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Invisible danger in the woods

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Last week we were out with a group of 13 riders. A beautiful ride through the Bavarian Forest. I was with the last riders of the group and the distance to the front had already increased somewhat. When I suddenly heard shouting. Three riders in front of us turned around startled. Even further ahead I saw a stallion bucking across the forest, like in a rodeo. Fortunately, the rider was still able to hold herself up. What I heard from the front was “move away”, “keep moving”, “don’t stand there”.

One could feel well how all, also the horses, became slowly restless. “What is going on there?” we wanted to know. But we didn’t get an answer. Clearly – everyone was busy with his horse. I was afraid that our horses would also become restless, although we were still a good 20m away from the invisible danger in the forest. According to the shouting, we had to act in any case, just not stop in place. The thought popped into my head that maybe I could create some sort of ‘group dynamic’ by just trotting through the problem area. The startled horses would then see how calm we are and relax as well.

What a stupid idea! In retrospect, I must say that I would have preferred to think about it for a few seconds. A short vote with my fellow comrades would have been quite good. The screams were mainly meant for the people in the middle of the fiasco, not for us stragglers. 

But no, I had to rush ahead, of course. At a brisk trot towards the unknown, hoping I would just get through.

How could it be otherwise – of course my horse also started to buck and ran off. I felt a first sting on my leg. After the first shock and a few wild meters through the forest I saw the problem: wasps! In the coat, the mane and behind us. So on with speed, away from the wasps. Fortunately, only a few of the beasts followed us. A good hundred meters further on, I joined the beginning of our group, who had been waiting at a safe distance. Here I could ride a few circles until my horse had calmed down completely. Only then did I dismount. One rider helped me to comb the last wasps out of my coat with a broken branch of leaves. 

Fortunately, the others had not followed me, but had taken a small detour through the forest to join us. Fortunately nothing happened to anyone.

Another experience accompanies me home… 

… and a few wasp stings 😉

My résumé:

  • I think it would have helped me if the front riders had also shouted what the cause was: “Wasps!”
  • If you are in the immediate vicinity of the ‘attack’, get away quickly . Drive the horse and gain distance to shake off the ‘pursuers’. Also, I’ve heard it’s easier to sit out a buckler when a horse is in (fast) motion than standing still.
  • If one is not yet at the danger, then not to ride on something unknown, or ride through. Keep your distance and rather choose a detour.
  • Certainly, it is also good to keep your own horse busy, so that it does not have time to think about the fact that it could join in the general panic.
  • If you are not alone, briefly coordinate with the others what ideas you have. 
  • Keep a clear head. Haha, that’s so easy to say…but wanted to include anyway. (I hate such unnecessary comments) ðŸ™‚
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