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Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 11

Time to Break the Young Horses

New chores for Billy

Riley said, “Billy you have been home a week and it is time for you to start doing some work around here. You could either work with the herd or go to Jones and work with the horses.”

Billy said, “I think I would rather work with the horses.”

“Well he has a lot of those quarter Mustangs that need breaking but you might not be able to ride them yet. They are giving the hands a tough time getting them broke.”

“Well I been thrown before so I guess it won’t hurt me to be tossed again.”

“Some of them are downright mean and will try to hurt you when they get you off. They’ll try to smash you into the corral, paw you, kick you and if that wasn’t enough they’ll bite you.”

“Dad I know all that stuff you’ve told me that many times before.”

“Yeah I know but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded does it.”

Just then Bartlett and Mamie came riding up and said, “Hello, you must be Riley.”

Les said, “Yes you have got me there.”

“Hello Billy,” he said, “Mamie wanted to come over and see this place so I decided to come with her and meet all of you.”

Les said, “Come on in and meet my wife and other children.”

Once inside he said, “Sarah this is our new neighbor Mr. Bartlett.”

Bartlett said, “Hello and you must be Missy and this is James I suppose.”

Billy said, “Yes you have them right and Caroline is in her crib over there.”

Les said, “Missy tell Chen to bring us something cool to drink.”

Missy took Mamie to her room and they talked about some girl stuff while the grownups got acquainted.

After they got through visiting Billy said, “I’m going to Jones’ and get started working the horses.”

When he got to Jones’ he asked what he should do.

Jones said, “You better watch and see what you’re up against.  One of the hands got on one of the horses and he had a rough ride but rode him till he quit bucking.”

Jones said a couple more rides and he will be broke enough for the army to start training him for army duty. After watching the rough ride the cowboy had Billy thought this is going to be worse than I imagined.

By night time he had been thrown several times and rode three or four. He was very sore and didn’t know if he could ride again tomorrow.

An invite to “dance with me”

On the way home Bartlett stopped by Jones’ place and visited for a few minutes.

Mamie finally got Billy to talk to her a little. He was so sore he didn’t feel much like talking.

He told her that by Friday all of the horses should have been rode and he would have time to get over the beating those broncos’ gave him.

She said, “You know there is a dance on Saturday night and I will be there with my family. If you are there we can dance together if you would like to.”

He said, “I may be too sore to dance but I believe my folks are going to be there.”

The next day Jones could tell that Billy was sore so he told him to help with the saddling the horses and unsaddling them after they had been ridden.

Billy tried to convince Jones that he could ride but Jones said, “One job is as important as the other so handle the horses and get them ready.”

Billy asked if any of the ranch hands were going to the dance on Friday night and they said, “Not after the week we have had.  Maybe we will go to town on Saturday and just hang out with whoever has the money for a good time.  What about you Billy are you going to have a date with little Mamie.”

Billy blushed and said, “I’m too young for dating and so is she.”

“Well c’mon now Billy you are almost a man and men have to let the girls know you are around.”

I’m only ten and that isn’t a man and she isn’t a woman. She is just a little older than my sister who still plays with dolls.”

“Well Billy you may only be ten but you are a tough ten from the way you can ride these horses we just broke.”

“That may be, but a tough ten or not, but I ain’t tough enough to ask her for a date and besides she is too young for dating.”

“Well you answer me this then. Why was a young guy about fifteen coming by here and trying to court her?”

“I’ll see you guys later cause I’m going home and have a hot bath and see if I am up to going to the dance or not but I ain’t dating no Mamie.”

A young man’s thoughts turn…

Billy was pretty sore and the ride home was pretty uncomfortable. He thought about the teasing the guys gave him but soon his thoughts turned to a young stallion that was almost two years old.
He decided that he was going to keep an eye on that one for he was ready for a new horse with a lot more life in him than his horse he had since he was four years old.

He wanted to talk to Les when he got home and he let him know he wanted that horse for himself.

He unsaddled his old horse and rubbed him down like he had done so many times before and put him in a stall with some feed. He had ridden this horse so many miles and to give him up wasn’t going to be easy.

He knew he would never let someone else have him for he was like a friend. The horse would always whinny when he saw him and come to him like a dog.

No, it won’t be easy to take another horse as his main ride but it was time to make a change. He would keep him in the pasture near the barn and ride him enough to let him know he still loved him.

 To be Continued

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