Snow flies from under the pony’s unshod hooves, with each stride the warrior can feel the raw power of his favorite warhorse beneath him. Far behind the mustang and his rider a dozens of U.S. Cavalry are strung out in a ragged line. For hours the larger horses have pursued the pair over broken country, hour after hour the smaller mustang has gained ground against the longer legged animals. His shorter legs and powerful build do not at a glance announce speed. However decades of living in this country have hardened and refined the wild mustang to a razors edge concerning survival and stamina. Near the top of the Wind River pass Lame Eagle slows his horse to a slow walk and finally to a stop several miles above the plateau where the cavalry still desperately pursues. Dismounting, he caresses his trusty steed and offers up a war song to the animal for his bravery and strength, the horse sensing his master’s affection nuzzles Lame Eagle and standing in this high place looks down upon the inferior horses who have tried once again in vain to catch him in his own country. They disappear over the ridge and begin an easy trot toward the high country and home confident to lose the soldiers in the timbered slopes ahead.
Captain Smith slows his tired gelding to a stop, every man and horse in his regiment is either tired or nearly broken. For the life of him, he cannot figure how the savages and their wild horses can consistently outrun and outmaneuver his highly trained and conditioned men and military stock. For ten years he has chased, tracked, and pursued the savages and never once has he caught a lone warrior even on open ground. Maybe instead of shooting the Indian ponies at every opportunity the army should consider commissioning the wild stock and using them for troop movement. Never! He and his regiment would be the laughing stock of the western army. Civilized men riding upon wild beasts, as he watches the savage disappear over a far ridge through his looking glass he decides this chase has come to an end. Indian ponies must truly be the devils spawn he thinks to himself, no mortal steed could possibly keep up such a pace.
Today the wild mustang is still wild and free upon the western plains and mountains; several are caught each year and adopted to those willing to spend the time training them for practical use as a saddle horse. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to ride across the ancient plains and mountain trails upon the descendants of those ancient war ponies. Let me assure you their spirit, stamina and vitality is still alive and well today… Hawk this story is dedicated to the memory of Cisco, who is already home… and to Magpie and Bronte our mustangs who share the ride with my family, and to my old war horse Tiger who still keeps us all in line.. Hawk a/ho