How do you outrun a horse?
I know that’s a stupid question. It’s like asking whether you can douse a bushfire with a water bucket. Horses are designed to run – very fast – and people are designed to walk.
Could I escape from Ratchet, a 800 pound gelding (which an hour earlier was contentedly nuzzling my neck) as he tried to run me down?
And why had he been so upset about a dead rooster?
A friend had come over to cull my roosters – the same friend whose horse was now trying to kill me.
I’d picked up the dead white rooster to bury it when Ratchet approached. He sniffed the bird and then knocked me in the back with his head. Two more horses appeared and began to hem me in – as if to squash me.
I hurled the rooster at Ratchet and ran, as fast as I could in plodding gumboots, towards a line of pine trees. The gelding galloped up behind me and I turned to watch it crash through the trees.
The horse had me on the run, literally, with nowhere to hide.
Ratchet continued past me into the open field and then did a circle before galloping back. I made a dash for the stable, hoping I could lock him out. The horse, deciding it had frightened me enough, veered off towards the fence line.
My friend had missed the incident and looked surprised when I described what had happened.
“Ah,” he nodded. “Ratchet was cross you didn’t have any food for him.”
I replied that Ratchet was more upset about the dead rooster than whether I had food for him or not.
My friend shrugged and told me if it happened again to wave my arms above my head or to slap Ratchet on the chest.
“Slap him on the chest?” I repeated incredulously. I wasn’t going to slap a crazed horse hurtling towards me on the chest. Was he joking?
Later, when the horses were elsewhere, I retrieved the abandoned rooster and buried him. I kept looking around – worried Ratchet would return.
I really don’t know whether the dead rooster had upset him, but I do know that it is very stupid to try and outrun a horse.