Given that my horse has been known to spook at a white rock, it’s hard to imagine a horse with the guts to charge a grizzly bear. But that’s exactly what Erin Bolster and her horse Tonk did when they managed to save an 8-year old boy (on his first trail ride) from a charging bear.
Erin and Tonk were leading a routine trail ride when the grizzly burst through the brush in pursuit of a deer. Most of the horses turned tail and ran — including the one ridden by the boy’s father. But the boy and his horse were right in the bear’s path and he turned his attention from the deer to them.
Erin and Tonk — a 17.2 Percheron/QH — turned and charged the bear three times before it gave up the chase. Then she scooped up the boy, who had fallen but was unhurt, grabbed the reins of his horse, and headed back to the ranch.
There are very few riders — and even fewer horses — that could have pulled off such an act of bravery.
The good news is that Tonk gets a happy ending too. Although he was only leased to the ranch for the summer, Erin bought him last week. Who could blame her? That horse is a keeper for sure.
Here’s Erin and Tonk on the David Letterman show.