Everyday Angels

A horse bolts, and an angel takes wing

Zach on Big Red with his father Todd Cole. Today, Zach is a civil engineer.
Zach on Big Red with his father Todd Cole. Today, Zach is a civil engineer. COURTESY OF BETTY COLE

Two generations of my family live on a farm in western Lincoln County. For years, a part of daily life for the men in the family was riding horses. My husband, Papaw Bill (better known as Pop), our son, “Daddy Todd,” and our grandson, Zach, were all horsemen. One day in October 1994, the three had gone for a ride with Zach, who was then 4 years old, and his dad on Big Red.

They stopped at one point, and both men dismounted, leaving Zach on the horse. Each thought the other was holding the reins. In reality, no one was holding the reins, and the horse took off at a full gallop with little Zach holding on to the saddle horn.

Pop quickly mounted his horse and tried to catch up. He was yelling, “Hold on, Zach! Hold on!” But the horse wasn’t slowing down. They crossed one terrace – a structure built to slow water flow – then a second and then a third and fourth with Pop in hot pursuit.

Finally, after crossing the fourth terrace, the horse came to an abrupt stop with Zach hanging off the left side of the saddle, his hands still glued to the saddle horn. Pop told him to let go, and he fell to the ground.

I don’t think it was an “Everyday Angel” who was looking out for Zach, now 25, and a civil engineer who lives in Cherryville. An angel from above must have been riding on Zach’s shoulders and keeping him on Big Red.

Betty Cole, Cherryville

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