Crisscrossed

by kfrego

Keville and Gladys had a horse on their farm in Elk, Wa. He was a perfect family horse and very contented with children. There were no saddles or bits, just an old bridle. During the summer my day trips with the horse would include one or two of  Keville and Gladys’ kids. One of these trips turned into an adventure which few people would ever experience.

It was a perfect summer morning for a day trip in the mountains. My companions were Keville and Gladys’ three year old and six year old sons. We never had any specific destination on these trips. We would catch an old road near the farm and follow them into the mountains. With the exception of hunting season or active logging these roads were seldom used by anyone. About mid day we located an old abandoned ranch site. The old fields were grown in with heavy vegetation and small brush. There were remnants of the old house and buildings. Myself and the six year old were slowly walking through the area on foot and leading the horse with the  three year old riding. The ground was so overgrown it felt like walking on a big pillow. The winter snow had packed everything to the ground and it was dried by the summer sun. There was a noise from behind me. The noise was a combination of swishing grass and creaking metal. When I turned around it appeared the ground was moving all around us. The horse exploded into violent bucking, the reins got yanked out of my hands, the three year old went several feet in the air before landing  ten feet from the horse, and the six year old was screaming frantically.

The horse’s feet had picked up strands from an old barbed wire fence laying on the ground. As the horse stepped forward the stands got crisscrossed around the other feet. It was all over in less than a minute. The horse bucked loose of the old fence and headed for parts unknown. The three year old was lucky to have landed out of harms way. The six year old stopped screaming and stared at me with a bewildered look. It took about thirty minutes to locate the horse while carrying the three year old. The horse had a cut just above one foot and a slight limp. We walked him home with the three year old riding.

The horse never knew what grabbed his feet……….and the sound of that rusty barbed wire pulling through the fence post staples is still fresh in my memory.

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