Hypothetical Horse Help

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Hypothetical Horse Help

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  • Stable routine for a hypothetical horse

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    01-19-2010, 09:37 PM
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.

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    01-19-2010, 10:23 PM
Does Carly ride? You could also have her riding the horse, decides to take him out, he spooks, Carly falls off, and the horse runs into the road and gets hit by a truck.... Or runs through a cattle guard and breaks both his front legs.
    01-19-2010, 10:30 PM
Carly rides, but at this point in the story she's only been riding basic english w-t-c lessons for a few months. Sam is a much more advanced rider who's been riding consistently since she was a very young girl, so Nosferatu is a horse for a more advanced rider. I don't think carly would have the nerve to get up on N, and sam's sortof laid down the law about that. She's never explicitly said "don't you even think about riding my horse" but she's defintely thought about saying and she's hinted that Carly and N would not be a good pair, and Carly picks up on that. She respects Sam's wishes as far as that goes. [Thanks for the idea though. Its a thought to keep on the backburner if nothing else]
    01-19-2010, 10:41 PM
Hrm... I don't know enough about free jumping, but I would think any major fall like what you're talking about would result in scrapes, contussions, and possibly a broken limb.

Or Carly could be leading the horse, he freaks out, gets away from her, runs back the the barn, slips and slices his legs severly on something. Like cuts the superficial digital flexor tendon, deep digital flexor tendon, and suspensory ligament in a hind leg. I think that's what happened to an eventing horse (Theodore O'Connor) recently.
    01-19-2010, 10:44 PM
Oooo... Or Carly works the horse and everything goes fine. But after she puts him away she gives him a huge amount of grain (because she misunderstood how much Sam said to give him) he develops severe laminitis, P3 is protruding, and he cannot be saved so they put him down. Not sure if that would be quick enough though, but that would be a very newbie mistake.
    01-19-2010, 11:01 PM
The grain idea is a good one, but I definetly don't think it would be quick enough.

The slip and slice one is food for thought...The thing is though, that is an understandable accident. This is forgivable- things happen, horses spook. It wouldnt be that unusual for Carly to lead N, she's done it before. Its something routine that Sam would trust her with. Actually exercising or riding N, that's more of a different story. That (to Sam) is a clear stepping over boundaries. In her opinion, Carly had no place doing what she was doing and thus Nosferatu's death is entirely her fault. This is what make's Sam's reaction so extreme.
    01-19-2010, 11:36 PM
What if you have Carly in a situation that isn't the result of a beginner horseperson directly. I'm not sure how your story goes, but what if a wild stallion that someone was training at the barn gets loose, and carly, in an attemp to help, goes off after this on sam's horse. Like if she was the only one there in the middle of this or something??
    01-19-2010, 11:50 PM
Perhaps, she lunged him well and correctly and she is leading him back to his stable whilst she is eating an icy pole and she is offereed a free lesson. So she puts him in his stall, drops the wrapper in there too, and gives him too much grain. He colics and her parents can't afford the surgery so he is put down all because of her eagerness to ride, and her not paying attention to what she was doing.

Or she gets offered a free lesson or gets distracted or something, and she puts him in the wrong paddock. EG, the paddock has just been slashed and fertilized and he ingests it and dies from it, or he gets put into a weed filled paddock and dies from it.
    01-20-2010, 03:00 AM
Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes    
Does Carly ride? You could also have her riding the horse, decides to take him out, he spooks, Carly falls off, and the horse runs into the road and gets hit by a truck.... Or runs through a cattle guard and breaks both his front legs.
The horse getting hit by a truck was used in....what was that book? The girl's horse's name is Gulliver...he doesn't die, but his girl does and he becomes really bitter and violent. It might have been Horse Whisperer.

The lunging or free jump idea I think makes the most dramatic sense, and the horse could very easily land crooked and snap an ankle from being tangled up...or even break his back depending on violently he lands. That happens in rodeo sometimes, the horse goes up but lands wrong, and breaks their neck/back from the impact.
    01-20-2010, 08:35 AM
^^Yes it was used in Horse Whisperer. I've heard the cattle guard thing before too. I was just running through the things I've heard about in books, movies, and life. My friends horse just jumped the fence yesterday and almost got killed on the highway so it was fresh in my mind.

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