This photo popped up on my Facebook "Timehop" yesterday.
|Sherry and Madeline, Hana and Jim. Hana's first LD ride!|
It came from a photo album of printed pictures that I scanned and posted on FB about 5 years ago. The photos themselves were taken in 2004, at the Northwest Labor Day Ride.
The NWLD ride was never a good one for me. According to AERC stats, I've ridden 96 competitions in my lifetime (Limited Distance + Endurance distance), and I have 8 pulls. Two of my eight pulls were at the NWLD ride, which takes place about 30 miles from my house. Sigh.
But the story about the 2004 ride isn't about getting pulled. It's about the night after most of the riders had gone home. Jim and I stayed an extra day to help ride management pull ribbons. Most of the horses in our camp were gone, but we kept Story with us to help with the trail work.
|You can tell this is Story and not Fiddle because Story wasn't GINORMOUS.|
She was about 6 inches shorter (but her head was almost exactly the same size)
We were camped in a big open hay field, with just a few other rigs. lytha was there, with Mack (and possibly also Princess?) tied to her trailer. Our Canadian friend Terre was there, and one of the local vets had stayed also.
In the middle of the night, Story started up an enormous racket, spinning in her paddock and blowing that freight train snort that means "EMERGENCY! BATTLE STATIONS! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!"
Story was not a panicksome horse. If she pulled the emergency cord, there was probably something out there.
So I took a look.
With me there to back her up, she stopped spinning, and stared at the target of her wrath.
"WOLVES!" she snorted. "WOLVES!"
For years I have taunted unruly ponies with threats of leaving them alone for the wolves to eat.
It's an empty threat. We don't have wolves in the Swamp.
Except, that night, there were wolves.
Really. Wolves. Several of them.
Ahhhhh. Right. Because there was a woman up the road from the camp who raised wolves and wolf hybrids. She had ridden through our camp, bareback, on her stunning white Arabian stallion, with her long hair flowing out behind her, and several of her wolves at heel beside.
(I'm not making that up. Also, did you know that if you google "unicorn wolf" you can find thousands of images, almost all of them ridiculous? It's true!)
Apparently, the Wolf Lady liked to let her children roam free on the mountain at night, the neighbor's chickens (and children) bedamned.
lytha's horse was raised in the civilized world. "Doggies!" he said, and went back to eating.
But Story and the Canadian lady's horse were from the Great White North, and they knew what they were seeing.
Koszaar was on a High-Tie, and Terre said that he nearly pulled the trailer over on top of himself.
Story was counting on me.
"Go on, wolves!" I told them. "Move out! Go home!" Or something equally inane.
They believed me. They left.
Ever since, I have threatened unruly ponies that I will leave them alone for the giraffes to eat.
It's an empty threat.