Nikki and I were out having a lovely trail ride late this morning. It was sunny and not to hot but not too cold. We visited Julie and Hannah and then went down the “turkey trail” toward Hoosier Valley. As we rode, we heard the sound of a helicopter flying low and we wondered if someone was lost or if there was some type of man hunt on. The sound grew faint and we figured the helicopter had passed out of our area.
We turned onto Hoosier Valley Rd. and went down the hill turning right on the gravel trail that led up to the oil derelict. There was a dark red truck making it’s was slowly down the hill. I could see that it had an emblem of some kind on the door, maybe the oil company ……….it was hard to say. The truck pulled over about 100 feet ahead and a man got out of the truck and seemed to be motioning us to come ahead.
Vinnie (my horse) was not too sure about the fellow up ahead and began to balk about moving forward. He slowed, reluctant to take even one step further. Topsy, Nikki’s horse was not any more courageous and so we urged them on but it was slow going.
All of a sudden a thundering noise from my right caused me to look and there, flying very low, just above the tree tops was a helicopter headed straight for us. I could see he was spraying something. I called to Nikki “Dismount” but she looked like she hadn’t heard. I yelled “Get OFF YOUR HORSE” and we both dismounted. The helicopter thundered over our heads and our horses went wild. Breaking away they bolted—Vinnie ran back the way we had come, Topsy down Hoosier Valley toward home.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Phyllis was taking her lesson on Ruby when she and Melissa heard the thundering of hooves. Melissa instructed Phyllis off her horse just in time for Topsy to come running into the front yard but not with Nikki. With Phyllis safe on the ground, Melissa went to catch the Topsy only to have Vinnie thunder down from behind the house, but not with me. Melissa had both horses safely in the paddock when Nikki finally made it home and shared what had happened.
As it turned out, the DNR was spraying the area to inhibit the hard woods and encourage red pine growth. They had posted a number of areas but our route fell between the postings. The DNR officers and supervisor expressed their sincere apologies for the incident. Fortunately, everyone was ok.