Horses KNOW when something bad happens. They also associate bad things with something they see/smell. During a severe thunderstorm several years ago, a bolt of lightning struck a 10 year old grey arabian mare, my favorite riding companion. The rest of the herd bolted from the front pasture where they were gathered together and into the back pasture. Their hoof prints had dug deep into the muddy hill leaving distinct takeoff points only 15 or so feet away from Beauty's lifeless body. After that, the herd was leary of the front pasture as well as thunderstorms for the next few years.
My oldest sister had a scary accident on the highway while pulling her mares in a trailer. The electric brakes failed when she tried to use them to stop the trailer from fish tailing. Right then, the trailer actually caused a series of events that happened lightning fast. Ending with her trailer on the side and her brand new Toyota 4-runner totaled by the time they came to a stop. Her horses were pulled from the trailer after the rescuers used the jaws of life to open the trailer. The vet said that it was the first time in 15 years that he had horses live through that kind of accident. While the horses suffered only minor injuries (no humans were hurt), they associated the traumatic experience with the big red trucks that they saw while laying on their sides, getting pulled from the trailer. For many years the mares, especially the older one, would get very tense when she saw big red trucks.
I hope your other horses recover from their trauma soon. I am also so glad that it wasn't worse than it could have been.
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