A Horse Of Great Courage and Strength
Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper?
The glory of his nostrils is terrible.. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword...
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage. Job 39:19
Other Related Animal Stories
- The Palm Beach Zoo: A Tropical Experience
The Palm Beach Zoo is a tropical experience. It simulates a walk through an amazon jungle and is a South Florida attraction well worth visiting.
- Jett: A Dolphin Artist
Jett is a twelve year old dolphin who paints using a special apparatus. He has a unique ability to express himself through paintings.
Each morning Sarita, along with her older sister Angela, made the long hike to school through dense sub alpine trees and over a deep creek bed. Usually their neighbors, Tomas and Dorinda, traveled with them. Dorinda was in Angela's fourth grade class. Tomas was fairly new to ninth grade, making him the oldest of the group.
Tomas always rode his horse, Trueno, to school. Trueno, whose name means thunder in Spanish, was a handsome creature standing sixteen hands high with a beautiful black mane that flowed back over his ears and neck. Sara loved him and always treated Trueno to a piece of apple each morning.
Tomas would let the girls take turns riding with the magnificent steed to and from school. Some days, he would let Trueno have rein to gallop once they reached the flat plane. Sarita always loved the feeling of power Trueno exhibited as he galloped over the field. He could run! It seemed as if he had wings to fly.
They carried their lunch boxes with them containing the usual burrito de huevos (egg burrito), fruit, and a thermos of water. Dorinda's mother loved to bake so she usually packed a sweet treat and tucked it beneath the fruit. Today, she offered Sarita and Angela each a cinnamon and sugar buñuelo from her box. They all decided to save theirs for the walk home which would make the trip a little more tolerable.
The children entered the edge of the woods from the grassy field with a little apprehension. Last night Sarita and Angela had overheard the hired ranch hands talking about a grizzly bear spotted near the upper north end of the creek bed. The land was dry due to the lack of rain this year resulting in poor crops and the intense heat had killed the fish usually found in abundance in the streams. This, along with the scarcity of white-pine seeds, was cause for concern when it came to bears foraging for food. They talked about how bears would seek out other sources of food when desperate and sometimes that meant small animals or children.
As they started up the path, the girls mentioned this to Tomas and Dorinda. Dorinda gave out a cry of alarm. Tomas, not wanting to frighten the girls, gave a scoff and said, "¡Es un ozo viejo! It's only an old bear." He then turned Trueno into the woods giving him a gentle kick with his heels.
The Grizzly Facts
Did you know?
- The grizzly is of the same species as the brown bear.
- They are solitary animals, except for females with cubs.
- They dig dens for winter.
- Females give birth during winter rest, often to twins.
- They are large, but have been clocked at 30 miles per hour.
- They can be dangerous to humans, especially if surprised.
- There are only 1000 grizzlies left in the United States, and they are protected by law
Half way up the mountain trail Trueno refused to go any further. He snorted and side-stepped backwards towards the girls who were on foot. It was as if he were trying to shield them from something. Suddenly the children heard the rustling of dry leaves and grunting in the distance. Tomas had a better view from atop Trueno and saw a bear weighing about seven hundred pounds, with white-tipped hair and a defined hump between its shoulders. He knew in an instant it was a grizzly. It was trying to turn over a log about a hundred yards to the right of the path.
Tomas knew that they could not all outrun a bear. He had to find a place to hide the older girls while he rode for help with Sarita. A short distance from the path was an old hollowed out tree. Quietly and unnoticed by the bear, he dismounted and instructed Dorinda and Angela to hide inside and to keep quiet. He handed them his hunting knife and said, "Use it only if the bear comes after you." He crouched down, took all the lunch boxes and scattered the food a good ways up the trail to distract the bear from the hiding place. He whistled for Trueno, mounted him and then reached down for Sarita. Placing her in back of him, He told her to hang onto him with all her might.
Trueno needed no urging from Tomas. He turned and flew off in the direction of home. Sarita held on with all her strength to Tomas. She could feel the strength of Trueno as he leapt over small boulders and pounded the clay path with his powerful hooves. Sarita heard Tomas clicking his tongue and talking into Trueno's ear encouraging his flight homeward. Trueno seemed to understand the brevity of the situation and with ears laid back and mane flying, he burst into full speed.
They galloped onto the stable yard and yelled to the men who were attending the horses, "Help! There's a bear up the path!" The men quickly grabbed their guns, mounted the horses and headed for the mountain path. As they came upon the bear, he was pulling at the wrappers on the tossed sandwiches. The grizzly turned to face the men, sensing danger, it stood up to its full eight feet and gave out a low groaning sound. With a few quick shots the bear was put down. Angela and Dorinda came running from the tree, happy to be rescued from danger.
As for Trueno, Sarita gave him an extra piece of apple that evening. She patted his huge, muscled neck and whispered a word of thanks for saving them from possible death.
Tell Us What You Think
Did you enjoy reading horse stories when you were young?
This tale was based upon a true story told to me by my mother. Her family lived on a Montana ranch at the time located at the foot of a mountain. In those days, they had no bus transportation and so they had to walk to school, often through perilous situations. My mother, who owned many horses throughout her life, said the horse was a creature of strength that seemed to have a special connection with his master. The bear in the story had been stalking them a couple of days before this encounter and for the children's safety, had to be destroyed. _______________________________________________