Hypothetical Horse Help
So, I need some hypothetical horse health help.
I’m writing a novel (well, a series). I’ll give you the bare bones of the plot (please, no critique- I’m only giving you part of the story here, so don’t presume to know whether or not the story is good) so you know what’s going on. Sam, the main character, has a great life. Friends, horses, fun, what could be better? Things couldn’t be better until her cousin Carly comes to stay with her. The girls have never been enemies, but they’ve never been close (imagine moving in with someone you haven’t talked to in three years), but eventually Sam’s passion for riding draws carly in and they start to bond over this common interest. Yada yada, plot progresses, characters develop, etc. Eventually Sam goes away for a weekend and assumes her trainer will be taking care of her horse (which, he will). Carly, thinking she’ll help out Mr. Trainer (who is very busy) and Sam, decides to work Sam’s horse for her one of the evenings she is gone.
This is where you guys come in. This is going to sound a bit blunt but…I need a way to kill this horse. Its not that I want to kill Sam’s horse- he is her best friend, her confidant, the one who’s there for it all and he’s wrenched away without giving her a chance to say goodbye. But in order for the plot to move along, this needs to happen.
His death creates an irrevocable divide between the cousins- Carly feeling awful about what happened, Sam ignoring her completely and emotionally shutting down. In Sam’s shut down state she finds a cruelty case online and devotes herself to rescuing the horse involved. Hell hath no fury like Sam on a mission and she works tirelessly to save this abused horse. In devoting herself to his rescue and rehabilitation she blocks out all the pain and sadness she never faced after her horses death, but I wont go any farther than that and spoil how things continue after that. ;]
So essentially this horses death opens the plot up to where it needs to go and clears the way for the next horse in Sam’s life, who will affect her far more than she could ever guess when she rescues him.
Now I ask you- how can I do this? I’d like to rule out colic right now. Colic is something that’s not always preventable, and frankly, this needs to be Carly’s fault.
I’m thinking something more along the lines of an accident with extreme repercussions- something so serious that euthanasia is required. I know when a horse’s leg breaks that euthanasia is usually the answer because it’s just not feasible for them to heal properly. Now what sort of situation can I put Carly and the horse in which would lead to something like this?
Here’s a scenario I was thinking of:
Carly has learned how to lunge, and she knows Sam occasionally free-jumps Nosferatu as exercise. Carly assumes free jumping involves the horse still attached to the lunge line (which, on occasion I guess, depending on the case, it does. Just not at these heights) and wants to help Sam out by keeping Nosferatu in shape. It’s a mistake anyone who’s not entirely integrated with the horse world and its ins and outs could make, right? So she free jumps N with a lunge line, she doesn’t hold the line high enough and the slack gets caught on the jump standard which goes down, dragging N with it. The awkward angle of the fall causes N to break a leg (or something else) and the damage is done- they have no choice but to put him to sleep.
Mostly the same scenario- Carly decides to free jump N. In setting up jumps (just the way she’s seen Sam do it, same heights, and same spreads) she makes another beginner mistake- she makes the jumps solid (not solid, but secure enough so that they wont fall down if an emergency arose. Something someone who had only been taking English flat lessons could easily do if their only introduction into the world of jumping was watching their cousin). She fee jumps him (sans lunge line) and he knocks a rail. However, since the jumps are secured together, the poles don’t simply fall. The whole jump comes down, N tangled up in it, same ending as above.
Do those sound realistic? What particular injuries would most likely result from accidents like these? Feel free to chip in ideas guys- it doesn’t have to be limited to the above scenarios. If you’ve got an idea, feel free to inspire me! Any information you can give me is much appreciated.
The Adventures of a One-Eyed TB and an Ambitious Redhead