Thirty Horses


One of my passions is wildlife rescue,
but these are mainly small animals
a bit different from a horse,
let alone a herd of horses!

Plying my trade as a flying instructor, and a Pom to boot who has never been on a horse, I still dwell within a very rural Aussie environment.

So it came to pass that, within my ongoing work, my current flight student, achieved what he wanted very early on his final day, and I had some relaxation time up my sleeve.

So I headed for town, did some family shopping, had a few tipples in the local hotel, then headed for home, looking forward to laying-back for a change.

On the final intersection from home, I was confronted with thirty horses on the road. One has to be phlegmatic about these sorts of circumstance and take a broader view of the situation, especially as thirty is rather a lot of horses.

Coming to an abrupt stop, I carefully contemplated the situation. The horses could not be local – therefore had to be strays and were obviously valuable animals – as well as requiring security and peace of their own.

I abruptly became a drover – however inept – and worked out that the only property with its entrance down the road ahead which was open was my own, so I cautiously herded the animals along with an eye on my rear view mirror of the traffic banking up behind me – but, said drivers being country folk, they stayed back and did not push the situation.

When the appointed time and place came (determined by myself entirely on faith) the entire herd turned down my driveway and I had them safe (at least off the road).

Some gate closing and opening manoeuvred them from paddock to broader paddock, to enclosed paddock with a loading ramp. So, at this point, given my own shortcomings I must admit to preening on my totally unqualified herding prowess (with a huge measure of good luck). Now, who do the horses belong to?

Bush telegraph works fast, and soon an anxious young lady arrived looking for her horses and giving profuse apologies that a neighbour had not mended his fences, and explained that the horses had crossed a creek, the Brisbane River, some rather valuable irrigation crops, taken down four fences and were clearly headed for the hotel in town I had so recently vacated

Ah well! Each to their own and give a horse its day! We happen to have the loading ramps for bulk transport of large animals and tomorrow they will be home with no further drama, probably having enjoyed their brief burst of freedom.

Meantime I am in minor shell shock balancing how I spent a scary afternoon with thirty horses!

– Tony Hayes

Toogoolawah, Queensland, Australia.

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