Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rachel time

Rachel was about 12 and had gotten off the school bus and started the trek toward home. As she approached, she first noted that our horses were screaming and neighing outside in the paddock, and that the cause of all the commotion was standing in our front yard--three strange horses. So thinking quickly, she opened the gate into our back yard and put a handful of grain in a bucket to rattle. They obligingly entered, and she shut the gate. Then she called me at work. I didn't recognize the horses she described, but I told her to keep an eye on them (and protect the blueberry bushes), that someone would probably be along soon, and I was on my way.

When the elderly man came walking up 20+ minutes later and saw his horses inside a fence, Rachel said he nearly dropped to his knees in thanks. He had been following them for FOUR hours. Each time as he would get close to them, they would casually meander a bit further along the dirt road. No one offered to help him or would approach the beasts, and they wandered nearly 5 miles and across a busy highway too. After he got his breath back, he called a neighbor to bring his horse trailer and they loaded and hauled them home. The horses didn't look the least guilty as they were loaded, very calm, like this was a regular excursion for them. He told the kids that they could come and ride anytime, but liability being what it is these days we passed.

I only needed rescue once, it was while I was riding Willie. We approached a flat bed truck parked at the edge of the dirt road, no problem. BUT THEN!! There was this horrible pile of PLASTIC just past the bumper of the truck on the ground, and he just knew it would chase him down and eat him. So in a remarkably athletic move, he LEAPED upward and spun to the left, (Surely the equal of a Lipizzaner "airs above the ground") leaving me (not a trick rider, alas), in a Wiley Coyote moment, astride...Thin air? As I hit the ground, I thought, I'm getting too old for this. My hitting the ground was Willie's cue to gallop hell-bent for leather back home. Fortunately, he got distracted by some lush green grass in a neighbor's yard, and paused to sample. Even more fortunately, a neighbor had seen us ride past thataway, and shortly after, saw Willie fly past sans rider, thisaway. He got in his car and followed the dust trail and found me assessing damages. He chauffeured me back to my faithful steed, and I limbered up walking him back to that treacherous pile of plastic, at which he had the grace to look a bit embarrassed. I then dragged my aching butt back into the saddle and completed an abbreviated ride. The next day I couldn't lift my right arm any higher than my shoulder, and I had some interesting bruises too.

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