Monday, September 29, 2008
Bow Hunters on the Trail Gaaaaahhhh!
Well I did not get a picture because I was otherwise occupied, but they did look just like this camouflaged dude.
Yesterday I did my obligatory dressage ride on Montana, and that is the way I think of it. I'm tuned out of dressage at the moment. Dressage and I are like two relatives who are sitting across the room not speaking to each other. Maybe we will become reconciled. Maybe not.
But after that I tacked up Johnnie and took off. I am leaving out his rude behavior at the gate for another day. Let's pretend it all went swimmingly. So we are past the human zoo part of our ride, the heavily used creek trail where we see bikes, strollers, dogs of all religions, and even co-workers for heaven's sake. And we are past the rather muddy woods part of our trail, just about to pop out into the beautiful golden galloping field.
When what to John's wondering eyes did appear, but two camo guys with giant packsacks and bows and arrows! They were rustling in the shrubbery and my first thought was "Army guys out on some maneuver?" and John's first thought was "Weirdo predators who eat palominos?" He believed strongly that we should turn around and run away. I called out to the guys that they were scaring the horse and maybe if they would just come stand in the clear, he could see that they are human.
Out they came. My first sight of true bow hunters. We have an in-town bow-hunting season to control the white-tail deer population. Their bows were not what I was expecting (think of Robin Hood), but small technical looking evil machines. Their arrows were metal (steel?) and it was their huge bags that really made them odd shaped.
I have never heard John snort like that, and would not have believed such sounds could come out of an anatomically normal horse nose. We got past them at a speed which increased exponentially and I decided no galloping for us today as it might come to an ugly conclusion. So we gaited across the big field, but then had to return the same way or else trespass.
Return trip: I was nervous, John was walking on eggshells past where the predators had been hiding. I decided to sing, and the only song that came to mind was one my mother used to sing in the kitchen: "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls".
So picture me jigging along, making up words to this 19th century favorite ('I Dre-eamt that We-e did no-ot get shot"), shaking John's bear bells with my hand for maximum racket, and poor John's ears swiveling like crazed radar screens at all this unaccustomed noise.
We saw no trace of the camo guys, but we booked so fast through the woodsy part of the ride that I thought I was going to get seasick. It was not the relaxing Sunday afternoon ride I had pictured.
Maybe dressage isn't so bad after all.
Bear in mind that I have enough blaze orange to cover both John and myself: he has a quarter sheets and leg wraps, I have a helmet cover and jacket - we could look like a big orange Hindenburg floating out in the field - but I had none of it on us yesterday. Sigh.