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The Brumbies

by William Gaskell, aged 9

The Brumbies by William Gaskell

Read by Jane Slavin from the BBC Radio Drama Company

Once, in the outback of Australia there was a herd of wild horses, "brumbies". They caused trouble for local people by running through the land breaking fences, allowing the farmers own horses to escape. The leader was a fiercesome black stallion. Many men had attempted to round up the brumbies, as the mares were worth a lot of money at market, but all had failed.

The brumbies lived high up in the mountains. Only some men could ride such country. A young man called Mick lived up in the mountains with his father. He was the best horseman in the mountain country. His mountain horse has been bitten by a snake and had died.

One day in winter Mick was checking his animals in the deep snow. He heard a rustling sound down by the creak. He was scared because he thought it might be horse rustlers who had been in the area. He went to check, moving as quietly as he could. He gasped, it was a stunning colt. It's leg was caught in the barbed wire and bleeding. He unleashed his rope from his belt and crafted it into a headcollar slipping it onto the horses head with difficulty. He tied the rope onto a sturdy tree and waded through the snow back to his barn to grab his wire cutters. He went back to the colt and cut the wire from around its leg. At first the colt was jumpy and flighty but it couldn't do much as its leg was so badly hurt. Mick talked to it quietly and stroked its neck. After a few freezing hours he managed to coax it into his warm barn. He washed its leg and by then it was so exhausted that it let Mick do it.

Little by little as the snow melted the colts leg began to heal and it grew tamer. When Mick saw the colt in the spring sunshine, he realised that it was the most beautiful horse he had ever seen. He could run like the wind and he named him Bolt. It took him six hard months to back it but Mick was a determined young man. When Mick's father died, he left him a pair of binoculars. Mick used them to search the mountainside every night looking for the brumbies. One night in the height of summer, he saw the them on the mountain ridge. He jumped on Bolt and galloped towards them. He edge around the mountain, going behind the brumbies. He moved up to them slowly and made them go directly down the mountain towards the fenced field he had made with them in mind. After a lot of shouting and cracking of his whip, he overcame the stallions strong spirit. He finally got the whole herd into his field and closed the gate.

Mick began to make his living by breeding amazing horses from the stallion and from then on everyone called him, "Brumby Mick".

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