It was a bitterly cold Friday afternoon. I was heading home from work, pumped that the weekend was here. Not pumped to go home and do the barn in -30...but at least it was the weekend so I could get good and wine drunk during the process to keep my spirits up. I was cruising down the highway, about halfway home when I spotted a big black Percheron running through the snow in the ditch up ahead. There was another one following close behind. The snow was up past their knees but they were trucking along at a good pace despite.
I pulled over and threw my four way flashers on. I jumped out of the car and started calling the horses. They slowed down a bit and looked back but kept heading west. They soon ventured onto the road and were full blown cantering down the middle of the highway. Traffic had stopped both ways thankfully and people were being very smart and keeping their cars parked on the road. I realized no amount of running was going to catch me up so I jumped back into my car and sped down the highway, carefully past the horses and pulled over ahead of them, once again parking my car on the shoulder with my four ways on.
This time I stood in the middle of the road calling the horses..and one came right to me. They had halters on, thank God. They were around 17 hands, and I was in my work clothes, and heels. I managed to hold onto the one and start leading him back in the direction we came. It was absolutely freezing. There was no doubt my hand was going to get frost bitten. The horse I had was well behaved but the loose horse was being a total twit. Galloping off in the other direction, jumping the guard rails and falling into the ditch, and screaming his head off trying to get the horse I had to go with him. It was only a matter of time before the horse I had turned and bolted off to meet up with his friend. I just let go, I wasn't going to die in this process.
Defeat. I headed in their direction but they went full tilt this time. A very nice lady pulled her car up to me and she gave me the gloves off her hand to warm up. I will never forget that truly kind gesture! A few other people pulled up asking if there was anything they could do. I said they aren't my horses and I have no idea where they are from, not much we can do but try and keep them off the road at this point.
I got back to my car and called 911. The officer said they already had a call and were headed out this way. I didn't even see which direction the horses went at this point but I have a feeling they headed North. I sat in my car for a few minutes trying to regain feeling in my face and hands. I drove off in the direction I suspected and saw the tracks along the road. I pulled into the first farm on the roads driveway and saw this;
They managed to coral themselves up nicely. There was a herd of cattle behind them with a big round bale and I suspect they were very interested in that. They were licking their lips for water and were drenched in sweat. Not long after the OPP showed (Ontario Provincial Police) and helped me keep them blocked in until the owner showed up.
He just lived down the road from where I first saw them and didn't even realize they had gotten out. He said he just bought them today as a driving pair, he likes to fatten them up, put training on them and then re sell them. He was genuinely concerned for the drivers on the road and was very thankful to me that I was trying to catch them. They just had another 10 minute to wait for their ride to get there and they would be home safe - locked in the barn no doubt!