A Horse Story

by Mary

Some time in the later '20s, not far from the Congo River, we acquired three horses: Colonel — Lloyd's horse — brown with some white, a beautiful spirited Arabian; DanEsther's horse — all brown, solid and dependable, but not as fast as Colonel; June — Reginald's horse (Reg was only a little more that three years old) — lighter brown in color, gentle and easy to manage. It was cute to see him galloping along the station paths. One time he took a side path to the village, somehow fell off, and couldn't get on again. A boy found him there with June standing by him. Riding these horses gave all of us a great deal of pleasure. Lloyd and I would sometimes race on the wide, one-half mile palm lane road between the station and Tandala's village, Whoever rode Colonel always won.

As I was getting ready to mount Colonel one day, he started to move forward. Addressing the young black boy in attendance, Lloyd said, "Hold the horse! HOLD THE HORSE!" The courageous boy grabbed him by the hind leg!

We had not yet ventured any long distance from the station but, wishing to visit an area where we had never been, we decided to try to go on horseback. Some workmen were with us who knew the way, and who, on occasion, would go ahead with their machetes to clear the underbrush and the overhanging branches. Then we reached a big river.

A long walking bridge, about four or five feet wide, spanned the river. The middle of the bridge was about ten to fifteen feet above the river. It was built with long heavy poles on the length-wise, and fairly straight and sturdy tree branches laid across the poles. The branches were not fastened together, so they would sometimes roll as you walked on them, creating openings between them here and there. For a human with only two feet to watch out for, it was safe enough, but for a horse with four feet to look out for it was risky.

We rode our horses up to the bridge, but once there, Colonel was afraid. He pranced and snorted nervously. We both dismounted. As he stroked and patted Colonel, Lloyd talked to him affectionately to calm him. Since Dan was steady and calm, Lloyd decided to lead him across the bridge first, thinking that would give Colonel confidence. Lloyd led Dan across safely, then he returned to lead Colonel over. Again, he took time to talk reassuringly to him, all the while stroking and patting him to allay his fears.

Slowly we started across, Lloyd leading as carefully as he could. We had reached the middle of the bridge when Colonel' s hind leg went through an opening. Struggling to gain a footing, all four of his legs went through. There he lay, helpless on his belly, his four legs dangling under the bridge

Believe me, there was no formal prayer meeting there, but God heard the silent, anguished cry of our hearts and supplied wisdom and strength. Lloyd was always extremely strong in his hands and arms but I am convinced that he was supplied on that occasion with super-human strength. While I stood by and watched, not knowing what to do to help, Lloyd removed both bridle and saddle. Then, reaching down and placing his arms underneath the horse, he took hold of Colonel's hind leg with his right hand and with his left hand grabbed his front leg. He lifted him up and rolled him over right into the river below. There were rocks down there which could have killed him but when he struck the water, he righted himself and swam to shore where Dan stood. We hurried to join them.

What a happy reunion and what love pats and praise for Colonel — and, in our hearts, thanksgiving to God for such a miraculous deliverance out of such an impossible situation!