By Pete Soyer
A teenager acted quickly and rescued a friend whose horse, spooked by a rattlesnake, had bucked him off, leaving him hanging from a stirrup.
"I knew his arm was broken because it made noises when I was pulling him from his horse," Kody Tolliver said. "Kaleb had tears in his eyes, but he wasn't really crying. He was holding his shoulder."
The incident happened when Kaleb Fisher, 7, and Tolliver, 14, were riding near the ranch of Fisher's parents, Doug and Karla Fisher, north of Havre.
Tolliver, an eighth-grader at East Middle School in Great Falls, said Kaleb's brother, Karl, had saddled some horses and the three started out for a ride. Karl, who goes by the nickname "K.P." returned home to fix his horse's tackle but told his brother and Tolliver to keep going.
"We went up this road, by this house and there's supposed to be a lot of rattlesnakes around it so we went a different way," Tolliver said.
When the two were about half-mile from the Fishers' house, Tolliver saw a rattlesnake on the road they were on.
"The snake had its head up and was rattling," he said. "I was in front of Kaleb and... I jumped off my horse and threw a rock at the snake. The horse was getting really spooked."
Tolliver said he hit the rattlesnake and the snake's "belly was sticking up and I thought I had killed it."
Kaleb's horse spooked again and bucked him off. His foot got stuck in the stirrup and he was hanging upside down with his head on the ground, Tolliver said.
"I ran to Kaleb and grabbed him and the horse's reins and pulled Kaleb free of the horse," Tolliver said.
Kaleb's horse ran back toward home.
Tolliver said Kaleb's eyes were swollen, he had a gash on his forehead.
Tolliver put Kaleb on his horse and began walking the horse back toward the Fisher home. K.P. came riding up on Kaleb's horse wanting to know what happened, Tolliver said. After Tolliver told him, K.P. rode back to the house and told his parents.
"They loaded Kaleb into a vehicle and raced him to the hospital," Tolliver said.
Kaleb suffered a broken arm, a concussion and a fractured cheek, his mother, Karla Fisher, said.
Tolliver stayed with Kaleb until about 11 p.m. that night, but had to leave for a wrestling tournament in Fargo, N.D., the next day.
Tolliver said he has known Kaleb and the Fisher family for a long time. "They've been a really close wrestling family," he said.
Tolliver said he feels partly responsible for what happened. If he had done everything right, he said, Fisher wouldn't have been injured.
"I should have told Kaleb to get off his horse before trying to kill the snake, or we could have left the snake alone," he said.
The two boys haven't seen each other or spoken since the accident July 19, but Tolliver said Kaleb might be going to Great Falls and they are still friends.