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How a horse saved my family (a true story)

post #1 of 4
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I was eleven years old. We had moved outside the city limits to a house nearly surrounded by a wild orange grove (sweet oranges with skins like leather) plus mango trees, guavas, wild strawberries, all kinds of Florida nature. There were only three houses on this road. Neighbors on one side had dairy cows and a horse named Prince that was raised from a pony by the daughter. She played with him like a dog and he had the run of the entire neighborhood. Needless to say, he loved human females. By the time we arrived, the daughter had married and moved away and Prince was a lonely horse.

One day Prince came running at me in what appeared to be an attack. I nearly wet my pants and jumped behind a tree. As Prince was just a few feet away, he slid to a stop, digging in his feet. He shook his head at me, snorted and gave me a horsy raspberry, then turned around and ran off, flipping his tail and sashaying left and right, real prissy. Then another sudden turn and he was coming back at me. Obviously he was playing but still … ! Do I just stay behind the tree? Harnessing all the trust and naiveté of youth, I jumped out right in front of him and said, “Gotcha!†He turned again and ran and I chased. Great fun and with such a huge animal! I was delighted! That was one of the games played with his beloved human, later verified with the family. When trying to sleep in on weekends, I would be awakened by snorts and blows outside my bedroom window. There he would be, looking in, wanting me to get up and play.

We had a bit of a walk to meet the school bus. My older brother and I would walk together. My seven-year-old brother took a bus at a different time so our mother walked him back and forth with Prince as escort. The horse had a habit of running playfully ahead but always kept them in sight and stayed with them until they were back at the house. One day, Prince dashed ahead in a big hurry and did not come back. As my mother and little brother got within sight of the house, they could see Prince stomping wildly on the ground. He whirled and ran at them, shaking his head, then turned and ran back to the same spot, rearing and stomping furiously. They were frightened, of course, but then my mother was able to see that Prince was keeping an enormous rattlesnake occupied.

The snake was in the front yard, about twenty feet from the porch and right in the center of any approach. By this time, my brother and I had gotten off our bus and caught up with them. A horrible stench filled the air from the snake’s agitation. It was getting to be more than I wanted to know about snakes and what a great big mouth it had! My brother Bob was thirteen, quiet and shy, but he made the decision to get inside and get the rifle. We were afraid for the horse as well as ourselves. As Bob began cautiously moving toward the house, staying as far away as possible, Prince moved also, remaining between Bob and the snake. Well, Bob had never before been the hero type and had no experience with guns, but he put the first bullet through the snake’s head. Then he added two more, just in case.

That’s it! That’s how a horse saved our family from a twelve-foot long angry rattlesnake. And Bob is still to this day quiet and shy.
Do you have a horse story to share?
post #2 of 4
I love stories like these because our family was saved by a cat. Mom was awakened one night by our cat, Tom Tinker, who was pawing frantically at her arm. When Mom opened her eyes, she saw a layer of smoke inches above her face. She got Dad up and they carried us out. Something had blocked our coal furnace chimney and the smoke had entered the house.

As for horse stories, I have only known one horse and that was Bullet - actually my grandfather's horse. His pasture was against our back fence row. Most of the time he was free to roam the pasture and was only harnessed up occassionally to be ridden and to plow the family garden. He had a mischievous streak that often got him in trouble.

Mom has told me stories of her youth on their farm. She was an only child until she was 12 and helped her dad with the plowing. They used horses. One time the plow she was riding tipped and she somehow ended up under one of the horses. The horse stopped - but with one hoof raised. If he had set it down, he would have stepped on her.
post #3 of 4
I don't have any stories like that, but those were nice to read!
post #4 of 4
Great story! I have horses, but so far none of them have saved my life.
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