To Sarah’s credit, she thought to pull over to report the horse. It’s not that easy to call a sheriff’s department on your cell phone when you know you’re going to have to start the conversation with “I haven’t been drinking, but,” and end it with “I almost hit a horse.”

I have a niece named Sarah in western New York who almost hit a horse.

Even without the little bit of alliteration I threw in for literary purposes, you hardly ever get to write something like that.

Sarah didn’t haul off and try to slug the steed, the way Mongo did in “Blazing Saddles.” No, she was driving in her car one night near where she lives, and the horse attacked her. It tried to run her off the road.

Unexpected animal

Usually it is the deer that engage in this kind of hooligan behavior. Roaming gangs of delinquent deer pop up out of nowhere along a road, in illegal places where there are no “Deer Crossing” signs, run out onto the pavement, stop for no reason and accost motorists. They stare at drivers as if to say, “You want a piece of me?”

Horses, on the other hand, usually keep to themselves. They’re well-behaved, are brought up right and stay at home behind fences to — I wish there was another way of saying this — engage in horseplay.

My niece apparently encountered a horse gone bad.

She screeched to a halt when she saw the horse standing in the road ahead of her. It stared at her. She stared at it. It had a bigger stare. And the stare was getting closer.

The horse ran toward her, kind of weaving between lanes, as if this might be a pretty obvious case of trotting while intoxicated. She couldn’t safely get around it.

She backed up. It went forward. She stopped. It didn’t. So she did some more backing. If this was a last dance for the evening, the horse was leading. Finally, the horse ran far enough to one side of the road that my niece could drive around it.

A horse, of course

To Sarah’s credit, she thought to pull over to report the horse. It’s not that easy to call a sheriff’s department on your cell phone when you know you’re going to have to start the conversation with “I haven’t been drinking, but,” and end it with “I almost hit a horse.”

Actually, as we’ve already figured out, the horse almost hit her, but this is not a conversation during which she wanted to split hairs or cause any more confusion than the horse already did.

“A horse?” asked the dispatcher, before adding, “It’s not our jurisdiction.”

As it turned out, when the horse — which was out long after curfew — attacked her, she had been driving at a spot where three counties in New York come together, so she would have to repeat the story two more times to a pair of sheriff’s departments before anybody claimed responsibility for handling the incident.

She must have repeated her story pretty precisely, because she got the same response.

“A horse?” asked the second dispatcher, before a third dispatcher questioned, “A horse?”

Not long after the third dispatcher started to believe her, Sarah saw a cruiser go past her in the direction of the horse.

A horse?

Contact Gary Brown at gary.brown@cantonrep.com.