Horse led her through brutal snowstorm

From our April 2012 issue

By Marina Antonenko – Saskatoon, Sask.

It was a fine fall morning and it was decided to butcher and pluck some turkeys to take into Saskatoon to sell the next day. We had raised over 100 that year.

I went to the house at noon to fix us a bite to eat and while there turned on the news. It was already snowing.

Upon returning to the barn, I told my husband I thought we should stop, but he thought it would clear up by evening and kept on. The milk cows knew better and were at the barn door so we let them in.

Our son had a half-mile to go to Asgard School, while our daughter was in high school five miles away at Sonningdale. Our son came home early, before the storm got bad.

Our girl often left her horse at the neighbour’s barn and drove the rest of the way with the neighbour’s children in their car. This day she was a little late, so rode all the way on horseback.

The storm picked up force so that we couldn’t see the barn. The yard light was halfway between the house and barn, so with some gusts we couldn’t see that, either, but we left the light on so it could be seen.

It shook with the strong gusts of wind. It would be suicidal to go into that storm. We hoped our daughter was at the neighbour’s, but that little doubt came around and there was no phone between us and the neighbour’s.

The schoolchildren had started home by car with the horse tied behind. They had to turn off the road in the field around a bad place and here the car stalled. There was no way could it be started again.

Our daughter was well-dressed so it was decided she go for help. Her horse was so agitated she couldn’t mount, so she put the lines over her arm and let the horse lead her to the neighbor’s barn to let them know what had happened.

The neighbour started out on foot, thinking he’d get the car started and bring them home. He was soon lost. He kept walking until he felt the road under his feet and followed it back to the yard to hitch the team of horses. Off he went to pick them up.

Driving in the car, they were all lightly dressed that day.

On the third day it was still blowing, but the snow had eased up, so my husband, Jack, hitched his team and went to see where our girl was. It was a relief to see them coming over the hill, saddle horse tied behind.

Our daughter only suffered a little frostbite to her face and a bare spot of the wrist of the arm she put the lines over, which soon healed.

Someone must have been watching over them. Her friend who was to wait in the car sensed the danger and shed a few tears.

Now, what about the turkeys that were butchered? We couldn’t eat them all. Jack hitched the team and went peddling turkeys and managed to sell them all. I didn’t ask at what price.