so near dark, and camped until morning, when he found they had gone up the valley for some miles.

Cautiously he followed them, and getting near unobserved at last made a dash upon them.

Into their midst he went and a good horse was picked out and lariated in the twinkling of an eye and quickly hoppled and turned loose.

Then another and another, until Billy felt that he had done a pretty good day's work.

He had discovered two things, however, and that was that Little Grey seemed more than a match for any of the herd with one exception, and that one was a large, gaunt-bodied black stallion, that appeared to drop him behind without much effort.

"I've got to have him," said Billy, as he returned to his hoppled prizes and began to drive them toward the fort.

It was a long and tedious work, but the boy was not impatient and reached the fort at last and received his reward which he at once carried to his mother and received her warm congratulations upon his first success.

Back to the herd's haunts went Billy, and again he camped for the night, but was aroused at dawn by a sound that he at first thought was distant thunder.

But his ears soon were undeceived as he sprung to his feet, well knowing that it was the herd of wild horses.

Instantly Billy formed his plan of action and mounting Little Grey rode into a thicket near by, which wholly concealed him from view.

Here he waited, for he knew that the herd was coming to the river to drink, and a cry of delight burst from his lips as he behold the black stallion in the lead.

"It is the horse the settlers call Sable Satan and that belonged to a horse thief, father told me, who was shot from his back one night.

"Well, if I can catch him I'll be in luck, and I'll try it, though they say he is awful vicious. Be quiet, Grey, or you'll spoil all."

On came the large drove at a trot directly for the river, and a beautiful sight it was as they moved forward in solid mass, with flowing mane and tall and the rising sun glancing upon every variety of color.

The leader was a perfect beauty, black as ink, with glossy hide and long mane and tail-the equine king of the herd.

With his reins well in hand, his lariat ready, and full of excitement, Billy waited for the horses to reach the stream, which they entered to quench their thirst.

As every head was lowered and the nostrils driven deep into the cool waters, out of the thicket dashed the Boy Horse-Hunter, and the clattering hoofs startled the drove, and in confusion and fright they turned to fly.

Straight as an arrow went the boy toward the black stallion, which attempted to dash by with the mass.

But with an unerring hand the lariat was thrown, the coil settled down over the haughty head, a tremendous jerk followed, and Sable Satan was thrown to the ground.

With an exultant cry Billy sprung from his saddle, and quickly formed a "bow-stall"* which, when properly made, is more effective than a severe curb bit-and placed it upon the animal that was choked beyond the power of resistance.

Loosening the lariat around his neck Billy sprung upon the prostrate animal, which, with a wild snort bounded to his feet, and with prodigious leaps started on after the flying herd, his daring young rider firmly seated upon his back.

Finding he could not unseat Billy by bounding, he came to a sudden halt, and then reared wildly; but with catlike tenacity the boy clung to him, and then Sable Satan mad with rage and fright, attempted to tear him from his back with his gleaming teeth.

A severe jerk on the bow-stall however thwarted this, and with a maddened cry the splendid prairie king bounded on once more after the flying herd, a call to Little Grey from Billy, causing him to follow at a swift run.

With a speed that was marvelous Sable Satan flew on, directly into the drove, the daring young rider still clinging to him, determined to dare any danger to keep the animal whose capture had baffled the very best horsemen of the plains.

Sweeping through the herd, as though they were stationary, so great was his speed, the black stallion soon left them far behind, and glancing back Billy saw that Little Grey had not cared to venture into the midst of the wild band and was galloping away over the prairies.

Not knowing who might pick him up, and having his rifle, ammunition and provisions strapped to his saddle, he determined to go on after Little Grey, and at once a fierce fight began between the boy and his horse.

But the boy proved the master, and after a severe struggle the black stallion was subdued and guided by the bow-stall was in full chase of Little Grey, while Sable Satan's former subjects were flying away northward without their leader.

When in chase of Little Grey, Billy soon discovered the remarkable speed of his new capture, for he overhauled his former pet with ease, and now thoroughly broken in, the saddle and bridle were transferred to the black's back, and exultant over his success the boy rode on to the fort, where large sums were offered him for the famous stallion.

But Billy refused each tempting offer, and on Sable Satan set out to capture more of the herd, and which he readily succeeded in doing; but as the Government offer of ten dollars for the fugitive animals became known, there were a number of men starting on the trail of the wild mustangs and though Billy got the lion's share, he did not quite realize the expected fortune, but was content with the few hundreds he made, and the ownership of Sable Satan and Little Grey, the two fastest horses on the Kansas prairies.


[Back]* A bow-stall is formed by taking a turn with a rope or lariat between the nostrils and eyes of a horse, and passing one end over the head, back of the ears and tied on the opposite side. A second noose is then made around the jaws and from this the reins lead back toward the rider, who can then thoroughly manage the animal-THE AUTHOR.
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