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  • Sarah Nour

Stallion on a rope



Horses are an integral part of the Bedouin tradition. People would take great pride in having a healthy, strong and beautiful Arab horse that would be adorned with handmade, colourful and tasseled decorations. Nowadays this tradition - as with the colourful tassels - has faded, pickups have taken over the symbolic status and horses are tied to a tree on a rope that wouldn't even make a dog happy. It is left there till nature calls for some change...and it did, one morning on my ride out with my mare Remaz.

We had taken the little puppy as the Bedouin children had taken his brother, so as not to be alone I would give them his brother too. I had put him in a little sling bag and walked with Remaz to the foot of the mountain. There we found a stream, larger then normal and Remaz was not convinced to go over. I led her and after a bit of encouragement she jumped over, repacking the little puppy and off we set for the family reunion.

A pick up passed us, Salim greeted us and invited me for tea. Okay, on my way back. Thank you. Getting closer to his tent I noticed something unusual...a horse grazing in front of the tent? I hope he was tied to something? I did not pay further notice as I arrived at the neighbouring tent to deliver the puppy. The woman agreed but we noticed the puppy was not well. Before we could decide what to do, we heard the call of the stallion. Oh no! Stallion on the loose!!

My focus narrowed to moving Remaz her rope from bridle to her bit so at least I could keep her with me and she would not drag me into some horsey lovemaking. My sight blurred, I could only see the buckle and the ring and my fingers fiddling. Yallah!! While I heard the stallion call. Oh no!

REALLY!! Not again! How come stallions are being held on a small rope?! And had the man simply left, greeting me, while knowing his stallion was loose, or was it a 2 min case of bad luck with him leaving and the horse breaking free? Anyway, not much time to consider, I was shouting for help but only old women and children in the area. Grabbed rocks and started throwing at him. Twice he got close but Remaz give him a good kick in the belly. Then the other women stepped in and we got him on a large circle. Me shouting, the Bedouin women calmly chasing him away and when far enough, there was time to light a cigarette that were hidden in her head scarf. Stones back in hand, joking with me and the neighbours while keeping a keen eye on the stallion. I felt myself calming down, which helped to make the protective circle stronger and the stallion did not dare to come closer again.

In the back there was some movement of a man, well a man who sleeps through loud shouting for help and does not seem very inclined to help out? So we kept throwing rocks to the stallion who kept trying to come close. We were all making circles, Remaz at my shoulder, the woman in front of me and the stallion on the outer ring, with the dogs screaming for help and crawling closer to the tree they were tied too. Haram! and now who is going to help? We called the owner but he answered: I am in Wadi Musa. Yes, and?! So I should wait for several hours till you get back? As if I leave the stallion will just run after us. I called Abdallah - my stable friend - for help. He could not find a car so he wanted to take my other mare to come up the mountain. I foresaw even a bigger party...nooo, not Gamar I screamed with Remaz in my left hand, stones in my right and the Stallion charging at us again. As if I could think straight, he left Gamar at the stable and came running up the mountain.

Remaz and I went into the goat coral, then Abdallah took a long rope, tied it to the fence of the coral then trapped the stallion with the long rope. Me in the coral with Remaz in one hand and holding the trap rope of the stallion with the other hand. The neighbour man was watching. Abdallah got the stallion, fixed the rope and tied it to a tree, where it was circling wanting to follow us. Pfffff. So much for my quite morning ride. At the same time the whole scene was quite epic: beautiful scenery, Bedouin tents, Bedouin women, horses and a woman in distress saved by the goat herder.


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