I am always astounded when some one-in-a-million odds event happens when I am in the presence of horses, because usually the results are not good. I'm lucky to come out of it alive.
Every night I go outdoors in the dark to let the horses out of their stalls when they have finished eating their dinner. I do this with the help of a flashlight. Tonight I could hear thunder claps getting louder and closer together, so I checked the weather map and saw that storms were coming at us from all directions. I said, "I guess I'd better get out there right now to let the horses out, or it's not going to happen."
I was surprised to find the ground dry. The sky was making a lot of noise, but there was no precipitation yet. Rock was already in the barn aisle because I never closed the gate to his stall. I opened up Lostine's stall gate, and Rock, not being a gentleman, barged right into her stall before she could get out. He's always in a rush to get any dregs she left behind before Gabbrielle chases him away from them.
As I was securing the gate into an open position, I heard Bombay nicker nervously. I looked over to see both Bombay and Gabbrielle in a state of panic, but I had no idea why. It was as if they sensed what was about to happen two seconds later.
They sky opened up and dumped an explosion of hail onto the aluminum roof of the barn. It sounded like a bomb going off. Lostine took off at a gallop out of the barn, nearly kicking me as she went, and then Rock spun and I waved my flashlight at him while screaming to let him know that I was in his path. He veered to my right and raced past me without hitting me, but I saw my life flash before my eyes when he was coming at me.
I turned to see Bombay and Gabbrielle trying to leap over the railing panels of their stalls. I knew I had to get their gates open or they would hurt themselves. Bombay was in a bad position, jumping in the corner I needed to swing the gate toward, and that would essentially trap him and add to his panic. I couldn't swing the gate out into the aisle, because he would crash into it while trying to get out of the barn and possibly break it along with his shoulder or hip.
I decided to swing the gate halfway toward him, giving him room to back up. That worked, but the gate didn't swing wide enough, so he hit his hip on it on the way out. Gabbrielle came out in a more controlled manner. Once all four horses were out standing in the paddock trying to figure out which was worse, being under the noisy roof or being pelted by hail, Rock realized this was nothing worth panicking over, and he trotted right back to Lostine's feed barrel to finish off her dregs.
Lostine, Bombay and Gabbrielle were squirming in and out of their little huddle trying to find where they left their brains. I was shaking uncontrollably, because I knew this was a close call for me. I could have been trampled. No sooner did the outburst of hail begin, and it was gone. I couldn't help but think how unlucky I was to happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had I gone out one minute earlier or one minute later, I would have been fine. I wouldn't have been at risk of being trampled. Of course, the lucky part was that Lostine's hooves didn't connect with me and Rock veered past me at the last millisecond, but why did this have to happen at all?