This Horse Went from Hiding in the Woods to Seeing Himself Out the Front Door

In 1980, my husband put a motor in a gentleman’s car. In exchange, we got a young, untrained horse.

Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest will be honoring the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is a finalist in our “People to Animals” category. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote for Rascol. To see our full list of finalists, go to rd.com/petpals and vote in each category.

It took lots of patience to get Rascol in the trailer to bring him home. When he finally got there, he jumped out of the trailer. Our pasture was half field, half woods. I’ll let you guess which half he bolted for.

My daughter was five years old and attending kindergarten when we first got the horse. Every day she would get off the bus and run to the fence to see him. She had a chair that she sat in to talk to him. She could see him just inside the wood line, but he would never come out. Eventually, she’d get bored, leave him treats, and come to the house.

Every evening we’d walk down to the fence to feed and water the horse. We would talk to him the whole time. It took several months before the horse finally stepped out of the woods, but we still couldn’t touch him. We just kept up the routine until he finally trusted us enough to pet his nose. My husband would climb the fence to try to get close, but even that took a while. It was a very long summer before we could get in the pasture and care for the horse.

man standing with a white horse and a black horse on the edge of the woodsCourtesy Kathy Weidman

Several years went by and it was time for us to move to a new farm. This time, the horse loaded into the trailer much easier. The new farm had much more space for horses to roam, so we bought the horse a friend, Wolfe. After a while they became good friends.

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The new farm did not have fences separating the house from the horse pasture. I can’t remember what my daughter named the horse at the first farm, but I can tell you what we called him at the second farm.

Every time I hung laundry on the clothesline, Rascol would steal my underwear and my underwear only, promptly re-laundering it in the pond in front of the house. We all agreed, he seemed to smile while sloshing it around the muddy water. This was an ongoing problem until Rascol finally trained me to feed the horses before hanging the laundry.

painting of a white horse poking his head through an open windowCourtesy Kathy Weidman

The house was on top of a hill and got great airflow, so I’d often leave doors and windows open. One day, Rascol entered the side door along with the breeze. He helped himself to a loaf of bread and left a smelly pile on the floor. He went from refusing to emerge from the woods to seeing himself out the front door.

Over the years, we came to love all our horses, and they us. You couldn’t take Rascol or Wolfe out for a ride without the other following. Rascol spent many mischievous and playful years with us and lived a wonderful life.