Good Neighbor Helps With Equine Pursuit

When her black horse breaks the fence and sees the halter in Shana’s hand, her husband and their good neighbors head out in pursuit.
By Shana Thornhill
July/August 2013
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A woman and her horse.
Photo By iStockphoto/Debi Bishop


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When I saw the Good Samaritan page in my copy of Grit, my neighbors immediately came to mind. Barb and Ralph Klein are two of the best neighbors anyone could have. They informed us when we first moved in that there were “rules” for being their neighbors. First, they would bring us food. Second, if we needed someone to watch the children and didn’t ask them, they would be offended. They water our gardens and take care of our critters when we’re gone (the dogs, cats, horses and chickens) and go out of their way to do nice things for our family. They firmly refuse any monetary compensation, so I try to give them unique gifts and homemade food. They also are on permanent “free egg” status. One of the most memorable occasions when they stepped in to help was when my horse escaped.

It was the evening of our daughter’s parent-teacher conference. On my way to take our children to the Kleins’ house, I noticed one of my horses had stuck her head under the fence in search of more grass. Intending to shoo her back in, I walked down and raised my arms. She raised her neck ... and the fence. She then proceeded to walk straight through.

Sighing, I went to the barn to get a halter and lead rope. She took one look and took off down the road at a dead run. She’s gorgeous when she runs, but when it’s away from you down the road, it’s not so pretty. My intrepid husband had made it outside by then, so I shoved the halter and rope at him and said, “Try to keep her in sight.” He jogged away while I tromped after her, too, trying to cut her off.

Luckily, my neighbors had seen her charge by. Barb came to corral the children, while Ralph fired up his trusty Rhino. The last thing I saw was Hubby climbing into the Rhino. The guys tore off in hot pursuit. I was going back to get a bucket of oats to lure her with when I thought: What if my other horse figures out the same thing? I shored up the fence for a temporary fix. I called around to get the teacher’s number so she knew we’d be late. Then I rearranged the gates so we could drive my errant equine (provided we could find her) into the pen without losing the other one.

Finally, I got the oats and trudged down the road. I couldn’t see any trace of the Rhino, and here we were, looking for a black horse at dusk. I was calling her, rattling the bucket, and wishing I’d thought to put on a jacket when I saw headlights weaving erratically in the field near the next mile road. I breathed a sigh of relief. They’re herding her back. I didn’t know it was just Ralph until my mare got close enough to hear the oats. Hubby was nowhere in sight.

Being without a halter, I rattled the oats so she would follow me home. Ralph provided the light in the deepening darkness. I breathed another sigh of relief to see my husband was back and manning the gate. The horse walked back in as if nothing had happened.

We made it to the conference finally, only an hour late. Thanks to our neighbors, I have my horse back. People have told me she would have come back anyway, but they didn’t see her take off like her tail was on fire. As I was thanking them profusely, Ralph said, “Aw, heck, that’s the most fun I’ve had all month!” You just can’t beat neighbors like that!


Share your stories of Good Samaritans, helping hands, paying it forward, and other altruistic deeds — whether you were on the receiving end or you remember the great feeling of doing the right thing. Email a 300- to 500-word article to hwill@grit.com and we may publish it in a future issue of the magazine. Mail articles to The Right Thing, Grit and CAPPER’s Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. The Good Samaritan involved in each printed article, if known, will receive a five-year complimentary subscription. 


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