Strange attack? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Strange attack?

Our farm is located on 40 acres surrounded by woods, and has quite a bit of woods on it, so its normal for us to see possums, snakes, bobcats, coyotes, etc- but they've rarely bothered us. About 5 years ago we did have a newborn foal that we didnt get to into that was killed by a pack of coyotes, but that's about it.

Well yesterday I went out to feed our full sized horses (there are 10 of them together right now on 14 acres) and I noticed our arabian mare, Xcia come limping up behind everyone else. She had two rows of large gashes on her back and over her butt, down to the tailhead. I caught her and brought her up front, and realized that it was deep scratches. We called the vet out and had her doctored up, two scratches were deep enough that it tore into muscle and had to be sutured, but most were superficial. She has an ointment to use, bute, and was administered some antibiotics for infection so she'll most likely be fine, but it made me wonder.

The BO, vet, and I think that it was probably a bobcat, since one has been lurking around here for the past year and has been looking very thin due to lower small animal population (its forever trying to get into our chicken coop along with the coyotes) but...why would it attack Xcia, a 14.3hh 900+ pound mare? And especially in a herd setting? I could see if it had no other choice, but we have an entire pasture of miniature horses, including a dwarf and a three month old foal, just across the creek. Why wouldnt it go after those? O.o

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post #2 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 07:37 PM
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Wow. I would be asking around to see if there have been any other attacks.
Surprised like you that it would choose the large mare! I see bobcats all the time, they are relatively small. Unless the mare spooked it and it was a mother defending her litter I can hardly think one would go for large prey intentionally.
Possibly a Mountain lion, have you had reports of any even remotely in your area?

Poor girl! Hope she heals quickly!
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post #3 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 07:48 PM
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sounds more like a mountain lion to me....i would ask around see if anybody else had heard of another attack.

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post #4 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 08:04 PM
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Ditto on the mountain lion.

My mom's neighbor had a horse that was attacked by a cougar. The beast chased the horse through the fence and around the neighborhood. They found the horse the next morning, dead, lodged between 2 trees at the back of my mom's property without even a mark on him and cougar tracks everywhere. They had to cut the trees to get him out. Its supposed that the horse actually died of a heart attack from the fear of being stuck as well as the cougar nearby. The cougar probably though something was wrong with the horse and left it alone after that. Noone can figure out why the ruckus didnt wake anyone up either. There were tracks of both animals all over both yards and right past a few windows so it must have been quite a chase.

Ask around about possible sightings and attacks and look around your property n see if you can find where she was when she was attacked and any kind of tracks in the area. Normally you'd see a mess around the area where the struggle took place and there should be blood on the ground from the wounds. Oh yea and carry a gun with you when you go out there, just in case. If it attacks a horse it might do the same to you if its still around.
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post #5 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 08:20 PM
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It must be hungry to attack a horse. Is her Rabies up to date? It's epidemic around here, I'd be making sure she had a booster, if you haven't already! Hope she gets well soon.
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 08:24 PM
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check the trees to. Cougars attack from ambush. They get to a higher spot so they can jump onto the animals back and get their throat. So if it was a cougar the scratch marks on her back would make sence and you should look at any trees for gouge marks
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 08:24 PM
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It is unlikely that it was a bobcat. Mountain lion is a possibility. One other thing to consider is a dog. Stray dogs or even people's pets that are allowed to wander will attack livestock.

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post #8 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 08:24 PM
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Bobcats are capable of taking down a full grown, mature buck. An Arabian isn't much bigger, depending on the breeding. If you measure the paw spread on the claw marks, you'll be able to know for sure.
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post #9 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 09:16 PM
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I would also suggest a black bear if they are in the area. A bear would swipe to knock the horse over. Have large longer claws. I think a mountain lion is possible but I think claw marks would be from mid back saddle area or under her belly. They kill by strangulation and a lion would need to get purchase. A bear would stand or charge and swipe. I think a horse might have an easier time fighting off a young inexperienced bear than a mountain lion. Either way, glad your mare is okay!

I would set up a critter cam. That way you can catch photos of whatever animal it is and take appropriate action. Chances are really good that your property is part of its territory and it will return. If you have young kids around its not a bad idea to know who your wildlife neighbors are.
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-27-2012, 09:32 PM
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Sounds like its time to put up a trail cam!
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