The Roundup

May 24, 2011
By , Alameda, CA
It was 5:00 on a beautiful June morning. I looked out of my bedroom window and had a feeling it was going to be a good day. A light fog covered the rolling hills and I could hear the horses starting to wake and move about their stalls.
I walked down stairs to the kitchen and quickly cooked myself some eggs and poured myself a glass of milk. The sun was just beginning to rise when I got top my horse Seltzers stall. He was a mustang mix with a blue roan coat that shimmered in the early morning sun. I quickly tacked up and walked Seltzer to the cattle gates. Last night my dad told me that a calf was expected and he wanted me to check on it. It would be my first time going out alone to bring in a heifer and calf back to the barn and I was excited. It had done it a million times with my dad and I thought it would be a chance to prove that I was responsible enough to participate in “That Roundup” that was held every year. It’s when a group of people and their horses go and roundup the local herd that travels around these hills. My horse Seltzer was from the herd, my dad had bought him at the auction last year. I couldn’t wait to pick out the best horse in the herd.

I mounted Seltzer as I thought about all my possible options, would I get a buckskin, roan, black, bay, dapple, grey! Would I get a male or a female? There were so many options, I couldn’t wait!

As I approached our small herd of cattle I heard the soft moo of the calf. It instantly brought a smile to my sun kissed face. All out cattle we trained and friendly so it was easy to dismount and approach the cattle without the fear of being jabbed in the back with a pair of horns. I slipped the rope over the heifers head and she nudged me arm, obviously liking the attention I was giving her.

We were about half way home when I noticed a shadow in the woods. I felt into my saddle pack to check if I had my pistol with me just in case a lion was stalking us. We continued cautiously when I heard a commotion coming from the woods. Trees were shaking and bushes were rustling. The heifer spooked and gave Seltzers a little shaking, he was scared I could feel it but he didn’t want to spook and abandon me here with some sort of danger. Then it happened, two figures came out of the woods in a muffle. That’s when Seltzers spooked. I quickly grabbed my pistol and tumble rolled off Seltzers back. I knew he would head home and stay in the corral. I jumped up and thought of running until I saw that the lion had a horse, pinned to the ground, waiting to get a good slash at her neck. I couldn’t watch this; I had to do something about it. I ran towards the horse and lion, full of fear. I shot in the air first to scare the lion; luckily he got scared and ran. The horse lay there, motionless. I approached cautiously and when I saw the wounds on the horse I instinctively pulled off my plaid shirt and wrapped it around the major wounds. She was reluctant to stand and she let me stroke her and I pulled off my belt wrapped it around her neck. It sort of worked as a lead rope and I was proud of myself that I had just saved a horse.

Once we got back to the barn I got her water and some flakes of hay. After she ate I bandaged her wounds and realized that my dad didn’t even know I was here.

“Dad! Dad!” I called out. I ran up the wooden staircase and into my dads well decorated office. “Dad I got the calf back but, a lion, a lion tried to get this horse an-“I said interrupted by my dad.
“Are you okay? Is Seltzer okay?” Dad said, his voice calm and soothing.
“Yes, Seltzer’s fine but the wild horse, I brought her home. She’s pretty banged up, I gave her some hay and water, and I bandaged her wounds.” I said soaking in the fact that I had saved the life of a horse.
“Well, what are we doing in here?!” Dad said, jumping from his seat.

As we got to the stable it was about 3:00 the horses had already been let out of their stalls and were grazing in the pasture. “See dad isn’t she pretty?” I said as I looked at the black mare with a dirty but luscious, mane and tail. “Yes Jessie, she’s a fine mare, maybe if you get her strong and trained, you could ride her in the round up. Sound good? I’ll help you if you want.” Dad said as he opened the stall door to examine her. “I think I would like that” I said as a grin crept onto my face.
“Okay. But first thing’s first, you’ve got to name her and then give her a bath.” Dad said as he covered his nose. A NAME! I’d completely forgotten about a name, I already had a name for her; it fit her spirit, strong, obedient, and brave. Bandit.

The next morning I slept in late, I was awoken by the delicious smell of bacon and fresh eggs. These were the morning I cherished.
I jumped into some jeans and threw on a black v-neck and was half way down the stairs before you could Lipizzaner.
“Good morning Hun.” Mom said her silky dirty blonde hair in a flawless French braid. “Morning” I said as I was served some bacon and eggs. “So today Bill’s coming down with the feed and he’s a vet. Maybe he could take a look at Bandit before he leaves.” Dad said. “Sounds good” I said with a quaint smile on my face.

Later that morning I heard Bills truck coming down our gravel drive way. I had just finished Bandit’s bath and she was an amazing jet black and I was sure to take extra care to clean her name and tail. It was flawless, after I trimmed it and got all the knots out, it was gorgeous.

“Wow” Bill said as he opened Bandits stall door and gave he a baby carrot. “She’s perfect for you Jessie.” He said as he felt over Bandit’s wounds. “Thanks” I said, blushing. “Yup you remember my son Austin?”
Austin was the cutest guy in school and he had the perfect face smile and hair! Then I realized that I had been standing there for a while without saying anything. “Oh yeah I remember Austin, why do you ask?” I said trying not to stutter. “Well he’s outside unloading the feed. You want to go and help him? I’m sure he could use the help.” Bill said lifting Bandit’s back left leg. “Okay, I’ll go and help him.” I said, straitening up and fixing my hair.

As I approached the trailer I could hear him whistling some famous country song. Then the butterflies awoke, and they wanted out.
“Hello?” I said as I rounded the corner of the trailer. “Oh, hey here” Austin said as he jumped up from the hay and shook off his shirt. “Your dad told me to come and help you with the, you know feed” I said as a little dog jumped out of the hay and ran and jumped on me. “Sander” Austin said to the dog. Sander immediately obeyed and stopped, sat down, and wagged his tail vigorously. I bent down and pet him. “Is he yours?” I said as Sander licked my hair lightly. “Yeah” Austin said as he walked over and picked the Jack Russell mix and play wrestled with him. I couldn’t hold back a smile he had a great relationship with his dog and it made him 50 times cuter. “So I heard that you rescued a wild horse?” he said as we brought in the 5th round of feed up into the hayloft. “Yeah” I said, dropping the feed bags onto the others. “You want to see her?” I said. “Sure” Austin said a smile on his perfect face.
As we approached Bandits stall a nice silence came between us.
When we reached Bandits stall and I turned around and pointed to her stall.
“Wow, she’s gorgeous” He said staring at my beautiful mustang. “I know she is pretty amazing” I said opening her stall door. “Does she have a name?” He asked entering with me and stroking her mane.
“Yeah, I call her Bandit” I said blushing at my country name.
“I think that’s an awesome name, it like matches he coat, because she’s all black” He said feeling her super soft coat.
“Maybe you guys can come trail riding with me and Apollo tomorrow?” Austin said as we exited the stable. “I would really like that” I said as we stopped in front of the trailer. “Cool” He said sticking his hands into his pockets.
Later that night I lay in bed wide awake thinking about what I would do tomorrow with Austin on our trail ride. Would we stop and have a picnic? So many things I couldn’t even fathom. Finally I went to sleep and the next morning I woke up WAY to early, as in before our rooster was even up. ._.

I had just finished tacking up Bandit when I heard the mighty hoof beats of what I was soon going to find out was Apollo. I walked outside to inspect the noise and was amazed at what I saw. A huge Andalusian that must have stood 18 hands, with a long silvery mane and tail and a coal dusted coat that was flawless in the early afternoon sunlight. “Wow!” I was barely able to get that out. “He’s HUGE” I continued. “Yeah he is pretty big but you get used to it, you know like getting on a step ladder to get on him and stuff like that” He said smiling.

“Okay so do you want to go on the north trail that loops around by your cattle and leads back here, or the south trail?” He said pointing to the directions of the trails. Then I remembered what had happened on the north trail. It was where I had found Bandit; well rescued her and I did not want to go back there. Not now, not ever.

To Be Continued…..

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