Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tale of a barn trauma: Part 1

Well, this weekend I learned something important about horses. The bad news is, it involved a trauma. The good news is, the story has a happy ending. I promise you nothing about this event has been embellished for dramatic effect. It was plenty dramatic.

The story begins...
Saturday afternoon was a gorgeous warm day, and Bob and I were visiting a a barn to watch a friend's lesson. As we stood ringside, a young girl came running to the outdoor ring, telling us breathlessly that one of the horses (named Batik) was caught up in the pasture gate. We followed the trainer out, and I grabbed a nearby lunge line thinking he might be caught under the fenceline.

It doesn't look good
What we found was not a pretty sight. Whether he had pawed at the gate or reared near it, Batik's right hoof had slid through the chain that secured the gate to the fencepost. He had fallen and was lying on his side with his leg caught up in the chain which twisted around his pastern. He was not moving, he was groaning, and his eyes were rolling back in his head.

That damned chain was thick, but it was weathered/old. A husband of one of the boarders, Pete, was the hero of the day. He ran out with some random tools from his car trunk. Within a few minutes, he pried apart one of the chain links with a SCREWDRIVER and something goofy like a butter knife. With his hoof freed, Batik's front end dropped to the ground.

A wretched state
Batik was now lying on his side, immobile, legs sticking out, hooves pointed. He groaned more or less continously. Someone tried to bend his legs, but they were rigid. With horror I thought it's like he's already dead. The other geldings in the field were agitated and upset. A few of us caught them and took them to the barn. Frankly I was glad to get away from that sight. Bob and I walked together. Bob whispered that things didn't look good. "I don't think he'll ever get up," I told him quietly. I felt sure his back was injured. I did not go back to that pasture.

We started helping with barn chores that had been left undone in the panic. People coming and going kept us up to date. The vet was called. The owner was called. The owner arrived first, and I tried not to think what she was feeling as she drove to the gate. Within 45 minutes we got word that the vet had arrived. By now it was dusk.

Stay tuned for Part II.


  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

    (thanks for telling ahead of time that there's a happy ending, but still, the suspense...!)

  2. Stay tuned??? Argh! I used all my patience on a 2 yr old stallion this morning! I can't wait!

  3. How awful! I hope the horse's back is OK. I can't imagine being the owner and receiving that call.

  4. Oh my goodness! The suspense is killing me! Thank you for saying it is a happy ending or I'd be freaking out now.

  5. I agree...thanks for the happy ending spoiler at the beginning.

    If there is a place to get hurt, a horse will eventually find it. This is a new one for me and darn scary.

    Trying not to hold my breath for the next episode.

  6. It's absolutely incredible what horses can get themselves into! What a terrible sight that must have been.

    I'd imagine a torn acl - but horses don't have those, do they?

  7. You're lucky you said it ends well, or I would have walked over to your office and punched you for leaving us with a cliffhanger after all that!

  8. Oh come on! :D
    My nervous system can't take this kind of imagery without the resolve!
    Part 2 had better be coming pronto!
    And - yes, thank you for the happy ending spoiler!

  9. Hyperventilating over here.
    That poor poor horse and owner. All of you, really, who had to see it.

    Bless you for the spoiler.

  10. What a sickening feeling. I'm glad there was a happy ending. Those kinds of stories make my stomach turn....brings back too many memories of horse accidents!


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