Searching for more adventure she could share with her horse, Bonnie decided to investigate a new possibility. The vendor had told her that Hogan could swim, so she set out one day to ride to Sasamat Lake to give it a try.
Off she went along slender and winding Ioco Road. The road was two lanes, with pretty views and a sandy shoulder with good footing for the horse.
Bonnie was a bit nervous, but excited at the prospect of enjoying the lake on a summer day with her steed.
She and Hogan were just a short distance into the trip, walking sedately along the side of the road, when suddenly Bonnie heard the roar of an engine and wild laughter. The racket was coming from behind them. Bonnie had barely turned her head when she saw it –
A small car was rocketing toward Hogan just as Bonnie and the horse approached a small wooden bridge, with an arm and hand out the window. Bonnie gasped. She and her horse were between the oncoming car and the small bridge.
Smash ! The outstretched hand slapped Hogan’s rump, hard.
As her horse’s muscles reacted beneath her, Bonnie’s brain flashed to her body hurtling into the creek bed beneath the bridge, to recent headlines about horses and riders killed in traffic, to the ambulance that would hopefully follow and perhaps save her life.
Hogan, though, stood on his hind legs like a dressage stallion. He remained on the spot.
He may have screamed. Bonnie may have screamed. The kids in the car roared away laughing hysterically, the survival prospects of the horse and rider of no interest to them.
Somehow, Bonnie stuck to Hogan’s vertical body like glue, and the horse came back to the earth in precisely the same place he’d risen up.
Stunned, Bonnie leapt off his back and stroked his neck, tears of gratitude stinging her eyes. She led him over the small wooden bridge, softly singing his praises.
He had guts and fortitude along with that spirit. He’d had the brains not to mindlessly panic, as so many horses would when shocked from behind. He’d literally stood his ground. She was witnessing the warrior side of her horse, and almost sobbed with relief.
Earlier that very summer, two girls had been killed at a highway intersection when their horses were somehow panicked and ran into the traffic. At least one horse died too. Bonnie was an avid newspaper reader, and she had that story branded into her brain.
She knew how lucky she was that Hogan had reared but not bolted. They could have been killed.
Shaking, Bonnie led the horse along the road for awhile, then found a quiet place to remount. She walked slowly along the narrow highway, amazed to be alive.
This has been Episode Seven of The Shoeless Horse by Diana Earth.
We hope you’ll join us soon for the next episode, on Air Water Earth Publications on Facebook or www.coastindependent .com