The Mysterious Dapple

 by Maria and Julia B. 

  Chapter one

 Chad Carter caught his breath as a golden dapple stallion galloped past. His creamy white mane and tail flew in the wind. He would throw good colts.

“Let's get him!” Chad hollered to Wyatt.

Sky launched into motion chasing the stallion, Wyatt right behind him as they flew across the pastures, slowly gaining on the stallion.

The closer Chad got to him, the more he was taken by the stallion’s  beauty.  He was a palomino dapple that carried himself niceley.

Chad twirled his rope once, twice, and sent it sailing through the air. It settled nicely around the stallion’s neck. Wyatt’s rope, a second behind his, landed over the horse’s head.

The palomino hit the end of the ropes hard as the saddle horses dug in their heels.

Got him! Chad relaxed.

Snap! His rope broke just in front of the saddle horn!

Jerked from the saddle, he sailed through the air landing in a muddy swamp. He sank deep into the sloppy mud as his fuming anger burned hotter than ever. The stallion’s jumping around did not help.

I knew my rope was wearing. I should have known better than to put off getting a new one. Pulling himself out of the sulphur smelling swamp mud, he made his way back to Sky.  With a constant drip of brown water from his clothes, he stepped into the stirrup, swinging his other leg over the saddle.

“Are you okay boss?”

“I'm fine.” Chad grumbled. Looking at the magnificent horse before him, who now stood quietly, he grinned. “Let's get this beauty back to the ranch.”

Wyatt nodded his understanding and handed Chad the end of the stallion's rope. 

They started their trek back to the ranch, with the stallion trailing behind Sky.

If Chad only knew he was leading a stallion that people were looking for.    




“Whoa boy, easy now.” Chad crooned to the frightened animal.

They had led the stallion back to the Circle C, and entered  the back entrance of the barn to keep everyone from seeing him immediately. The poor animal was out of sorts in a  stall at the back.

“I’m going to put him into one of the foaling stalls to give him a bit more space.” Chad spoke low to Wyatt so he wouldn’t further frighten the horse.

With Wyatt going ahead, Chad led the horse farther back. He settled down quickly in the foaling stall, the bigger space seeming to pass his inspection.

“He is a mighty fine horse boss. What will you do with him?”

“I’ll break him. I can’t see myself ever selling a horse like him though.” He turned away, headed to the house for supper so he wouldn’t be late. Turning back he faced Wyatt.

“Hopefully with him back here he won’t be the talk of the others yet, but try to keep it quiet. I have a plan, and anything about this horse needs to be kept under your hat. Tell the other hands to watch their words with anyone not living in this yard. Understand?”

“Understood boss.” Wyatt nodded and gave Chad a small smile as if he expected his boss’s thoughts.

Can he know my idea? Even if he does, Wyatt won’t let on to her.

Chad walked across the yard toward the house whistling. This would be the best surprise for Andi’s birthday.


Chapter two


At supper Chad sprang his idea on the rest of the family. They all agreed that the stallion would be an amazing  birthday gift.

Now all that was left was for Chad to gentle the wild beauty that stood in their barn. It will be a pleasure to work with that stallion. He is such a magnificent animal. Won’t Andi be surprised!

“What should we call him ‘till Andi names him?”

“How about Chance?” Mitch threw in his suggestion.

“What about Beauty? From what you have said about him he sounds like a beauty.” Ellie gave a suggestion.

“How about, Sunbeam?” Everyone agreed that Mother’s idea was the best.

“Sunbeam it is.” Just like Mother to have the best suggestion.

Conversation moved from one topic to the next for the rest of the evening, but Chad kept thinking about Sunbeam. I can’t wait to start training him tomorrow.




Chad led Sunbeam into the round pen to start the first training session. Sunbeam quickly caught on to what Chad was teaching him.

It’s good he is catching on quickly. Andi’s birthday is only a few days away.  If I keep at it he will be ready a day early. I’m not training him to ride. Just lead and be respectful with people around. He will certainly throw good colts.

Even this great idea had one flaw that Chad turned around in his mind. I wonder what Riley will say? He quickly shrugged it off. If Riley is not sure, Andi will convince him real quick.



“He’s gone!” Chad burst into the kitchen, with a raging temper.

“Really Chad! You needn't shout! If you want us to listen, lower your voice.” Ellie scolded.

Chad gave an apologetic look before continuing in a quieter tone. “Sunbeam is missing. I went out to work with him and found an empty stall, with the door swung open. No one let him out. That horse figured out how to open the stall door. Now I’ve got to go looking for him and there is a chance Andi will see him.”

“Let’s hope Andrea stays at Memory Creek and doesn’t go for a ride today. Why don’t you leave Sid in charge today and take some of the hands to  go looking for him?  Ellie and I can ride over to Memory Creek and visit Andrea. That will keep her there.” Mother offered.

“Sounds good. I’ll go tell the hands,and hich up the buggy for you.” Chad headed out the door making his way to the barn.  This horse is starting to be more trouble than I thought possible.






Chapter three


“Where else could he be boss?” Wyatt asked mid afternoon the next day.

All of them were tired from riding all yesterday and most of today. They had split up and covered most of the range land, and hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the stunning golden dapple.

“I don’t know Wyatt.” He answered. Then a thought entered his mind.  “There is one place that we haven’t looked yet. Boys, we’re headed to Memory Creek.”

They did a ground covering lope, headed to Memory Creek. They slid to a stop on top of a hill that gave them a good view of the ranch. Looking over Riley’s and Andi’s spread, Chad was filled with relief. He’s not here.

“Boss.” Chad looked to where Wyatt was ponting. Oh no! Sunbeam was standing behind the house cropping grass. I hope Andi hasn’t seen him.

“Wyatt, you and Diego come with me. Let’s go get him boys. Be as quiet as you can.”

They made their way down to the back of the house, avoiding the front as much as possible. When Chad got within roping range of Sunbeam, he threw his rope quickly.

It settled nicely around the stallion’s neck and went taught. You're not getting away from me this time. I have a new rope.

Sunbeam let out a high pitched whiny that pierced the air. There is no way Andi and Riley will miss that.

Riley came around the corner of the house, offering Chad a greeting smile, then his eyes  landed on Sunbeam and his expression twisted into a confused stare.

“Sh. Andi can’t know about him.” Chad gave Riley a pleading look.

Riley nodded his head and pointed to the other side of the house. “That way.” He said, in a low voice.

Chad nodded, nudged Sky, and got out of there.  I wonder what Riley’s going to tell Andi? I know he won’t tell her about Sunbeam. But how is he going to dodge all her questions?




   “Riley and Andrea are coming over for supper. We’ll have supper ready in good time.” Mother explained. “Chad, is Sunbeam ready?” Mother couldn’t stop  smiling. She was obviously excited to give her daughter this birthday surprise.

“Sunbeam is ready for a new home, and Andi is going to adore him. He is a beauty.” Chad took another bite of his syrupy pancakes.

The afternoon passed quickly with preparations for the evening meal and the surprise. Chad could hardly stand still by the time Riley drove into the yard and up to the house.

He quickly headed for the barn to get Sunbeam. When he approached, the horse welcomed him with a friendly nicker and easily followed him down the aisle of the barn to the door. He learns very quickly. When he got to the door he stopped to look out.

Mother had greeted Andi and Riley, keeping them in front of the house until Chad presented the golden dapple to his sister.

Leaving the barn at a trot, Sunbeam followed him across the yard.

Andi must have heard them coming, for she turned to see. Chad’s delight grew when Andi froze. Her eyes got huge and her mouth fell open as her eyes followed every move of the dapple palomino.

Chad brought him to a stop in front of his sister. Grinning widely he pushed Sunbeam’s lead rope into her hands.

“Happy birthday little sister! Meet Sunbeam.”

“Wha–, but... He is for me?” Andi stuttered.

“Yup. He is gentle as a kitten and learns quickly. I caught him about a week ago. You can change his name if you want.”

Andi didn’t respond. Is something wrong? Chad couldn’t remember the last time Andi had nothing to say.

Finally Andi looked at him. Her eyes were full of tears, “Thank you Chad. He is gorgeous! I think Sunbeam is the perfect name.”

Seeing that Andi couldn’t say any more, Chad wrapped her in his arms. When he stepped back Andi had a glint in her eyes.

“It was him at Memory Creek a few days ago, wasn’t it?” She asked, nodding her head in Sunbeam’s direction. Grinning, Chad shrugged. But he let his eyes twinkle at her.

Before anything else could be said, Mother stepped in. “Let’s go have supper, shall we? Diego? Please return Sunbeam to the barn until he goes to Memory Creek tomorrow.”

“Of course, Senora.”

Chad watched the stallion prance to the barn before following his family into the house.



Chapter four

“Excuse me, M’am. There is a gentleman at the door who is insisting on speaking with Mr, Carter.” Lusia announced part way through the evening meal.

“Yes Lusia, —” Mother looked at her family.

“It’s alright. Show him in Lusia.” Chad answered.

Lusia nodded and disappeared through the door. Moments later she reappeared with a well dressed man. He looked to be in his mid thirties.

Chad rose. Extending his hand he introduced himself. “Chad Carter. What can I do for you? Mr. —?”

“Peterson. Robert Peterson.” He clasped hands with Chad. “Mr. Carter, I am from Texas. I was accompanying a horse to Phoenix. A very valuable stallion.

He is one of two foals out of  Ruffian, the only colt off Ruffian, the other being a filly. Ruffian was a record breaking thoroughbred filly.

“Andres, the colt,  was lost in a crash on the train just east of the station. I have trailed him this far. He was last sighted north of Visalia,  headed this way. I came to inquire if you have seen him. He is a bright palomino dapple, with a flowing white mane. He walks like a champion.”

Chad looked across the table at Andi. Her face had gone pale at the description of the horse. That fits Sunbeam perfectly. Thoroughbred huh? Well, he sure can run! Phoenix is a long way from here. He has really covered some ground, but why did he come here?

 He knew that Sunbeam was the missing horse. Andi knows it too.

He faced the newcomer; “Mr. Peterson, I believe that I have your horse. Did he have any training?”

“Oh no, not yet. He is quiet hearted, and doesn’t fear people though. But he hardly even leads.”

“Then all you have said perfectly describes a stallion I caught just over a week ago. He is quite an animal.” Chad didn’t know what to do. What could he do? Sunbeam belonged to Robert Peterson, and he would have to go back.

Mother stood and saved the day by inviting their guest to dine with them and spend the night.

He graciously accepted, but first asked to see Sunbeam. Chad nodded, and he and the stranger left the house. They walked in silence all the way to the stall where Sunbeam stood eating.

“Ah, Andres, it is good to see you again.” Turning to Chad he said, “Thank you for your trouble and taking such good care of him. What do I owe you?”

“Nothing.” Chad answered quickly. “I have spent some time with him, and he is well mannered and leads. He is a smart horse.”

He paused, then rushed on quickly. “Would you sell him? I just gave him to my youngest sister. We are celebrating her birthday this evening.”

“He is a very valuable horse. Many people, especially those in the racing industry, will pay for him to cover their mares. I have some of my own that I want to cross with him. I’m sorry, but no.”




After breakfast the next morning Chad and Robert brushed Sunbeam. When even the stallion’s tail was perfect, Chad finally bid Robert Peterson farewell.

Soon after, he mounted Sky and  rode toward Memory Creek leading Sunbeam.  He thought about how quiet Andi had been after the arrival of Robert Peterson. It was clear that she was disappointed about Sunbeam, and Chad had felt a need to strike a deal over the horse.

He could hardly wait to give Sunbeam to her for the second time. And this time, for keeps.

Soon he was riding up the lane to Memory Creek ranch. Andi is going to be so surprised.

Pulling Sky to a stop in front of the house he slid from the saddle. Leaving the horses standing, he walked to the door.

Knock knock knock.

Chad was almost jumping on the spot waiting for Andi to open the door.

“Hello Chad. What brings you. . . . .” She trailed off when her eyes landed on Sunbeam. 

“You forgot your birthday present last night.”

“But—. Mr. Peterson came to get him.”

“I made a deal with him. Sunbeam is yours. Mr Peterson will be bringing some mares to visit Sunbeam, but he belongs to you and Riley.”

Andi’s eyes lit up and her face shone with delight. “Thank you, Chad!”

Chad caught her up in a hug. Andi’s whispered, “Best birthday gift ever!” was music to Chad’s ear.  Everything that happened with Sunbeam was worth it!


  1. I'm so sorry! I accidentally deleted the comments on this and about 14 other fan fiction stories. My bad.

  2. Great job! This is a really cool story!


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