Today in awesome: a young woman saved a little boy from a charging grizzly using only her courage and that of her trusty horse.
The Spokesman-Review (via the Missoulian) tells the story of 25-year-old wrangler Erin Bolster, who leads horseback rides in Montana near Glacier National Park. On July 30, she was leading a group of tourists on a short trail ride when a grizzly bear (not the one in the picture) chased a deer across their path. Most of the horses fled back along the trail, but Scout, a horse carrying an eight-year-old boy, ran into the woods. The deer escaped — and the bear began chasing Scout. Says Bolster,
[A]ll I could think about was the boy falling off in the path of that grizzly. I bent down, screamed and yelled, but the bear was growling and snarling and staying very focused on Scout. As it tried to circle back toward Scout, I realized I had to get [my horse] Tonk to square off and face the bear. We had to get the bear to acknowledge us. We did. We got its attention — and the bear charged. So I charged at the bear.
Bolster and Tonk had to charge the bear three times before it ran off into the wilderness, leaving Scout and the boy scared but unharmed. Bolster says Tonk's valor was exceptional: "Some of the horses I've ridden would have absolutely refused to do what Tonk did; others would have thrown me off in the process. Some horses can never overcome their flight-animal instinct to run away." At the time, she was just renting Tonk for the season; now she's decided to buy him. Bolster's horse surely helped her save the little boy's life, but her story is also a rebuke to anyone who claims that women can't do dangerous jobs, or that men are the only ones willing to put their lives on the line to keep other people safe.
Gutsy Wrangler, Huge Horse Save Boy From Charging Grizzly [Spokesman-Review]
Wrangler Charges Griz To Save Boy In Flathead [Missoulian]