We had a very scary incident happen this past weekend and I'm sharing it with other parents to remind you to keep your guard up.

We went to Bristol, VA for a horseshow on Saturday. We arrived Friday nght and spent the night at a hotel and then went to the arena on Saturday morning about 8 am. It was out in the middle of nowhere.

So when we drove up, I reminded the kids not to wander off or go to the bathroom themselves, etc, etc.

About fifteen minutes or so after we arrived, Jane (who is 8 years old and weighs less than 50 lbs) left the arena to go to the car and get her boots. I did not realize this and was busy saddling up her pony, etc. So a few minutes later her trainer, Susan comes walking over carrying Jane, and Jane was just sobbing quietly in her shoulder and shaking. Susan had apparently encountered Jane when she ran back into the arena saying that man in the parking lot had approached her and tried to call her over and get her to climb on a four wheeler he was driving. Wisely, she turned and ran as fast as she could back into the arena.

She was VERY shaken up. Whatever this guy's motives, he set off all her instinctual alarm bells. She was just really frightened. I called the police and had the arena management announce to all the other parents there what had happened, which they did not want to do. I insisted. Jane described the guy as having long blond hair and a cowboy hat. He was smoking and driving a four wheeler, which she said she saw come up to the arena off the road.

So the police arrived and were just wonderful. They talked to Jane for a long time and told her that she did exactly the right thing and that they were very proud of her. Then they went looking for the guy. Amazingly, he was still driving his four wheeler around the area. He immediately admitted approaching and talking to Jane but he claimed he was trying to shoo her out of the parking lot. The police said he was definitely lying - that he was shifty and strange and defensive. Obviously they couldn't arrest him because he hadn't committed a crime, but they told him to stay away from the arena.

Then they came back to tell me they found him and while they were there, another parent came fwd and told them that he had approached their child in the parking lot as well. The police told us that he was definitely up to no good - that he might have wanted to snatch Jane but more likely would have just exposed himself or something. They told us to tell all the parents we saw to watch out for him. They took an incident report and said that since that is a very rural area, they would let all the police officers know to keep an eye on the guy.

Jane was very shaken up but I think she felt validated that no one tried to tell her that it was nothing or that she didn't need to be frightened. Everyone told her how smart she was to just turn and run and not agree to go closer to the guy. She didn't ride quite as well as
usual, although she won a number of ribbons. But you could tell she felt rattled.

I was too. It was really upsetting. If I saw this man, I swear to you that I would be likely to physically attack him. I know this probably would not be a good idea but seriously, I don't think I could stop myself. And he would come out the loser, I can assure you.