Stallion Chooses between Wild Herd and the Halter

May 14, 2014

 Small herds of wild horses formed in the Southern Oregon mountains when pioneers let their stock loose to graze.  In 1930, Jim and Ada Bell coveted a small black colt in a wild herd near their Siskiyou Mountain ranch. When he was a two-year-old, they caught him.

 The colt they named Little Nick looked Bell in the eye as if to say, “OK, I’m caught. You treat me right and I’ll treat you right.”  It took a long time to train Little Nick, but finally he even became Ada’s pet. Jim took the small black stallion on a roundup, where other ranchers laughed about how useless he was. But it was Nick who instinctively knew how to get the wild calves into the corral. The derision turned into admiration. One day, Nick jumped the fence and returned to the wild. The Bells weren’t sure they should deprive him of his freedom again. So Jim walked up to the wild herd with only a halter. Nick looked at him and looked back at his wild family--four times. Then Little Nick walked up to Jim, put his head in the halter and never tried to escape again. 

  Source: O'Harra, Marjorie. Southern Oregon: short trips into history. Jacksonville Ore: Southern Oregon Historical Society, 1985. 166-71.