Monday, February 27, 2017
The Horse Chase
Spending some time for work and visiting friends and family in Kijkduin, Holland, I was already looking forward to take Tilde to the beach later during the day. Dogs are allowed off the lead throughout the year on this particular beach and I know the place well. Tilde has been there a couple of times before and enjoyed it too. A lot of locals visit the beach. The familiar city weekend-warriors. No doubt Tilde could have some fun and embarrass me along the way.
The sight and scent of sand and salt fueled Tilde as usual. The sun had come out in the mean time, and so did people and their dogs, eager to wash away some of Winter's grey. Soon Tilde was playing and romping around with the many dogs we met. Until I noticed a running horse and its rider on the top of a slope on the beach.
I looked around me for Tilde and tried to call her to me but I was already too late. She had noticed the horse too, dropped her ball, and stared at the running horse with her mouth closed and every fiber in her body tensed. I knew she was going down her checklist of things she preferred to do before coming back when I asked. I would loose that fight, with a chase opportunity so close by. A split-second later Tilde was off, running so fast, she soon matched the horse in speed.
Tilde and the horse approached each other head-on. The horse was picking up more and more speed, and so was Tilde. My heart was racing and I kept shouting out to her in panic. A head-on collision seemed inevitable. This could not end well.
When the horse and Tilde were on the brink of crashing into each other, I held my breath as if to brace for what was next, when in the last possible second the rider slightly adjusted the horse's direction to the right, just enough to miss Tilde by a hair. Tilde didn't gave up though, made almost a full turn in a whirl of sand to continue the chase. The rider kept giving her horse more speed, and I was relieved to see, that Tilde couldn't reach them anymore.
Seeing the horse disappearing into the horizon with Tilde running behind it I realized the rider had saved the day. First now I understood why the rider acted how she did. Let the horse pick up so much speed. The slight turn just at the right moment. As soon as the rider saw Tilde was running towards them, she knew to outrun her was the only option.
The rider looked back over her shoulder to see where Tilde was, who fell further and further behind, until she finally gave up. I raised my arm and waved, in a half-hearted attempt to show my gratitude to the rider. Tilde looked back at me, realized how far away she was, and came running back. When she came close enough for me to see the contours of her face again, I noticed how she was all smile.
How different could it have ended. I am well aware of her antipathy for horses. Back at home, where we also meet horses on the beach and have them literally running free in our back yard - see photo below - I have been able to manage it. Yet things like this always happen when you let your guard down. Especially with Tilde. She can add horses to her long chase-list now. Actually, we should keep track of the species of animals she hasn't chased. It is much shorter.
You scared me there, Tilde.
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