Ann Green, owner of Dusty’s Haven horse stables, said she took three young riders to the trails Sunday when the weather turned stormy and the horses became wary of the situation.
“It was raining, the ground was soaked and we had a couple of spooky horses,” Green said.
About a mile into the trail, Green got off her horse to help two of the girls switch horses because of the animals’ erratic behavior. When she tried to get back on her horse, it decided to bolt.
“I had one foot in the stirrup and one out,” Green said, leading her to fall and further scare the uneasy horses.
Green’s horse, Sgt. Dusty, caught his back leg on Green’s knee as he tried to run off with the others. While 11-year-old Kiana Thompson of Powder Springs and 8-year-old Jenny Knight of Hiram were able to get off their horses, Kiana’s 9-year-old sister, Alyssa, was still atop her runaway horse.
“I didn’t care how much pain I was feeling,” Green said of her injured knee, which swelled as ants crawled up her legs while she was lying on the muddy ground. “I wanted to know the kids were OK.”
Green dialed 911 and told the two girls to find Alyssa. Between tears, the girls located Alyssa, who was able to get all the horses under control and round them up back to where Green lay as first responders made it to the remote scene about 45 minutes later.
Almost a week later, Green said she didn’t break any bones and is slowly healing from the injury. The girls are also doing well, as they are back at Dusty’s Haven for horse camp all week.
To thank first responders for their teamwork in the rescue, Green said she plans to have a barbecue at her 6-acre farm on June 22 for everyone who helped. She said she’s tried to contact many of the agencies who responded to the scene Sunday, including EMTs, police, firefighters and park rangers.
“I had the best team come after me,” she said. “I think they need this kind of recognition because more people complain than (give them) recognition.”
Chief Ranger Anthony Winegar said he spoke with his employee who was at the scene, who told him he was humbled by Green’s thanks, but that it was just another day’s work.
“We work hand-in-hand here at the park with the police department, fire department, Sheriff’s Office and other first responders,” Winegar said. “While I won’t lie, it’s nice to pat ourselves on the back from time to time, at the end of the day, it was another one that was successful.”
Winegar said Kennesaw National Battlefield Park is one of the only places left in metro Atlanta that allows and encourages horseback riding, with its 17 miles of trails almost entirely open to horses.
Of course, the horses can have minds of their own and accidents can happen far from main roads, he said.
“We have trained for this in the past, along with Marietta Police and Cobb Fire (Department), and we’re going to do it again this year,” Winegar said. “The park rangers are on the 911 system and have access to all frequencies. It’s just a matter of speaking a language that everyone understands in a place that doesn’t have mile markers and addresses.”
Brave young riders
Green also commended her students for keeping level heads to aid in a quick response.
“The fact is, they wouldn’t have been on the trail if they didn’t know how to ride,” Green said. “They were so helpful in pointing the way for the first responders.”
Alyssa and Jenny, both active in the Cobb 4-H Horse and Pony Club, were recognized at the club’s Monday night meeting for their efforts.
Green said the accident won’t prevent her from hitting the trails again.
“As soon as my leg heals up,” she said when asked when she would head back to the park. “I love my horses. There’s nothing like it, getting up close with a horse. When you’re having a down day, it’s the best kind of therapy I know.”