Monday, June 14, 2010

Aidol's Story.........The Elbe Hills Wreck

Part 1

By this time Aidol was an experienced trail horse. Just getting the horse out of the trailer you knew he was ready to go exploring. His ears would be up and his face bright and expressive as he looked around at the landscape.

Aidol had never been to the Elbe Hills before but the horse had been on enough rides of similar terrain for me to know that he was up to this days' ride. He was familiar with switchbacks and steep grades and Aidol knew how to hug tightly up against the side of a hill. He was always surefooted and confident no matter what type of ride we chose.

Nope, the problem on this trip wasn't the horse, that was for sure. If anyone else is thinking like Terri from Mystic Equus that maybe Dave fell off the side of the mountain, they would be right. Unfortunately it wasn't just Dave that took that fall, Aidol went with him.

I'd spent a lot of time reminding Dave to keep his horse pushed up tight against the face of the hill. It wasn't that the horse was ignoring Dave's request. It was Dave wasn't asking at all. He just kept laughing at me, shrugging off my advice with that same old statement, "Aidol's gonna take good care of me." Believe me, Aidol did.

We must have been half way up the steep grade when it happened. One minute Dave and Aidol were right in front and me and the next the path beneath the horse's feet collapsed. Both horse and rider were being carried down the hill caught up in the slide.

The minute the ground gave way the horse threw his head up into the air and I could see the panic on his face. Despite the very steep, treed hill, Aidol managed to fight the slide and get himself turned around facing uphill. The loose falling dirt was up to the horse's hocks as he struggled to find solid ground. He appeared to be swimming in the dirt but somehow he managed to get himself out of the soft stuff, over still enlarging hole in the trail and up onto the high side of the bank.

On his way across the trail, the mare that was being ponied by my friend let fly with both hinds feeling the need to protect herself from what can only be described as a launch from Aidlol . The horse swerved my direction to avoid getting kicked but never stopped his forward motion. In the blink of an eye the horse was up high on the bank, flipped around, looking down and snorting at the dirt slide still taking away the bank.

Dave's eyes were wide but only for a moment. As soon as the horse settled the man was back to joking around like nothing at all had happened. If I could have gotten my hands on him I'd have strangled him right then and there. This was no laughing matter.

Either or both of them could have been killed..........or worse, maimed for life. Dave may have been laughing but I wasn't. I was as mad as it gets. We got through the rest of the ride without me killing Dave but I vowed I'd never take him trail riding again. As long as he wasn't willing to take responsibility for this wreck, I wasn't going to put the horse's life at risk for the man's stupidity.

Unfortunately, it took many tellings of this story to other horse people before Dave finally realized the seriousness of his antics that day. For some reason me telling him what could have happened just didn't seem to matter. Even me telling him I could leave him at the bottom of that ravine but I wasn't going to leave any horse of mine, didn't seem to impress the man. Dave just didn't seem to want to get the seriousness of what happened that day.

Somehow over the years, and some not kind looks from other horse people about his lack of concern, it finally sunk in that this had not been just another fun adventure. By then we no longer had Aidol and I never did take Dave on another trail ride.

When I think about what could have happened, it still makes me shudder. They could have rolled *ss over tea skettle all the way down the side of the mountain. The horse could have broken a leg. He could have been impaled on a tree stump. Worse, things could have happeded to Dave.

To this day, I have no doubt that Aidol saved Dave's life that day. If the horse hadn't been so talented and so driven he never would have made his way up out of that slide. Aidol definitely took good care of Dave. Too bad Dave didn't take better care of Aidol.

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

A Lease

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  1. I bet you were mad! and scared ! What a great horse Aidol was!

  2. Wow, what a special horse Aidol was, it must have been heart breaking for both you and Dave when he went to another home.

  3. How incredibly scary! I am so happy to read that it was okay in the end. I would have been angry at my husband's lack of concern had he done that too. It's a good thing Aidol was/is so sure footed - Whew!!!

  4. Wow, that's pretty scary. That story is a testament to to what a great horse Aidol was.