My Own Hero
by Natosha Anderson

It was about 3 weeks ago one early morning. I headed out to the stallion barn, it was still dark out and a little chilly breeze. I heard the nickers and neighs as I walked past my dad's race horse barn. I watched the mares and their new foals gallop around the feild. Slowly I slid the barn door open and walked down the aisle.

I heard the echo of my footsteps in the quiet barn, and as I slowly made my way down the aisle the stallions poked their heads out. I reached the 8th stall from the end, the stall plate read, "Natosha's Sweet Pride." I slid the gate open and stood waiting for the tall, dark figure in the corner to move. "Morning boy, ready for a ride?" I asked and my horse Pride walked across the stall to the gate where I stood. Pride is my stallion, out of all the horses I have ever had in my life, and out of the 18 that are mine now, Pride is my favorite. He is my favorite out of all 200 head of horses my dad has on the ranch. I got Pride when I was 5, he is out of my dad's champion racing stallion and a quater horse mare. He is appendix bred.

I am now 15 and he is 10. I patted his head and walked out of the stall, he followed me without a lead rope. Anyone can tell we have done this many times before. I brushed him down till his golden coat shined, saddled him up, and got on headed towards the indoor arena in the back. I planned on loping circles and warming him up before Ii started running him on barrels. He is in tuning right now because finals are soon. He is barel trained, me and Pride are 2nd in state barrels, 3rd in state poles, 1st in state break away, and we are in the top 3 for best all around rodeo team. So everynow and then I just need to freshen him up.

Well this was the morning I picked-- bad idea! We crossed over the race track to get to the back of the property line where the indoor arena is. Behind us is about 400 acres of woods. As we stepped onto the track I saw cyotes on the track. I paid them no mind, they are there every morning. Once horses start coming and running up here they leave and don't bother us much. I noticed this one that kept walking the fence line about 10 feet behind us and about 20 feet away. That's pretty close for coyotes to get. I didn't think anything of it, I just kicked Pride to a jog and blew the coyote off.

I turned about 30 seconds later to look and just double check the animal. At the same moment the coyote ran behind Pride and nipped at his heel. Pride, stunned by the incident, lounged and kicked up, throwing me off balance. I gripped Pride's neck and held on, not wanting to fall with the coyote there. He nipped at Pride again, who lounged to a lope and kept kicking at the following animal. Then it happend, my hand slipped and I fell. Pride stopped in his tracks and just stood there. He always stands when I fall, but most horses would run in a moment like this.

I sat on the ground and looked at the coyote that stood about 6 foot from me. I saw then that this animal had rabies! He foamed at the mouth and was snapping uncontrolably. I hollard and threw my arms up, as soon as I did it jumped at me and Pride kicked it. Then the remarkable happend, Pride lowerd his head and bit at the c0yote. He slashed his front hooves up in the air at the coyote's back and ran after it making it run and growl. Soon as Pride got 10-15 foot from me he'd turn and run back standing beside me. He did this 4 times before the coyote just didnt come back. I was crying because I was scared and Iwas so greatful to my horse. Pride was protecting me! I was told fictional stories about that but never real stories-- especaily happening to me. After about 2 minutes I got on Pride and headed to the barn. I told my dad who went out and they killed the coyote, it had rabies. I am so proud to have a great horse, a best friend and better yet my own hero.


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