The Sheep That Thinks it’s a Horse
A day spent horse riding in the featured a surprising twist in the shape of a sheep with an identity crisis! I had booked a day’s riding in the mountains and it was my birthday. My guide, Matej, took me to the paddock to collect our mounts and some supplies such as water, lunch for us and a small bag of Blue Chip horse feed (that was well hidden). The horses looked beautiful but I was amused to see that they shared their home with a rather scruffy looking brown sheep. The sheep was grazing happily with the horses and looked incredibly cute.
I thought no more about it and eagerly prepared myself for a great day in some of Europe’s most sublime scenery. We set off up a narrow path and I was surprised to see the sheep dash out of the pasture and start to follow us on our journey. I was even more surprised when a stunning Lipizzaner foal also decided to tag along. I asked Matej how far the sheep and the foal were likely to follow us and he said that they would be with us all day.
This seemed ridiculous given the distance we were likely to travel. Clearly the journey would not be an issue for the Lipizzaner but the sheep?
Up Hill and Down Dale
We made our way into an unspoilt forest and then down to the banks of an Alpine river for lunch. We had travelled a fair way but the sheep was hanging in there! After taking a quick dip in the river it was time to roast sausages over the camp fire. Meanwhile our horses were treated to a handful of the Blue Chip horse feed which Matej had brought with him. I guess that our mounts needed an energy boost as we were about to head up into the mountains. The sheep was busying itself grazing but soon sprang into action when we set off again.
On the Loose
I still couldn't believe that a sheep would willingly follow us and that it had such a close bond with the horses. Things got even more amazing when we stopped again for a quick drink at a camp site bar. We dismounted in an adjacent field and tied our horses to the trees but Matej seemed quite happy to walk off and leave the foal and the sheep to their own devices. I was shocked to discover that they were still there when we returned some time later. After a quick snack for the horses we continued our adventure.
I was beginning to think that the sheep was convinced that it was a horse. Apart from showing no interest in the Blue Chip horse feed, the sheep was behaving like a miniature version of his friends. I couldn't help wondering if it would actually recognise other sheep as its own species. Towards the end of the trip I realised that I was about to find out. I could see a field full of sheep ahead and I was very amused when our sheep stopped at the gate and started baaing loudly at his cousins. So he did know that he was a sheep after all.
By the end of our journey we had been out for seven hours and had covered 27km. The sheep followed us every step of the way as did the foal. I loved the ride but it is that sheep which will live long in the memory.