Chapter 1: The Mustang

"Hey Nashua!" Zella called from Hot chocolate, her brown mare,"Choco here is getting impatient and so am I! Cant you get that horse of yours to behave?"

He grunted his retort," If you'd get over here and help me, Zella we could go."

She rolled her eyes at him. He was trying to train Sunbeam the buckskin mare, and she wouldn't let him mount her without a fight.

Zella dismounted and walked over to him. Suddenly Sunbeam planted her left front hoof on Nashua's black boot toe.

"Ow!!! Get off me horse!" Nashua pushed her shoulder. The mare stepped off his foot but laid her ears back.

"Easy girl," Nashua called to the mare. He turned to Zella,"Im about to jump onto her back. If she bolts grab her reins. Got it?"

"Got it," Zella called.

Nashua made a move for the saddle. Sunbeam humped her back as soon as she felt him on her.

"Now girl, you know you don't wanna buck," Nashua cooed to the mare. As if she knew what he was saying, Sunbeam snorted and craned her head around to look at him. Humor almost showed in her eyes. She stomped a hind hoof. Nashua smirked as he looked back at Zella.

"Oh you're just full of yourself!" Zella shouted at him.

"Maybe or either my horse training methods are starting to spark."

He had a gloating expression on his face that made her want to slug him, but she didn't have to. Sunbeam started bucking like a rodeo bronco when she noticed Nashua didn't hold the reins tight. Nashua turned her in a tight circle. Finally she tired.

Nashua Wiley Cochize was a natural with horses. It probably had to do with his full Cherokee heritage

Darrelle Finch, Zella's other best friend always said, Nashua and her looked like a perfect match, but Zella couldn't imagine them dating. They had known each other forever. Even though-

"Zella, have you even heard a word I said?" Nashua muttered.

"What?" She stammered realizing he was talking.

Nashua gave a sigh," Those horses are going to be gone if we don't hurry up!"

He was right even if she didn't want him to be.

Three mares escaped the pasture fence last night. Zella mounted and they headed toward Coyote Springs. Nobody knew about that place except for Nashua and her.

They both heard a horse scream at the same time. They cantered after it. A herd of of four came into view. She recognized the three mares, but there was a light gray stallion. Not just any stallion, he was a mustang!

Both horses slid to a cowpony stop that threw dirt.

Sunbeam was a cowpony in training. Nashua's father Roy owned a cow ranch. Nashua had taught Choco some cowpony tricks. She was suddenly aware of Nashua moving in a weird way beside her.

She glanced at him," What are you doing?" She asked, noticing he was standing in his stirrups.

"About to rope that gray," He sat down again.

"Why?" Zella asked puzzled.

"Haven't you seen his front leg?" Nashua said, swirling his rope above his head.

Sure enough trickles of blood were running down his leg.

The rope went around the horse's neck. He pulled back with a surprised squeal. The mares nickered nervously at the riders. They followed the stallion as Nashua ponied him. He reared. Nashua clucked to him. He came down slowly. The stallion threw his head up and snorted.

"Here now steady," Nashua said in a low voice.

"Oh, no!" Zella groaned, seeing a black horse with its rider approaching.

"Kody," Nashua muttered, with a grunt.

Kody Laysy was always bullying her into liking him.

"Hello, Nashua, Zella," Kody nodded after them.

Sunbeam bared her teeth at Kody's horse Jon. Nashua sighed. Sunbeam stiffened.

How did he know Sunbeam did that? Zella thought in surprise.

"You need help with that stallion?" Kody asked, looking at her.

She shook her head," No, we don't need your help, but thanks," she tried to keep the tremor out of her voice but failed. Kody for some reason always made her nervous.

Nashua glanced at me with a raised eyebrow. Our eyes met and I felt my heart flutter.