Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blink of an eye

I was making coffee this morning when I heard a tremendous crash, like a horse double-barrelling a metal gate or something. I ran out to see if it was Dixie, and she'd left her morning hay and was trotting toward the back fence very alertly. I ran far enough in the pasture to get a good view of everything and my heart about stopped. The neighbor's old skinny horse was down, awkwardly on his side, with a fucking hog panel wrapped around his legs.

I had a brief moment of panic. I couldn't remember the neighbor's names and I didn't want to take the time to get the truck, drive around the block, and bang on their door. I didn't want to leap into their pasture and spook the old fellow. After a moment, I remembered I had her cell number listed in my phone. I decided surely I'd know it when I saw it and bolted back to the house for my phone. YES! I did, in fact, remember exactly who it was when I saw it. I called and left a message and went back outside.

Armed with her name, I stood in my pasture and bellowed at the top of my lungs "D! Your horse is down in the fence!" She popped right out, half-dressed, took one look, and said "Be right there." I hustled up to my fence, turned it off, and slipped through my electric. I said reassuring nonsense to the old fellow. Thank god for old horses who know when you're trying to help. Once she came out, I stepped over her fence and met her at him.

Somehow he had slipped his rear right leg through the hog panel, up over the hock. He was laying on his left side, looking fairly panicked. D was trying to figure out how to cut the panel off, but I thought if he cooperated I could just slip it back off his leg. She stood at his head and kept him calm, and I carefully manipulated his leg and the panel and slipped it off.

I won't lie, I was terrified. If he'd freaked out and started thrashing it would've been very bad for all three of us. I don't like handling other people's horses, and I don't like trying to untrap horses, but it needed to be done. He stayed calm while I got his leg free and dragged the panel back, and he stood up promptly on all four legs.

He's limping on two legs - front left and rear right, IIRC - but he's weight bearing. I know she doesn't have the money for a vet. I gave her some Bute for him and suggested buting him for two days and if anything swells cold hosing it.

Their fencing is a disaster, and they've been really lucky so far. I have also kept horses behind disastrous fences. Never again, now that I've learned just how easy it is to pop up some hotwire. For $200 you can put up a couple rows of highly visible hottape or polywire to keep your horse off the shitty fencing you can't afford to replace. It's cheaper than a vet.

Lecture over! Look, I did brush Dixie's mane yesterday.

So much lovely fluffy hair.

I also got four tons of hay delivered.

And here is Bambers. Note how there is not a single flicker of intelligence in that eye. He is crazier than a shithouse rat, but he's my buddy anyway. :)


  1. All that stuff you said: right on.

    Can my heart stop POUNDING now, please?

  2. I am absolutely with you on the hot wire! Only way to go if you can't replace a bad fence.

    What a wondrous main. Very pretty!


  3. That's very scary - I've seen horses get tangled in those big metal hay feeders as well. Bad fencing = too much risk.

  4. That horse was so lucky that you were there to react. Did the owner not hear the crash? Poor thing. Poor thing as well due to being skinny. Here's hoping the lameness passes.

    Every time I see horses kept behind the fencing that deformed Gene's foot I wince. I was considering boarding at a place with that fencing, with great misgivingings, but then remembering the story of my horse caught in a fence all night was enough to make me pass.

    Is fencing really that hard?

  5. Sara, she just hadn't gone out to look yet. I might not have investigated any further but Dixie... there was something Seriously Wrong in her world and she was Looking At It in capital letters. She very clearly told me about it.

    I try not to throw stones. They rent, so they don't have much incentive to improve the fences. They don't have much money - she was getting ready for a job interview, actually. And the longer your horses live behind awful fences and get away with it, the more you think "oh they're too smart to get hurt." The old chestnut is quite thin, but the younger bay is a healthy (under-muscled) weight. The world isn't a perfect place, and it's better than going to the auction. :-/

    I do hope they fix their fences, I really do.

  6. In the blink of an eye is right - thank goodness you heard the noise and acted quickly. I hope the owner is able to improve the fencing to help ensure the horse's safety.

    Dixie's mane looks beautiful.

  7. You are now the skinny old guy's guardian angel. Good for you!

    I always wish that nothing rotten ever befalls my mare. But, I'm a realist and I think that the best I can really hope for is that (since I board off my property) if something does happen there's someone around who cares enough to Do The Right Thing.

    Like you did for the skinny old guy. Huzzah!

  8. I'm so glad you were there for the old guy and reacted quickly. What a lucky boy he is to have you as a neighbor. I'm glad it all turned out OK and I sure hope he's fine in a day or two.

    Dixie's mane is gorgeous, and so is all that hay in your barn. My stockpile is getting low and my supplier is 2000 bales behind - I'm on the list, but I'm getting nervous...

  9. I'm cackling so much over your description of your cat that I totally got over my anxiety about the horse stuck in the fence.

    Good show!

  10. It is so tempting to want to pass judgement on people who don't keep horses up to the standards we would all wish. But I agree with you that it is better than them going to an auction, and better than a lot of other horses (and people and other animals) live. So glad the horse stayed calm and you were able to help. Sadly, even when you provide the best of everything they STILL manage to hurt themselves!!

  11. I absolutely cringe when I think about anything happening to my horse. Thank God for Dixie. And you. They sound like they love their horses, but fall into the camp you have mentioned.

    Her mane looks amazing. I have a polo pony (not really a pony - 15"1) but I have always been interested in TWH. What does that rack feel like? Mine's canter is so amazing I can only imagine how great a rack must feel. I adore reading your blog by the way.

  12. It's so scary how fast things can go wrong. Getting them out of fences is never easy or fun. Glad nobody seems to be seriously hurt. And I agree... hot tape fixes a LOT of issues that would be expensive to resolve otherwise.

  13. Yikes... I'm glad the poor guy is doing okay considering. Nothing gets my heart racing quite like an incident with a trapped horse.

    All I need is a pair of scissors and 20 minutes and we can make Dixie's mane even more gorgeous than it is! LOL! Just kidding!! :)

    Oh, and I can smell the hay from here... yummy.

  14. The stuff of nightmares! Dixie is a hero. And she has a super hero mane.

  15. Crapola! You did good Fund!You are the stuff good neighbors are made of...them-the other stuffs.... Yes..your rant is worth the words of noting- how easy it is to keep em safe-good on ya!

    Oh Dixies mane is bea-U-tiful! She looks great and your matter how insane is an adorable lover!


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