I can't even count the # of critters I've run into on horse or mule back... But here's a few stories... Hope you enjoy them.
1> Manassas, VA
My old TB, Arizona & I used to go trail riding all the time & stop in an open field to graze with the deer. I had one herd that was really used to us, we went over there almost every night for spring, summer, & fall one year. This fawn began to get really interested in my horse & it would sneak away from his mom to get closer. Mom would run up & heard it away a few feet, it got to point where he would touch noses with Arizona. The horse loved the deer & the lush grass too.
2> Graves Moountain - Syria, VA
I've run into several bears in very tight spots on the trails in the mountains. Was on my old mule, Annie so I really wasn't scared, nor was she... We were always way in front of everybody on the trails. I was just kicked back in my saddle enjoying the ride & the scenery... Man I miss that mule!
One time we were heading down a very steap hill on a very tight trail; straight wall of mountain to our right & straight down the side of a cliff to our left... So anyways, there was 6 of us headed down; with me in the front keeping look out for the ones that have been freaking out all day about running into a bear on the trail, haha. We are all full swing into heading down the mountain as I come around the bend & there is BIG black bear! Smack dab in the middle of the trail! I stopped my mule & yelled back to everyone "BEAR!" "IN THE TRAIL!" "STOP!"!!! I'd say I was stopped about 8 feet from the bear where he was just hanging out so I tried backing up the hill a little... till everyone came right up behind Freaking Out & trying to stop their horses on the downhill trail. I got everyone calmed down & off their horses & mules, I stayed on my mule between them & the bear & reported to them everytime they asked what it was doing, or if it was leaving. It took about 10 mins of being patient & letting him wallow his way down the traila bit & off into the woods. And so then we continued our way down the mountain. That was a great trip to the mountains!
3> Manassas, VA
Was riding my belgian Chauncy from the Manassas Battlefield to Centerville in Virginia... I saw a mountain lion run about 20 feet in front of me & it jumped a wire fence. That was pretty cool but I was by myelf & I couldn't wait to get to where I was going to tell my sister that I finally saw him! Cause she'd seen him twice in the Battlefield already...
4> NORTHERN VA AREA TRAILS
Run into many coyotees, foxes, deer, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc... and riden through a few cow fields where the cows like to chase you & jump & try to spoke your horse...
I love trail riding & I love nature & almost all the animals that come with it! Just don't like the FLYS & BUGS!