“The Mysterious Pacing White Stallion,” Friend, June 1981, 2
In the days of the Old West, a mystery horse known as the Pacing White Stallion astounded all who were lucky enough to get a glimpse of him. Men marveled at the intelligence of this mystical wild horse and his unbelievable strength and speed.
The Pacing White Stallion was pure white with a perfect Arabian head, enormous dark eyes, and ears black as ebony. Large in stature, over seventeen hands high, he carried himself with nobility and pride. His flashing white mane cascaded to his knees, and his luxuriant tail swept the top of the Texas mesquite grass he loved.
Men called this giant of a horse the Pacing White Stallion because whenever he broke from a walk, he paced. And he paced faster than other horses could gallop.
Writers recorded dramatic stories about the mystery horse, and travelers related fabulous tales that fired men to try to possess him. However, the stallion could outrun and wear down any pursuers. Within a mile, he would gain at least one hundred fifty yards on his would-be captors. As to what eventually happened to the stallion, stories vary.
Buffalo-Child-Long-Lance, a Blackfoot Indian Chief, told of his tribe trailing a band of five hundred horses led by the great stallion for ten days. At dawn on the eleventh day, on a plateau between the Rockies and Cascades, the Indian braves finally drove the herd into a log corral they had built between two sides of a rocky gulch.
After a day of futile attempts to rope the imprisoned stallion and near-fatal injuries to four braves, Indians carrying firebrands forced the horse into a corner against the rocks and partitioned off that part of the corral with a seven-foot fence. When they returned the next morning, they were amazed to find he had cleared the high fence, rammed through the heavy log corral, and vanished.
The Indians believed the wild stallion was supernatural, and after his escape, they called him the Ghost Horse of the Prairies. They claimed they often saw him standing on a butte, his majestic body silhouetted against the moon, his silvery mane and tail shining in the moonlight with a phosphorescent glow—a truly ghostly effect.
Another attempt to capture the stallion began at the horse’s favorite watering hole, Onion Creek, ten miles southeast of Austin, Texas. One day, while the stallion and his band of fifty to sixty drank at Onion Creek, twelve determined men assembled on Pilot Knob, a bluff overlooking the creek. Each man had two horses that were handpicked for speed and endurance.
To set the trap, ten of the men rode down the blind side of the knob and concealed themselves and their horses in positions south of the creek along the trail the white stallion usually took. The other two conspirators waited on Pilot Knob until they heard birdcall signals from the ten men to indicate they had reached their designated stations.
The zero hour had come. The two men on Pilot Knob eased down the back of the hill and rode in a wide arc north of the wild horses. Then, shouting and waving their hats, they charged full speed from the north at the mustang band. The startled horses, logy with water, fled straight south toward the ambush.
The stallion, accustomed to being the target of hunters, pulled ahead of his band. As he thundered along the trail, the concealed men, one after another, snaked out their lariats, missed, and cursed. Several drew pistols and fired. They aimed to stun the great horse by creasing the back of his neck. But they couldn’t touch him as he raced with the wind, his mane and tail streaming behind.
More wary than ever now, the stallion paced in huge circles, working gradually south. His loyal family followed him until his mares and colts, a few at a time, dropped away, exhausted.
At the end of three days and nights without rest, the stallion still paced on. He was now two hundred miles south of Onion Creek and had worn out all but two of the horsemen stalking him.
After another day, the two men finally gave up the chase. The white stallion was still headed south.
Where he went, no one ever knew—but he was free. This famous mystery horse, the Pacing White Stallion, lives on today in legend as a symbol of the love of freedom.