“The hikers were looking at each other in complete disbelief. None of them had an idea of what they were supposed to do now. They were so far away from civilization and needed to find a way of getting this cargo back to the city. The horse was clearly not able to carry the heavy load for much longer, so maybe they should leave it behind and come back for it with the right equipment. But the thought of somebody else coming across the bundle in the meantime was horrible for them.
The group leader, Carlos, could not help himself and took a look in the bundle again. He shook his head. Why had he gotten his friends into this mess? But before we start, make sure to subscribe if you haven’t and hit that notification bell so that you won’t miss any new stories.
But what was the horse doing so deep in the forest? What was the animal carrying in the bundle, and why did the hikers react so shocked to the contents? The friend group went hiking in the woods fairly often, and they thought they knew this area like the back of their hand. It was supposed to be their weekly relaxing activity, but today the journey would be anything but because today they would encounter something that made them never want to hike here again.
It all started when Carlos came across a set of hoofprints in the mud. They stood out as he was sure that these prints had to be made recently. There had been some heavy rainfall last night, so every print would have been washed away by that. He wondered what a horse was doing so deep in the forest. This was not a route that horse riders were advised to take. The vegetation was very thick, and you would constantly be sweeping away branches. It would also be very uncomfortable for the horse itself, so Carlos could not imagine that somebody was with the horse.
It took a bit of convincing before the group decided to follow the footprints. They led a lot deeper into the woods and to parts the group had never been to before. The hike they made was already fairly long, and if they were to follow the track, it would cost them their whole Sunday. But Carlos was very determined and managed to convince the rest of the small group.
The tracks were very clear and very deep in the mud, like the horse was very heavy. Maybe it had a rider after all—a logical thought but one that turned out to be very wrong. The longer that the hikers followed the tracks, the more agitated some of them were starting to become. They were so far from home at this point that they did not even have a phone signal, and they were tired of following a mystery horse that they were not even sure they were going to find.
Besides that, it was also clear that the horse belonged to somebody. Besides the carriage, it also had a headset that a rider could use to walk with the horse. Had this animal run away from its master maybe? Or was something else going on here? The hikers did not want to scare the horse away now that they had finally found it. They had no idea what this animal had gone through today and how it would react to them.
It was decided that instead of closing in or approaching the animal with the whole group, that only Jonathan would get close to it. Out of all of them, only he had some experience with horses, as his wife would frequently ride them. Jonathan made a bit of a beeline around the animal so that he could approach it from the side. Coming from behind would maybe scare the animal, and coming from the front could make it turn around. The approach seemed to be fairly successful, although it also very much helped that the horse did not seem scared of humans at all. It almost welcomed Jonathan’s approach and turned to him as if it was expecting some head pets.
Jonathan carefully started petting the horse, and the other members of his hiking group slowly approached after that. After following the track for over an hour, they got very curious about the horse and now, mainly to what it was carrying with him. By the way the large bundle was hanging on the horse, they could tell that there was something heavy in it.
Carlos took it upon himself to take a look inside, and what he saw made his eyes go wide. He simply could not believe what he was witnessing. He showed the contents of the bundle to the rest of the group, and all of them were shocked into silence for a little while. That silence was only broken by Michael when he stated that they needed to get this horse and the bundles back to the city as soon as possible. The group all wholeheartedly agreed, but they also knew that this would not be that easy. The bundles were very heavy—too heavy for them to carry—and it was clear that this poor horse would also not make it the whole way home without collapsing under the weight.
After a bit of debate, the group decided that it would probably be best if they would leave the large bundles behind somewhere in the forest where they could retrieve them at a later moment with the right equipment. But it would need to be a place that they could find again later. They had gotten so deep in the forest now that none of them had any kind of signal, so they could not mark their current location on the map. They would first have to take the horse and bundle a little closer to home before they could drop it off.
While Jonathan was leading the very tired horse in the right direction, the others tried to support the heavy bundle as much as they could. They could not understand how the horse had made it this far on its own carrying this kind of weight.
Why was the animal even doing it? The horse was carrying a bundle full of stolen gold. Apparently, the criminal who stole it believed that this was the best way of transporting their goods without raising suspicion. But what they had not accounted for was that the horse would take off on them. They were eventually arrested, and all the gold was returned.”