My horse is not mean. He is not aggressive. He doesn't have any nasty vices like kicking, biting, bucking or rearing. I've had toddlers on him and leading him around the barn (supervised of course). I trust this horse 110% with me when I ride him. I trust him with intermediate beginners too.
But EVERY horse has bad days. I knew yesterday was one when I brought him in and he was acting edgy... not bad but he was dancing a little more than usual and when I had him standing in the barn he got to pawing and pawing and pawing (something he doesn't typically do). So I knew Nikki was having a bad day. I initially saddled him up and he felt "wrong" ... I can't even put my finger on exactly what it was. I decided to leave him in the barn with some hay for a few minutes to see if he would settle down on his own.
The barn I board at is a dude ranch. There are other animals on the property too, including a sheep and her two lambs (both around 5 weeks old). The way the barn is set up, to bring the sheep outside you have to go by the horses which are tied on either side of the barn aisle. There was only my horse in the barn at the time and while he was fussing, he's never been a danger to anyone before.
The sheep were initially all the way out of the barn when one of the lambs ran back in. I didn't see it happen, I just heard a sound like a gunshot. We ran in the barn to see my horse, still fussing, and the baby lamb about five feet from him against a wall, bleeding from the nose and with his eye popped out of his socket, unconscious. All efforts were made to save the little lamb, but in the end it was decided that the kindest thing for it was to put it down.
Which brings me to the point of this story. ALL horses can be deadly. I have never thought of my horse as a killer, and in actuality it wasn't something that can be blamed on him. How can you fault a horse for following his instincts?
No matter how gentle or sweet a horse is, ALWAYS practice safe handling skills and teach young children safety in the barn... because honestly the first thing that came to my mind was what if that lamb had been a small child?
I never thought of my horse as a killer, but EVERY horse has the capability to be one.