Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deer hunters and horse owners and sorrowful accidents

From the Aiken Standard

The Aiken Standard ran an article yesterday about a dressage horse that was inadverdently shot and killed by a hunter.The owner heard a shot and ran out to find Oree, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, breathing hard, and with obvious evidence of trauma on one side of his body. The hunter, who claimed that he was aiming at a buck when he hit the horse, was charged with animal cruelty.

My condolences to the owner, Lisa. And while normally I would not wish ill things  on other people, I hope the hunter is aware of the pain and loss he has caused--frankly I hope he feels awful. Someone deserves to feel awful about this, accident or not.  Shooting near someone's home requires vigilance, and this person sounds careless.

I can, and do, imagine the grief and fear and helplessness this owner must have felt. Even if you are not sympathetic to animals, it's easy to see that if you're near enough to a farm to shoot a horse you are near enough to shoot a human. Of course, this sort of thing happens regularly, I only found out about it because it was posted on the Chronicle's Dressage forum.

While we're on the subject pet loss
This afternoon I was reading on the Chronicle Forums about a family that lost a pet due to an accident -- no details, and I think we can assume it was an awful thing to witness, and the husband was directly or indirectly the cause of the accident. The woman (wife/mom) who posted seemed to be experiencing post-traumatic stress, and the husband and wife are in therapy now. This couple is living my worst nightmare and I hope they find relief soon.


  1. This is one of the reasons my Boys have bright orange sheets.--but too warm for them this year, so far.

    The hunters always scare me. Two years ago, I had a hunter's blind about 100' off my property line--from my arena, with the shooting opening facing my pasture. Fish and Game assured me it was legal and safe, especially since it was apparently from a bow hunter. Yeah, right.....

    I used to board at a barn where you could hear the shotgun pellets land on the barn roof. And once, on a trail ride, I had some hunters shoot right along the roadway where we were riding.

    All it takes is one mistake...*shiver*

  2. Shortly after I moved to my current home, there were two incidents of dogs being poisoned, dogs on either side of a home owned by a cranky old man.

    The sheriff deputies called out to investigate didn't show much concern, with statements like, "It's just a dog."

    The dogs in question belonged to the CHILDREN WHO LIVED THERE, and it could very easily have been a child that ate whatever it was that killed the dogs.

    Very scary, and very sorrowful indeed.

  3. This is one of my worst nightmares. I have been at several stables where you can hear hunters shooting--somestimes very closely. I once saw Mimsie fall off a balcony and break her leg. I cried as I took her to the vet and feel guilt and awful even today--even though I had nothing to do with the accident.
    As an aside, please be aware that you can get the vet to prescibe pain killers for your pet. Often they will not think to do it until you prompt them. However, you may have to keep the pet confined so she doesn't overdo any activities.

  4. I cannot even imagine this. I am thinking about braiding orange ribbon into a lock of my horses' manes and into their tails. We're way out in the country and there is a lot of hunting land around us. It is entirely possible for a hunter to make that tragic mistake, even if he is responsible. If the deer moves and the shot is already fired ... a lot can happen. If that hunter was not being responsible ... then I do hope this weighs on his conscience. That horse was someone's best friend and family.

  5. I guess it would be entirely possible for a deer to move once the shot is fired ... and the hunter to not be aware what was behind it. A bullet can travel a good distance and still kill.

    I'm thinking about braiding orange ribbon into the manes and tails of my beasties. The mare is "deer colored" ... and 14hh ... I guess she could be mistaken as a target.

    Though, if someone shot onto my property, you BET momma would be fire mad and on the warpath!!!

  6. We cringe every year during hunting season. Our next-door neighbors hunt and allow guests to hunt next to our pasture. We used to get dove shot raining down on our roof every year. All it takes is one drunken yokel, and the more drunken and yokel-ish, the more likely to shoot on someone else's property.

  7. We had a horse shot by road hunters while she was in a paddock next to the barn and it was broad daylight. I was standing about 15 feet from her, repairing a fence. She had a few pellets in her rump; I was uninjured but furious. The hunter was cited and turned out to be intoxicated. Ya think?

    I just don't trust them to follow the rules, and althgough our property is clearly posted, we have to ask hunters to leave every year.

  8. This "accident" is a load of cr*p. I hope the poor lady who owned that beautiful BLACK-AND-WHITE horse sues that clown within an inch of his life! He should not have been shooting in the direction of her property, period, even if there supposedly was a deer in the way.

  9. That is very sad. And the article said the deer stand he was shooting from was "some yards" from the horse owner's property. Yards? That doesn't sound far enough away. Doesn't sound like an accident to me. That horse looks nothing like a deer and looks like it would be pretty visible if the guy was just "some yards" away.

    I was teased in September for wearing a blaze orange vest on a trail ride because it was "only bow season". I'd rather err on the side of caution. I know some very responsible hunters, but it just takes one over-zealous shooter to create a tragedy.

    I feel very sorry for the horse and his owner.

  10. I live near the beach in southern New England and our salt marsh comes alive with duck hunters every fall. The noise of their early morning guns is deafening. They set up their blinds a few feet from roads where kids are walking and riding bikes to school or waiting for the bus. It's only a matter of time before ...

  11. From Biz:

    Biz has left a new comment on your post "And going left, Part 2 Nov. 27 footage":

    I have a training horse that also has a tendency to be stiff going left. A technique I have used successfully is to lift my inside rein a bit while keeping my outside hand steady and level. I then use my inside leg at the girth to ask for bend and my outside leg back to hold the haunches on the circle.

    Riley really is a stunning horse and he looks very happy in his work. Nice job :-)


    I think about this every year...hoping palomino and grey are deterrent enough...but always worry for my dark bay old geezer boy. Might look for orange yarn tomorrow. :(

  13. I get lots of horse-stuff catalogs and always laugh and shake my head at the "sleezy" type garments and the fanciful blanket patterns for horses in turnout. I realize, however, that these items aren't aimed at the 10-year-old that wants to dress up her pony. The bright colors and patterns are as effective as a bright orange hunter vest you wear when you're working outside during hunting season or you're out for a hike in the woods.


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