Spirit: With his head still tilted sideways in a skeptical manner, the great mustang watched as the Indian bravely tested the ice. His ears perked forward, listening to how the ice groaned and shifted with each step. Although he expected that to happen and the ice to give way, it never did. Perhaps the ice was stronger than it looked, at least he hoped so... but something inside him still nagged to stay away. Still, he watched as Little Creek went further and further out onto the frozen river. When the young brave was half way out, he saw Little Creek was calling to him. Uncertain, Spirit backed up a step and frowned, his ears falling sideways. For a while, Spirit stood there, tentative about following after the Indian boy. Finally, however, he decided to trust in Little Creek. Slowly, he drew closer to the river's edge and put one hoof on the ice. The moment he did, the ice groaned heavily beneath his weight in protest, but it did not crack.
Spirit kept his head lowered to the river, his eyes deciding where he should step next and with baited breath, waited for the first crack to show. When he heard the river moan, he froze instantly, but when nothing happened, he slowly put more weight onto the melting ice. Step by step, he drew closer to the Indian brave, and before he knew it, he was staring at Little Creek's feet. Raising his head, Spirit felt confident now that the ice was secure. Looking contently at Little Creek, he perked his ears forward and gave a small smirk. However, that smirk was short lived.
Although the ice may have been able to hold one man, it could not hold both horse and man. As the two lingered in the middle of the river, the weaker and weaker it became until it could no longer hold their weight. Instantly, the ice began to crack and a harsh hiss escaped from the river as air rose up into the open world. Like wildfire, the crack spread quickly, reaching from the middle of the river to both banks. From this one crack erupted many cracks, and more and more came, spreading across the frozen river like angry snakes.
A whinny of fear came from Spirit and he rose up to rear, but knowing that would only weaken the ice further, he refrained himself. Thankfully the stallion's front hooves had only gone a few inches off the ice. Knowing they had to hurry, Spirit went behind Little Creek and nudged him, trying to hurry him onto his back. The ice was cracking more and more, and already small holes of water could be seen. If they stayed here much longer, the ice would be swept under the raging river and they would be trapped underneath the rest of the ice that had not been shattered.
Already small chunks of ice were being carried away by the swift current and seeing how the cracks grew wider and wider, Spirit instantly went off into a gallop the moment Little Creek was securely on his back. By now the large hole in the water had reached Spirit's hind hooves and what remained of the ice threatened to give way underneath him any second. The moment Spirit galloped off, the area he had just been standing on broke away from the ice and it too was swept away underneath the rapid current of the river. Like a snake, the widening crack followed after Spirit, causing Spirit to gallop even faster. The opposite side of the river seemed to never come. However, finally the bank came and with a whinny, he leapt off the ice and onto the bank. Once again, he had not leapt too soon. Ice shattered everywhere beneath him. However, Spirit nor Little Creek were far from safe. Although Spirit had landed on the bank, his hooves were not grabbing onto the earth and he was sliding back toward the raging river. With a cry of effort, Spirit dug his hooves into the dirt and managed to stop himself just inches from his hind legs being submerged into the icy cold river and swept away. Finally still, Spirit pulled himself up the steep bank and soon reached the top. There Spirit stopped and lowered his head, breathing heavily. Little Creek did likewise. Leaning forward, he rested against Spirit's neck and breathed heavily, then released a sigh of relief. They were safe. After they had rested, the two could continue on with their journey to reach his tribe.
Cut Away: Cut away from Little Creek and Spirit, to Rain.
Rain: It was early afternoon and she was still in the pasture, along with the two foals. By now, Summer and Moon had worn themselves out and were both resting at her feet. Their bodies outstretched and bellies being warmed by the winter sun. She watched over them protectively while she grazed. She herself was about to rest when she heard voices coming her way. Lifting her head, she saw two men entering the pasture. One was holding a tangle of what looks like ropes, while the other man seemingly followed empty handed. Instantly, she pinned her ears back and frowned. Not knowing what these humans were up to, she stepped forward to shield the foals. Not moving, she made the humans come to her, even though they try to coax her by making clicking noises while holding out their hands. Rain snorted and lowered her head, appearing wary.
Wrangler: "She should be easy to break. The old man said that she's been with humans before. Should be finished in time to go to that dance tonight."
Wrangler 2: "You're cocky aren't you? You're going off the old man's words and wasn't she captured in the wild? Who knows how long she's been feral. I think you're in over your head."
Wrangler: "Yeah, well, we'll just see about that, won't we?" With this, the young wrangler gave up on trying to coax the mare to her and instead went to her. He didn't seem to pay attention to her pinned ears or her frowning expression.
Wrangler 2: "Looks like she doesn't like you."
Wrangler: "Yeah, well, I'm not here to make friends with horses. The Colonel said to break them and I break them, no matter what it takes." Finishing this statement, the young man took the end of the lead rope and tried to get close enough to swing it over her neck so that he could catch her and keep her from escaping.
Rain: She stood her ground and watched the two men come toward her. She didn't like this. It felt too familiar to the first time. She felt trapped. She couldn't leave the foals alone and with nowhere to run, she had no choice but to stay where she was. Seeing something being flung at her, she instinctively tossed her head and flattened her ears even tighter against her head. When the rope missed she lowered her head slightly, but the rope came swinging again. This time, it wrapped tightly around her neck and the painted mare felt her neck is being held down . She tried to throw her head up and toss the rope away, but the grip from the man proved too strong. Though she cannot move her neck, she can still flail her head, and she does so. Only, that doesn't last long either.
Wrangler: "Well, just don't stand there, help me!" cried the young man as he struggled to keep the mare still. It was hard enough to keep her neck from bobbing up and down, let alone try and halter her.
Soon the other man of around middle age with a thick black beard came forward and grabbed Rain by the poll, forcing her head down. Though she tried to toss her head, he kept her head still. Soon, in a matter of minutes, a rope contraption is wrapped around her face and she is powerless to escape from it.
Rain: It all happened too fast. Before she knew it, she was being forcefully lead away from the two foals, who by now had woken up and were whinnying toward Rain. Summer raced after her mother, but was shooed away and locked in the pasture. Even though the fence separated her from her mother, she still whinnied after her.
Rain tried to look back toward Summer and whinny to her, but she couldn't. Still, she was able to turn her head a little and give a whinny toward her. Forced to play along, Rain followed willingly to a small enclosure that looked just like a pasture, expect much smaller and round. The area along the round wooden fence was nothing but dust, worn down from use time and time again. But the middle of the ring wasn't so bare. Grass clumps filled the middle of the circle, while only a few sections showed dirt. It almost looked exactly like the enclosure where Spirit was kept when he first came to her tribe.
Here, in the middle of the round pen, Rain stood. A lone man held her still and though she knew she could easily escape from him, she didn't try. No, she had an idea of what was coming and she had an idea of how to win.
Wrangler 2: "See, she isn't so mean now, is she? She just didn't want to be separated from the young ones, that's all. You'll never understand horses will you?" said the middle aged man as he stood beside the painted mare to make sure she stayed still and didn't try to do anything stupid. He even placed a hand upon her neck and roughly petted her, but not so rough that it hurt.
"If you say so. I don't think you should trust her so willingly. She's up to something, I can feel it."
"Hah, hah, you can feel it eh? Oh brother, I've heard it all now."
"Oh, shuddup old man and just keep her still."
With this, the young man threw a blanket over her back and waited for her to do something. She hardly moved an inch. The young man frowned, still not comfortable around this mare. But, seeing as she didn't do anything, he kept on going. He then threw the saddle over her, and this time, Rain side stepped in surprise at the weight of the saddle. Never in her life had she felt something like that on her back before. When the mare settled down once again, he tightened the saddle and watched as Rain snorted and stomped her hoof heavily with her ears flattened. But she did nothing else to protest beside that. "Alright then, help me put the bridle on," commanded the young ranch hand.
Rain: She tolerated the blanket, for she was used to it. But when the odd heavy leather object was thrown onto her back, it took her by surprise and it felt uncomfortable. However, she still stood her ground. She knew exactly what she was going to do and she would not move a moment too soon. But that didn't mean she couldn't show her displeasure. As they finished with her back and moved to her head, Rain pawed at the ground and tossed her head a few times as they tried to remove the halter and put the bridle on her. The bridle was the worst thing she had ever seen or felt. The steel bit inside her mouth felt cold and unfamiliar and for several minutes, she tossed her head and refused the nasty bit, but after much force, the two men got the bit inside her mouth and the bridle secure.
Wrangler 2: "There now that wasn't so bad. She isn't so wild as you thought she was. I know more about horses then you do. What happened to that 'feeling' you had?"
Wrangler: "Guess I was wrong." With this, the man pulled himself into the saddle and braced his legs tightly against the mare's belly. He knew the moment his partner let go of the mare, she would buck and gallop herself silly in circles, trying to throw him off. He wouldn't let a mere mare throw him off. With all his muscles tense and his shoulders leaned forward, he licked his lips and held on tightly to the reins, "Alright John, let her go!"
However, the moment John let go of the reins and dashed out of the way, nothing happened. The paint mare stood perfectly still. Her head bowed and her eyes closed. Lazily she flicked her tail and stood there, as if she has done this all her life. Even her ears are lazily laid back. One ear rested sideways, while the other ear rested backwards. Naturally, the wrangler is confused and bounced himself in the saddle while leaning off to the side, looking confused at the mare. "Uh, giddy up?" He flopped the reins against her neck, trying to get her to move, even to get her to buck, but she just continued to stand there. Seeing the failure of his efforts and feeling slightly irritated, he kicked her in the flanks with his spurs, but not even that moved Rain from her position. All he gets out of her is the toss of a head or a stomping of a hoof. But other than that, she does not react to him what so ever.
Rain: She stood perfectly still as the man swung onto her back. She closed her eyes and lowered her head lazily, as if enjoying a nice sunny day. She flicked her tail from side to side on occasion to keep the flies from bothering her. Lazily, she swiveled her ears and acted as though nothing is happening. Although her annoyance burned inside and she wanted to react, she allowed the man on her back to bounce around and flap the reins against her neck. Even when he kicked her in the flanks with sharp objects, she only reacts by side stepping and tossing her head. For several minutes she stood there like a docile lamb and let the man continually bounce and hit at her, waiting for her moment to act.
Wrangler 2: For several minutes he bounced, kicked, and lashed the reins against her neck. He even used the ends of the reins as a whip while kicking her at the same time, and yet, she does not move. "What the hell!?" He finally cried out in confusion and frustration. What on earth was this mare up to? She was so difficult to predict. One moment she fusses just like any other wild mustang, the next, she acts like an old Calvary mount that has done this her entire life. Angry, tired, and wanting to get this over with, the young man readies himself to lash out at her all at once, but in letting his anger get the best of him, his balance shifted too far to one side, and his grip in the saddle loosens just enough for Rain to react to the moment she had been waiting for.
Rain: She sensed it. His balance was off and his grip insecure. Suddenly, her eyes shoot open and a small little nickering laugh escapes her. Smiling now, she suddenly tossed up her head and without warning, reared up wildly. But she doesn't have to rear up completely. Like an apple falling off a tree, the man slid from the saddle and landed softly in the grass. The moment she is free from the man, Rain trotted victoriously to the other side of the fence and looked back with amusement at the fallen man, her head held high and eyes full of cunning.
Wrangler 2: Furious at being dumped, he instantly rose to his feet and chased at the mare, who only trotted away from him, always staying just out of arms reach. For minutes this went on, a game of chase. The Wrangler always just a few inches from grabbing the flailing reins, only to have them fly out of his reach again and again. This only gets him more and more flustered and he shouts at her and flails his arms in anger. Finally, after several minutes of chasing, he managed to capture the reins and instantly he climbed back into the saddle, only to be dumped seconds later. For about ten minutes this goes on. He eventually managed to catch her again, get on again, only to be dumped again.
Rain: She can't help but laugh at the game of chase. However, after being dumped once again, the wrangler gave up and stormed out of the small pen in a fit of rage. His companion, who had been watching the entire time, didn't help simply because he was laughing too hard. As the wrangler finally gave up, John left with him, teasing the young rider and leaving Rain alone. Someone else could tend to her.
Summer: The moment the two humans took away her mother, she was unhappy. She had followed her mother to the gate, but had been shooed away and was refused to follow after her mother. However, determined to find what those humans were doing to her mother, Summer pinned her ears back and a look of determination swelled in her eyes. Giving an irritated snort, Summer began to walk along the wooden fence that kept her from her mother. Her blue eyes stayed glued to the fence and the look of determination on her face never left her. There had to be a way to get past these wooden barriers. For several minutes, Summer paced the fence, looking and searching for any way to get out. When she found nothing, she stomped her hoof in irritation and looked around. Maybe there was another way out? Scanning over the small field, she saw it! Instantly, her ears perked forward and a look of excitement overcame her face. Puffing out her chest and shaking her head lightly side to side in a proud manner, Summer trotted over to the weakness in the fence. One of the top vertical wooden poles had fallen down overnight, making her escape easy. Lowering her head, Summer sniffed at the fallen pole before looking up and sticking her head over the broken fence. She looked left and right, making sure no one could see her. Seeing the coast was clear, Summer instantly had a devious look on her face.
Lifting up one leg, she placed it on the other side of the fence, then slowly her other legs. Soon she was out completely. Tossing her head excitedly, she looked behind her and saw the bay roan colt quietly watching. Wanting company to explore this strange place, she softly nickered, inviting him to come and join her. However, the young colt was not as adventurous as she. He had never been outside these fences before.
Moon: He had been watching this young painted filly ever since her mother had been taken from her. He too missed Rain and wanted her back, but he was a shy and nervous colt. All he knew were these fences and boundaries, which he had never crossed. He worried for the painted filly and wished he could ease her, but she seemed so determined. When she found a hole in the fence and dared to cross it, he was surprised and amazed at her boldness. Awed and inspired, he slowly approached where the filly had crossed the fence and looked around, uncertain. But when she tried to encourage him to come out, he stepped back and gave a nervous whicker.