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[RC] Advice on Mountain Lions - Jody Rogers-Buttram

Ok ridecampers from out west:
 Joni and I have been going to the local National Forest, Bankhead to ride for years.  It is part of the lower Appalation moutain range.  Normally, we ride during the day, but this year with all the wet weather, and now grass being mowed for hay, Joel won't let us ride at home so we are hauling up in the late evening to ride the forest trails.  Yesterday was the third day to do this.  I had noticed, that the forest tends to come "alive" in the late evening.  So, yesterday, we were riding, and had separated.  Joni took Storme and was doing an extra loop, while I did some training on my young one.  I had doubled back to meet Joni on the trail when she was finishing up her loop.  All of a sudden, a deer came streaking across in front of me.  I thought, "Gee, your in a hurry".  So, I walked on around the curve, and then I could hear Joni and Storme coming down the side of the hollow across from me.  I sat and waited, then I could see Joni at the bottom of the hill, she came blowing up the hill and didnt' slow down, just stared at me with wide eyes and Yelled, "run, it's a bobcat !".  So, I fell in behind, and began telling her to trot, that a little ole bobcat couldnt' get us.  She then tells me that it was mad. I asked, "how do you know it was mad"....she answered, "Because he wrung his tail at me".  WHOA..TAIL????  Bobcats don't have tails.  I had her decribe what she saw, it was a mountain lion.  She said it had a tail about 3-4 feet long, was as tall as a German Shepard dog and was tan.  And she said it had a thick round tail and great big feet, and it looked at her with yellow-green eyes with the face of a female lion.  That is a mountain lion/cougar.   I think we must have interrupted it's hunt of deer for super.
So, will these things attack a horse and rider?  We have decided not to ride alone up there in the late evening....we'll stick together.   Is there something that you should or shouldn't do when seeing one???
We are use to dealing with nasty snakes....but not big cats.  BTW...in the last year, there have been many farmers that live at the base of the forest that have had their goats eatten, and one had a horse killed by something large with claws.