Escape - Attacked While Riding Alone
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   12th Aug 2010   •   11,710 views   •   29 comments
We all know by now about the dangers of riding on your own: How the horse could spook, and you could fall off and get injured. How, if you lose consciousness, there is nobody around to call for help. I’m sure we’ve all considered these things, but if you are like me you’ll most likely decide to take it pretty lightly, thinking ‘It’ll never happen to me.’

Well, today I am not here to tell you about an accident or a spill, but about something else, something that opened my eyes to the dangers of riding alone more than any warning ever could. After 6 years of going along the same outride trails alone almost every day, the thing that I kept telling myself ‘would never happen to me’ finally happened.

Riding out alone Is it worth the risk

It was 5 July 2010, perhaps around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I had just returned from taking my young racer, Moonfire, on his first outride and had proceeded to catch and tack up my next mount, Choc. Once tacked up, I left the property and rode up the road, following the exact same track I had taken with Moony mere minutes before, and the exact same track that I had been using every day for fitness training for Choc and Bronze during the past 3 months. As we reached our shortcut, I turned Choc off the road and cut through a field to reach the gallop track on the opposite side. On one side, the track is bordered by houses. On the other side, there’s nothing but bush, with a few tiny cross country trails here and there leading into the bush. It was one of these that I chose to take, as I planned to hop Choc over the tiny jumps along it. I was walking her at first, and I skipped the first jump because it was too small, and the sticks were scattered in a way I thought could injure Choc if she tried to trot over instead of jumping it. I nudged her into a trot then, preparing to canter her over the next jump, but as I did so I noticed a man standing in the bush beside the jump.

Worried that a canter might alarm or harm the poor man in some way, since the path was quite narrow, I decided to slow down to a walk and skip that jump as well, since he was in the way of jumping it. He began walking toward Choc and I, while we continued walking forward on the track. Of all the thoughts going through my mind at that moment, the prospect of what happened next was not one of them. As I thought he was about to walk past me, the man seized Choc’s reins under the bit in one hand and grabbed my arm in the other.

I had never been more terrified in my life before. I yelled at Choc and kicked her on, trying to get her to pull away from him, but his grip was too strong, and all she succeeded in doing was dancing in circles away from him. He let go of his grip under her chin then, holding my arm and the rein in one hand. I tried to pull away, I tried to kick Choc away, but he was still too strong for both of us, even our combined forces. That was when I realized it: I was helpless. I was useless. I was powerless.

When you hear the stories about these sorts of things, don’t you always think ‘Oh, but I’d just kick the guy’ or ‘I’ll just kick my horse and it’ll run away.’? Well, I thought that, too. Until it actually happened to me, that is. I had absolutely no means of defending myself. I couldn’t hit him or poke his eyes, since he had my one arm in a vice-grip and my other hand was holding my reins, which I didn’t dare let go. If I took my foot out of the stirrup to kick, I knew he was strong enough to pull me off. Helplessness. There’s nothing quite as terrifying as that feeling. Knowing that the only thing you can rely on to get you out of the situation is luck, faith, karma, whatever you want to call it, the point is that you have no control over it. None at all.

Riding out alone Is it worth the risk

The man started groping in my pocket than, and I soon found myself screaming hysterically at him that I didn’t have anything for him. He motioned for me to be quiet, and though I knew it was useless, I yelled at him to let go of my horse, to release us. Needless to say, he did not. Instead, he tapped a finger to his lips before reaching into his pocket, bringing out a small object clutched in his hand. The sight of the knife must have cut some sense into me, for suddenly my panic subsided and I was able to think clearly. He held up the knife and gestured for me to dismount. Incredulity struck then, and it was only with an effort that I could keep myself from scoffing. His weapon looked more worthy of cutting cheese than anything else, and I for one was not keen to be treated like cheese, nor was I keen to leave my horse and do as he asked. The next thought to run through my head was that my attacker was a complete and utter idiot, but I did not bother voicing it, as by now I had established that he probably did not speak or understand English. Finally, the most important fact of the situation hit home: He was holding a knife near my horse. That awakened my logic, and what happened next all went by so quickly that I still don’t completely understand what happened.

As though in slow motion, I screamed at the top of my lungs, finally able to release the sound now that it was powered by anger rather than fear. The next thing I was aware of was Choc answering my please and spinning around beneath me. A moment later we were heading back the way we had come at a full gallop. I glanced back over my shoulder to see the man scrambling into the bush, then turned my head forward again and went with my horse, fully aware of the way her rapid hoofbeats were out of synch with my racing heart as I listened to the pounding sound of both. I slowed her to a canter back through the field, then a trot as we reached the road. I felt sick from shock, but the only reaction I could muster was to curse continuously under my breath. In fact, more vulgar words left my mouth on that short trip down the road than in the rest of my life put together. Somehow, my usual civil wording just did not seem appropriate for the situation.

When I reached the plot, Choc stood like a statue while I opened the gate from her back, closed it again, and then rode back onto the property. I cantered over to my mother, screeching at the top of my lungs and with some very creative language thrown in that somebody had tried to drag me off my horse. That was when the tears, whose absence I had been shocked to notice until then, finally began to fall.

Riding out alone Is it worth the risk

The rest of the day passed in a haze. I was barely able to think, barely able to feel… We phoned the police, and I rode Bronze while I waited for them, but my distraction was too much, and he sensed it. Eventually I ended up just walking him. Walking around and around and around, yet having no intention of doing anything else, where usually I’d have died of boredom from walking for so long. When the policeman finally arrived, he told me to get off so I could talk to him, but I didn’t want to. I wouldn’t leave the saddle, as I felt safe there. Finally they convinced me, and I resigned myself to relive my ordeal. As I described it, I found that my voice was close to tears again, but I described it as best I could. Eventually it was decided that the policeman, along with the local self-decided ‘sheriff’ character would drive out to the track to search for prints. We did this, and with the help of a few people who had noticed a suspicious character, we managed to track the man over kilometers upon kilometers. We did not follow the tracks, of course, but the ‘sheriff’ man had an extreme knack for accurate guesswork, and kept picking up the trails where they came out of the bushes exactly as he had predicted. We finally tracked him back to the squatter camp where he presumably lives, but by that time it was too late. Such places are far too dangerous for a single police officer and a temporary self-employed investigator (It seemed he dropped the sheriff card after a while).

So the man got away free, though the policeman informed me that, if they thought they’d caught him, they’d have me come in to identify him. I’m not sure if I could now, as his face is fading fast from my memory, but in some small way I’m glad he got away. It is hard to get by in this life, especially for the poor. Sometimes they can’t help but resort to crime to make ends meet, and is that really their fault? Of course, I never consider it excusable to hurt another person, but if you spend every day of your life in near starvation, does it not make sense that you might try your luck at crime just to get some bread in your belly?

I was free to go home then, and I found that I was finally calm enough to go back and think it over. When I did, I came to one solitary conclusion: My horse is a heroine. Though I did not realize it at the time, when I looked back it was clear as day: Choc had saved my life. When she refused to answer my please to bolt, it was not that she being disobedient, but that she was being sensible. Had she bolted, the man’s grip would have been strong enough to drag me off her back, and who knows what might have happened then? The way she stayed so perfectly calm the whole time, nor rearing or freaking out or anything, but just standing or dancing tentatively to the side. It was because of that that I was able to keep my balance so well, and avoid being dragged off my horse. Finally, when I screamed, she must have sensed some slack in the man’s grip and used it to her advantage, judging that it was safe to get away. And then she was gone like a bullet, leaping over the ground and carrying me to safety as surely as any trained police horse. In that moment of flight, our minds had become one. We were one entity, each completely aware of the thoughts and intentions of the other, albeit that all of them composed of just one single word: Escape.

Riding out alone Is it worth the risk

Now my tale draws to a close, but before I depart I feel I must ask you this: Do you think this could happen to you? I didn’t. Do you think you’d be able to defend yourself if this happened to you? I did. Riding alone. The lure of it is so great. The feeling of unity with your horse, of being the only creatures in the whole world… Not to mention the convenience. But is it worth it, if it could all be over just like that?
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Stories      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
Oh my gosh that is so scary! Do you still ever ride that track now?
  Aug 12, 2010  •  8,126 views
That is very true. A coyote and a couger have almost killed me and I have seen a man wanderin around my pastures. I have stopped ridding alone and have never been bothered. Choc is a true hero, you have a very good horse!
  Aug 12, 2010  •  8,110 views
I had the same thing happen to me years ago, I had just graduated from high school and was able to ride more and I went for a ride. We have to go under a bridge to get to our trails and my mount was acting up a bit, I figured he was just being silly as we crossed under the bridge a man came out of nowhere. He lunged at my horse and grabbed a rein. Big mistake my horse did not like anyone to touch him while I was in the saddle (do not know why just him I guess) well when this idiot grabbed the rein Sam brought up his left front and leaned forward then his head came around as he went into a spin stepped up with the right slamming into the guy and over his crumpling body. Then he trotted out from under the bridge turned around and acted like he wanted to go after the guy again. I took over and turned him back coming face to face with another mounted freind who had seen the whole thing and we took off back towards the houses and called the cops. She knew the guy and the cops took him in al
  Aug 12, 2010  •  8,222 views
Valkyrie   MOD 
May I ask why the rules have been thrown away in order for this story to be published? Mention of weapons is NOT allowed on Ponybox.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,466 views
Actually BHL, weapons are allowed to be mentioned on Ponybox. It is not a jail cell.
They can not be threatening or violent, butt hey can be mentioned.
Every story goes through Admin, if it was against the rules, it would have been rejected(:

-Lovely post Polo. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you D:
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,528 views
lifes a risk  
omg u were brave and i think ur right chocs a herod
glad ur ok
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,468 views
Mystic Magic  
Oh so scary, its never happened to me before but there have been a few times where I thought it may happen. I have been riding out alone for the last 2 years seeing as I no longer have anyone to ride with and I have herd to many stories and think about it every time I ride. I wont be riding out alone for a few years now as I sold my horse and will just be taking lessons and riding friends horses until I finish school. Choc sounds like a great horse. My horse Mate has saved my nana from a kangaroo which tried to attack her and he also chased off a horse that was charging at me because I was near his food and Mate was scared of this horse but he chased him away because he gets really attached to his carers, my nana was looking after him for me at the time the kangaroo tried to get her, he is at my aunties for trail riding now, I guess he will save her form something one day, he is the greatest horse ever.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,634 views
OMG!!!! I wish I was there so I could punch that idiots face in!!!!!! well it sounds like both you and your horse are safe. (thank goodness)
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,990 views
Beeswax Crusade  
Wow, what an incredible story. Sometimes it's hard to imagine there are people like that in the world...It's great that you're alright, Polo. I'm sure this article will help many people in the future. :)

BlackHauraki- Well, mods do have to approve obviously it was appropriate enough...0.0
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,015 views
Painted Destiny  
Wow. Your horse is a wonderful hero and this is an incredible story.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,981 views
Wow. What an incredible story. Im sorry that you had to go through that.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,119 views
o my godness i am 1000000000000% glad you got away. and it makes me wonder what i would do if somthing like that happend to me.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,192 views
Star Princess  
I ride at my uncle's and it is really not safe in hios neighborhood that's why we have like major big time rules about riding alone
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,068 views
Run Free  
wow wat an amazing horse choc is so sensible i wish my horse was like choc mine freaks at nearly everyone who touches him amazing story to gled you are both ok

B.H.L the story was ov approved so it was ok and appropriate
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,988 views
Run Free  
wow wat an amazing horse choc is so sensible i wish my horse was like choc mine freaks at nearly everyone who touches him amazing story to gled you are both ok

B.H.L the story was ov approved so it was ok and appropriate
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,991 views
S Q U I  
OMG! I'm glad your okay.

I'm kinda scared now to ride alone. :o I don't live in the best neighborhood, so I'm gonna ride with a buddy.

Choc is a good horse. I would hope my horses would do the same.

Man Polo! Your story gave me the shakes.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,085 views
I'm glad ur okay too! People who do this stuff are absolutly stupid and crazy! Eli or Elli always ride with me. If they can't I stay in the lunge pen.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,988 views
Wow, glad your ok Polo, i cant imagine how terrifying it would have been. I always ride out in company as i just dont want to take the risk. You have a good horse there :)
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,094 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks very much for the comments everyone. :) Choc is indeed a fantastic creature. :D BHL: I actually had that concern myself, but admin does go through all articles before accepting them, and as the article was accepted I am sure it is fine. :) Plus - I only mentioned the weapon itself - not that it was used, which thankfully it was not.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  8,981 views
DejaVu  MOD 
Very educational story, glad you're ok Polo.

Justa note: mods do not approve the news, Jeff does.
  Aug 13, 2010  •  9,034 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks very much :)

I thought that might be the case... Good to know! :D
  Aug 14, 2010  •  8,979 views
Smart Choc! Horses are a lot smarter than a lot of people give them credit for! I'm glad both of you were alright.
  Aug 15, 2010  •  8,979 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Definitely. :) It never ceases to amaze me, even though I've known for a LONG time that most of my horses are a lot smarted than me... Except Bronze. :P Sweet creature is so silly. ^_^
  Aug 16, 2010  •  8,980 views
Inactive Member  
omg that must have been so scary, Choc is a heroine!!!!!! she saved your life! You must be so proud of her!
  Aug 20, 2010  •  9,005 views
Dixie Chick  
Im so glad you and Choc were okay!!!!!!!!!!!That evil doer must come to justice!!!!!*smacks hammer on the hammer thingy(what a judge does,lol!)* Choc is a Hero!!!!!
  Aug 21, 2010  •  8,257 views
Cruisin Past Curfew  
That is terrifying! So glad you are safe :)
  Jun 29, 2012  •  7,807 views
Hems Foresters  
I know this was like three years ago but oh my god! My heart was pounding as I read this! It must have been terrifying!
  Mar 15, 2014  •  6,905 views
no longer need barn
That is why I'm NOT allowed to go out by myself!But safety first! Thanks for sharing Polo. Really hope that others take it in and keep it in!
  Oct 25, 2016  •  4,770 views
Rose Stable
So glad you are safe!
  Oct 18, 2021  •  792 views
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