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Friday, April 2, 2010

Red Smoke- My Hero!

Our family used to have a camping trip once a year, religiously. The whole family looked forward to it every year. The last one we went on turned out to be pretty eventful. My dad and I went for a ride to the reservoir, and on the way there we got into a little bit of trouble.

We were looking for a place to cross a stream, when my dad let his horse get a drink. Unexpectedly, Black Jack stepped into the water, then a big hop as he realized he was being sucked in. That hop only served to bring him into an even deeper bog! Soon BJ was closer to the other side of the stream and getting in deeper and deeper! He was nearly up to his chest when my dad jumped off and proceeded to try and pull him out. He was stuck, and stuck good!

I felt helpless! I could not find a place to safely cross and was on the opposite side of the creek. I had to get to the other side, and fast! I knew my horse, Red; while he was an excellent trail mount, had a little “buddy sour” issue, and normally would NEVER leave his horse buddy. His normal reaction to going away from his buddies was to rear and baulk until he got his way. It would normally take many attempts and endangering my life to get him to leave his friends. I don’t know if it was my intensity of intention, or if he actually realized his friend was in trouble, but when I asked him to go, he went. We ran as fast as we could up a hill, along a steep shale side hill, we jumped a barbed wire fence that was half way down, went along the dam, back the other way down a narrow dirt road with four wheelers (that he was normally terrified of), Trucks pulling trailers, and speeding cars going the opposite direction, until we finally reached my dad and his horse on the other side of the creek.

After trying several times, unsuccessfully, to help my dad pull him out, I finally pulled the saddle off my horse, and took my brand spanking new saddle blanket and placed it in the muddy creek under Jack’s hooves.. Then we took my dad’s saddle off and added that saddle blanket too. Hoping that when he finally had enough strength to try again he would have just enough stable footing to pull himself out. He was quite tired; we waited nervously while he rested. He almost looked like he wouldn’t have enough strength to try again.

My dad and I were just about ready to give up, and were discussing our options. I was ready to ride to the ranger station to see if they had any equipment to help. Suddenly Jack decided to try one more time! My dad and I pulled and with the saddle blankets under his hooves he barely made it out and on to the bank. WHEW! He made it! He stood there for another half hour recovering.

We ringed out the saddle blankets the best we could, saddled up and went back to camp. Since that day Red has been a hero in my eyes. My saddle blanket cleaned up pretty good, and even if it didn’t, it would have been a small sacrifice. Red made me so proud that day. I still almost come to tears thinking about it.

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