Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adventures for Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the St Jude's Children's Hospital Ride Part 4

Part 1

"There he goes!" were the words of the eleven year old as the big gelding made his escape. I wasn't five steps away from the Arabian horse when he fled the scene. Shannon raced along behind him telling him if she ever caught him she was going to beat him like he was her own. (Something she learned from the trainer at her barn.)Dandy was undaunted by her attempts to stop him. He just kept heading deeper into the woods.

In the meantime I hollered at the others that we had a loose horse and instructed them to head towards the other end of the pathway to see if they could cut him off. I, too headed around in that direction. I knew there was no way we were going to catch him coming at him from behind. The pathway was too narrow and all movement would be interpreted by the horse as pressure driving him farther away.

The girls reached the horse long before we adults. Rachel almost got a hold of his halter but he pushed into her nearly knocking her down and galloped off. The three girls followed until they lost him in the dark. By that time Lilli and I had gotten to where we thought the pathway the horse had been on intersected with the one we were travelling. We couldn't see a thing. We couldn't hear the girls or the horse. It was definitely too dark to be in the woods searching for a horse.

Thank God for cell phones. I called Rachel and told her she and the girls needed to come back to camp. We could not risk a person getting lost searching for this horse even if he was a very special horse. It just wasn't smart to be searching in the woods after dark. We would have to wait until morning light before we could begin searching again. In the meantime, I would make some phone calls to see if I could get some help on horseback.

The first thing I did was call 911. I knew they probably wouldn't help us find the horse. But if he did manage to find his way out of the woods onto the roads, if anyone found him and reported it, they would know how to contact us.

I was correct they would not come out and look for him. They did, however, take down an exact description of the horse, his last seen location and what he was wearing at the time. Yes, he was dressed!

The horse was wearing a Big D navy plaid blanket and a burgundy halter. Depending on how you look at it, the clothing could be good news or bad news. It would protect him from getting scratched up. BUT it would also be a means to trap the horse if branches or vines from this dense underbrush grabbed onto the fabric or got stuck up underneath or through it.

Then I had Rachel call Colleen. I knew that Colleen would be able to make calls for me and I could conserve the battery on my cell phone. Colleen managed to get a hold of Crystal. Crystal in turn called the people from her barn and her ex-cop husband had some contacts of his own. From there I was able to build a list of contacts for the Backcountry Horsemen. If anyone could help us find a horse on these trails, these were the people for the job.

Unfortunately, the Backcountry Horsemen had two big events that weekend. Most of them were gone to Packwood or to Buck Creek. Both locations were more remote than ours, these riders would probably not be accessible to us.

By the time I quit calling at 10:30 pm I still had only phone numbers on other Backcountry Horseman who might be able to help. Crystal would be coming in the morning for sure, as would Colleen, Crystal was still working on rounding up others from her barn. I knew I would have at least a couple of riders but no one that knew the area was available to help locate my missing horse.

The camper that had been left for Lilli to use had it's own generator so I was able to recharge my cell phone. Even with all the calls Colleen had made for me, my phone was near dead. The calls for the morning needed to be made by me, I was the only one with the information that was needed to get help. While the generator was noisy and kept everyone from sleeping, I had to have my phone recharged if I was to get any help at all that knew these woods.

I can't even tell you what it was like to try to go to sleep knowing that my first born Arabian foal was lost in the woods. While we hadn't told the girls both Lilli and I had seen evidence of bears, coyotes and cougars on our trail marking trip. These woods were teeming with wildlife and some of it was carnivorous. I felt guilty trying to sleep at all.

Racing through my mind were thoughts of my horse out there and what I would do if we didn't find him. The fact that I had just been posting here about the loss of his mother, Scandalous, had my emotions already raw. Now faced with the fear of losing Dandy, my heart seemed to be tied in knots. It was going to be a long night.

To be continued....................

Part 5

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  1. Awwww....((HUGS!!)) I hope you found him safe and sound.

  2. Oh god, it's every trail rider's worst nightmare.

    I'm hoping he came back, or you found him.

  3. OMG!!!

    I have never had a horse run off like that! Then again I have a ton less experience with horses than you do, so it will probably happen to me someday. But with one exception (and he just ran around the farm for awhile), every time a horse gets loose when I am around, they seem almost relieved to be caught and put back in their "safe" area (stall, field, etc.). He must be a pretty brave horse to run into the woods!

    Now I am convinced you write just to torture us. I am supposed to study all day, but I'm just going to worry about your poor horse lost in the woods ;)

    Can't wait until tomorrow! I hope everything turned out okay!

  4. Okay you just couldnt resist could you LOL. I will check in tomorrow morning early, up at 5am to start packing the computers so I will be able to check e-mail etc. before I leave. I meant to see if you posted this today 14th or late last night.

    Have a great weekend. Bad Dandy!!


  5. First, that is scary!

    Second, you need a car charger, the kind you plug into a lighter. Someones had to work.

  6. anon, there were only two of us and her's didn't fit my phone. I thought I had one but it was for my last phone! not too smart!!!