The Great Escape


A few years ago I was gathered with family and we began reminiscing about days gone by. One of the stories that came up was the day that my aunts’ horses escaped from our pasture. It’s funny how 20+ years can completely change the perspective of an event. I’m pretty sure that the day this actually occurred no one was laughing, but as I recounted the events of that day laughter ensued until there were tears in all of our eyes.

I was probably around seven or eight years old when my aunts, my dad’s sisters, had entrusted us to care for their horses for a while. It was no problem because we were well equipped with a decent size

pasture, small barn, and strong fencing. At least we thought it was no problem.

Though I don’t remember all of the specifics I do remember the chaos. My dad and I were tending to the garden just outside the main gate. My dad was near the gate when Omar, my aunt Cheryl’s grey Arab-Escape Artist gelding, made his move. Before I knew it my dad was standing in front of the gate with his arms spread yelling “Whoa”! He realized this was a fruitless effort as this stubborn and determined animal nearly five times his size was determined to run free regardless of who he had to run over in the process. My dad dove out of the way as Omar and his co-conspirator, Squire, a smaller but equally stubborn grey gelding, charged their way to freedom. My dad jumped up and was running after

the horses faster than the speed of light while hollering for me to go get my mom.

The next thing I know we are in the van, somewhat hysterically, searching the neighborhood for the escapees. Keep in mind that we lived in Orangevale, California at the time. This was a very busy suburb of Sacramento and we lived very close to a main thoroughfare. Though I can’t remember all of the logistics of the event, I do remember my dad uttering more than one “cowboy word” that evening. (A family friend once used that term to describe profanities and I just had to share it.)

From what I have been told, the horses did find their way down the busy street and to a neighbor’s farm that also had horses. I guess he helped my folks wrangle the beasts and we were able to return them

back to the safety of our pasture. The gates were reinforced and I was instructed not to tell Cheryl and Cathy about the event. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. We almost got away with it, too.

I guess my mom and dad forgot to tell the neighbor not to tell them because one day as Cheryl and Cathy took a leisurely ride past his place the beans got spilled. It was mentioned in casual conversation that he had recently had the honor of meeting the two critters.

I’m guessing that Cathy and Cheryl quickly forgave my folks, as they knew that the important thing was the horses were both safe, but I am pretty sure that my dad never spoke to Omar or Squire again after that little stunt.