9 weeks later
The stallion in front of me snorted, then darted to the left. I was on my toes, watching his every move and trying to move with him. As the stallion lept up on it’s hind legs, I darted for his neck and wrapped my arms around it.
I was startled by the indian’s urgency. I let go, and fell back – the stallion stormed to the other end of the arena. Standing up, I walked over to the indian that had shouted – Tasunke, the horse trainer. He wore a look of complete shock.
“What were you thinking? There were two major problems with that move… one is that you could have been killed. Remember that horses are around 6 times your size, and their hooves are rather hard. Second: you are a predator, and horses are prey. They naturally have a fear of humans – if you are going to gain their trust, you must show them that you don’t intend to kill and eat them.”
He let me think about that for a minute, then encouraged me to go back into the arena. As I walked towards the stallion, he snorted, wide eyed, and tried to get as far away from me as he could. I looked back at Tasunke.
“You must have Patience.”
After several hours of unsuccessfully searching for food, I was beginning to give up hope of being able to come out of this wilderness alive. It seemed that my only hope would be for someone to find me – but in a wasteland like this, chances of that happening were slim to none.
I pulled the nearly empty water bottle out of my backpack and unscrewed the top. Looking down through the opening at the water sloshing around in the bottom I was faced with a choice – I could either drink it all now and be really thirsty on the way back to camp, or wait to drink it later and be really thirsty now. Before I could come to a decision, I was startled by a stream of warm air being blowing down my neck. I turned around slowly and came face-to-face with what seemed to be the stallion of the herd I ran into the day before – and he wasn’t looking any more friendly today than he had yesterday.
Thinking quickly, I decided that I should try making friends the horse rather than run away. Slowly I brought my hand up to pet the horse’s nose, but before I could get very close the horse snorted and lunged at my shoulder. I darted back, just missing what could have been a very painful nip. I had dodged one danger, but fell right into another – I bumped into a mother horse. She screamed and kicked.
Everything went black.