David Arment: How Bob Found His Way Home

I met Bob by accident, or fate, hard to know which it was. He and I spent three hours together one Sunday morning in September, walking the countryside, my Sunday shoes getting wet from the dew. He was a good listener, but he often got bored and wanted to run. He is young so you have to forgive his wandering attention.

Bob has four legs and is less than three feet tall. If you’ve taken a look at the photo already, he is the one with the halter.

Here is how I met Bob (and yes there is an Amish connection).

A colt out of nowhere

I tried to develop the habit of getting up early on Sunday and going out and taking pictures. On this particular Sunday I was retaking pictures of an old barn that my landlord had told me about. I was on my way back home to pick up my wife and take her to church.

I was on a country road approaching the “busy” road of SR 120 and here came this little pony colt running full blast down the hill straight for my van. So I stopped because I didn’t want to hit him. It was out of my control if he ran into me which looked like a distinct possibility.

I put the van in park and stepped out as the colt ran past the front fender of the van. He stopped as I stood in the open driver’s door.

He looked at me and I figured I’d better get ahold of him or his time on earth would be short as he apparently had no idea that cars, trucks or a semi could do him damage. I assumed something on the busy road had spooked him and caused him to come running down the hill.

I tried to reach out, and calmly walking toward him, tried to get a grip on his halter. He moved away, backing up, not turning around to run, but it was clear he was not going to let me get my hand on that halter.

So I turned and walked back to the van which still was running. I turned off the van and started to shut the door. As I turned around the colt was almost under foot.

He let me grab his collar and we spent the next few hours wandering the countryside looking for someone, anyone, but no one was home.

Where do you belong?

I figured the colt (Bob) belonged to someone Amish as he was pretty easy to handle. He had obviously been around people and was “halter trained”. And he had on one of those blue plastic halters that seem the fashion preference of Amish equine.

But the halter was too big and it was hard to keep him in it as he would pull his head to the side and his nose would be out of the loop that was where his nose was supposed to me, making it somewhat hard to get Bob to go somewhere when that somewhere was not where Bob wanted to go.

A van of people who appeared to be Mennonites stopped and held Bob for a few minutes while I made a rope out of a towel I scrounged from the van. They had a special event at church so they had to go, but their stop really helped because now I had a rope!

We were walking as far away from the busy road as we could because the big trucks really bothered Bob. I could only imagine the disaster of him being spooked and running in front of one of those monsters semis.

Maybe they can help

Then we saw (I don’t know if the colt saw it or not) an Amish guy on a small farm tractor, pulling a wagon. In the wagon was an Amish woman who looked uncomfortable as though she was trying to balance herself on the two-wheeled, one-axle cart that was not made to haul people.

The Amish guy was looking ahead and the motor of the little tractor was loud. They were moving about as fast as the little tractor would go. The Amish woman’s head was moving from side to side. It was obvious they were looking for Bob the colt.

I waved my one free arm as big as I could. There was no reason to yell because they wouldn’t have heard me above the tractor noise and Bob may not have taken well to my loudness.

The Amish lady saw me and started tapping the man with great vigor.

They were over to me in a flash. They were obviously very excited because they were talking really fast and filling me in on all the details of the colt named Bob.

They gave me Bob’s pedigree. Information on who owned Bob, who owned Bob’s brothers and sisters. All the names of people were flooding at me, names I’d never heard and I was certain I would never hear again, but I tried to nod and look like I was taking it all in.

The mystery solved

Bob had been Amish (I don’t know if he was aware). He’d been sold to an English couple with kids and the previous night was Bob’s first away from his Amish home.

His new owners were not aware he was missing. The Mennonite van had stopped at the Amish house as they obviously also thought Bob was Amish. So the Amish couple started up the lawn mower / garden tractor and began their rescue search for Bob, whom they knew was in the possession of a bald English guy with a rope made from a towel.

While we were there the new English owners showed up. It turned out that Bob and I were almost home (Bob was apparently unaware of this).

Days later we went back and got pictures of Bob. The picture below shows Bob, my wife, and Bob’s new owner who is just old enough to talk and who named Bob, Bob.


David Arment is the owner of Arment Gallery & Gifts in Shipshewana, Indiana. 

Amish in the news

One “new” (and rather strange) story involving the Amish, and an update to one we’ve been following.

Septic tank criminal charges to be dismissed…and replaced by civil charges

Remember the case of the Minnesota Amish couple charged with building a home without a permit, due to objections over a required septic system? News this morning is that the criminal charges against Ammon and Sarah Swartzentruber will be dismissed.

Today was meant to be their trial date. Apparently, the Fillmore County attorney wants to pursue civil charges instead. The couple’s criminal attorney says that the civil charges make more sense. Sounds like a positive for the Swartzentrubers, though the issue remains.

An Amish buggy hit-and-run…but not what you’re thinking

Here’s one you don’t see every day: a hit-and-run accident involving a buggy. But not the way they usually work. According to this story, the buggy driver was the one who “ran”(!)

This odd story showed up right around Christmas, so you might not have noticed it if you are in the habit of monitoring the news feeds for Amish-related items like I am.

Details are short on the Lancaster Online website, but here is what happened on the Wednesday before Christmas:

The crash occurred at 1:15 p.m. at Yoder’s Country Market,14 S. Tower Road.

Debra Sensenig, 50, of Terre Hill, told police she struck the buggy after it cut in front of her and she was unable to stop.

She pulled over to look at damage to her vehicle but the horse and buggy fled.

Naturally, questions arise. The reader who passed the link along to me is also scratching his head. He writes:

Just with the given information, there seem to me to be so many things wrong with the story:

  • how did the buggy “cut-off” the car in such a way as to make a collision inevitable?
  • if the buggy indeed fled the scene, why couldn’t/didn’t the car driver pursue and catch it?
  • at that time of day in Yoder’s parking lot, how were there no witnesses to support the driver’s version of events, and/or to pursue the buggy?
  • if the metal-bodied car sustained a degree of damage that prevented it being driven, how much more damage would’ve been sustained by the wood and fiberglass buggy?

Two weeks later, no updates have been posted to my knowledge, so this one may remain a mystery.

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    1. Cute Story...

      Cute story about Bob the WonderPony…, although it makes me wonder why my photo trips never end up so interesting. 😉

      As to your hit-n-run questions, some possible answers that come to mind:

      Q: How did the buggy “cut-off” the car in such a way as to make a collision inevitable?
      A: Myself, I would think that (from the English driver’s perspective) it *more* likely to happen with a buggy than a fellow automobile. From the car driver’s frame of ref., the buggy coming into her lane is (relatively) slow motion. Where another auto could turn in front of her and be up to speed and out of the way, the much slower buggy covers that ground in a much longer period of time. A normally safe distance between turner and turned-in-front-of is closed in faster than anticipated time, giving the auto driver a greater sense of being cut-off. And not anticipating that time difference, a collision would seem inevitable.

      Q: If the buggy indeed fled the scene, why couldn’t/didn’t the car driver pursue and catch it?
      A: Wouldn’t that make the auto driver guilty of leaving the scene of an accident — which I have been taught (barring threat to life or limb) one should never do before the police show up?

      Q: At that time of day in Yoder’s parking lot, how were there (1) no witnesses to support the driver’s version of events, and/or (2) to pursue the buggy?
      A: (1) or to even recognize the horse and buggy — good question; (2) Haha…, this conjures up an image of Dudes of Hazzard ‘hot pursuit’ — horse-and-buggy style! 😉

      Q: If the metal bodied car sustained a degree of damage that prevented it being driven, how much more damage would’ve been sustained by the wood and fiberglass buggy?
      A: I don’t remember the details of the original post on this accident, but the summary above does not mention the nature or degree of damage to the auto. And I’m not so sure that “metal bodied” is all that accurate any more, what with plastic crush bumpers and under-carriage guards. Is it possible that being clipped (or fearing that she would be) the driver turned into another object, sideswiped a guardrail, or simply was not emotionally able to drive after the (relatively minor) ding (broken plastic crush bumper, scratched/dented light metal body, etc.) from contact with the buggy? Could any of this have even deployed the air bags?

      Or, of course, the gal could just be lying through her teeth.

      1. Whodunit?

        Don all interesting suggestions. It sounds like a parody story to read that an Amish buggy was the culprit in a hit-and-run.

        But your suggestions are reasonable. Even with something which sounds as minor as a parking lot accident, she may have been in a state of shock. Or if not from the accident, I think seeing the buggy “peel out” would cause my jaw to drop, were I in her shoes.

    2. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      I’m surprised the animal didn’t find its way back on its own to the original Amish owners.

      My father told me a tale about a horse that made its way back to its owners old farm (after either collectively being moved or being sold, I forget) wandering a long distance only to be found by the new owners of the horse’s old home. I know it amazed my Dad, staying in his memory over 70 years.

    3. I thoroughly enjoyed this story....

      Bob indeed was had quite an adventure. Maybe there will be an update and we will learn how an Amish pony adjusts to an English life! Thanks so much for posting this!

    4. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Was the pony shunned?

      1. Forest in North Carolina

        You’ll have to wait for the TV special to find out…

        1. Breaking Amish — Equestrian Edition


    5. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Good answer, Forest. 🙂 We both overlooked the obvious, though — Bob was clearly on his “Rumspringa.”

      1. Of course, no doubt you are correct. But how long does Rumspringa typically last for a pony colt?

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          Well, according to popular fiction, and of course we would not think to question that, Bob likely started his Rumspringa year at 16 and has the rest of the year to decide if he wants to be an Amish pony or not. He does look rather young to be running around, though… Maybe it varies from herd to herd?

          1. Jonathan Edwards

            Keeping this on the topic of identity...

            Holmes County Mark,

            While we’re discussing the identity/names/labels…are you by any chance from the New New Order/New Order Christian Fellowship/Aden Leut?

            1. Mark - Holmes Co.

              None of the above. I’m Old Order. Some would call us “Soud Leut.”

            2. Mark - Holmes Co.

              Reread question: Thought it was “New Order” then Christian Fellowship/ Aden Leut. The three labels you used all apply to the same group. You missed one name, though “New and Improved New Order.” 🙂

        2. Isn't the answer obvious....?

          “But how long does Rumspringa typically last for a pony colt?”

          It’s only a little bit!

          And clearly his owner thought that Bob had spent too much time on Rumspringa ’cause when Bob returned he told him, “It pasture time.” 😉

    6. Alice Mary


      …what was Bob’s Amish name?

      Alice Mary

      1. “Bob” is the last name I would come up with for a pony colt. Nothing against the Bobs out there, but “Bob” is the name of my uncle or my accountant, not a cute little animal like this guy. But I love it. It’s a mismatch that fits. Good naming job, little two-year-old man.

        I suspect what Bob’s Amish name was shall remain a mystery, unless David is able to do some further investigative reporting. In the meantime, any guesses? 🙂

    7. Carolyn B

      Erik, thanks for having David contribute this story on Bob. Delightful! I vote for any follow-up stories too. 🙂

    8. LOL Great story and great comments.. Thanks Guys.. I needed these laughs today! 😀

      The hit & run horse could have been a runaway… If it was already bolting before it “hit” the car that would very easily explain why a horse & buggy would cut someone off..
      A runaway horse is insane.. I’ve been on a few in my life.. trust me.. I know what I speak of. 😉 That would also explain why the horse didnt stop… perhaps they werent in control of the beast..

      As to damage or no one seeing it… who knows.. You know the Amish like to keep to themselves… so if something like this DID happen.. and a few people knew of it.. would they offer the information to the law?

      And maybe it would depend on who it was, no matter if they were Amish or not.. I know there are many people out there who talking to the law is the last thing they’d be doing.. believing there is nothing in it for them.. Not everyone (like your readers) are awesome, caring individuals..

      As for damage done.. who knows.. I like the plastic car theory… Are the buggies on a metal frame at all? Stranger things have happened.. I never say never.. 😀

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        Very true about a runaway horse! I think the whole story sounds fishy, though… Somehow it just doesn’t sound believable.

        1. Forest in North Carolina

          Similar to the report I heard one time back home about a fellow who hit a bulldozer that “darted out in front of him”

          My grandfather was almost killed with a runaway team when he was a young man, so I know it can be dangerous…. I have to agree with Mark, tho’, it does sound a bit shaky.