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minstrel 07-27-2012 08:07 AM

Scary experience with quicksand...
 
So, Fitzroy and I have just recently moved to a new yard, and we're loving it. I'm a bit surprised at how well he's settled to be honest, but he seems very happy. Now, the hacking at our new yard is amazing - not only are there two small woods near the yard for short hacks, but you can take a public path up onto the moor, and from there into the forestry commission forests that span the local hills for miles and miles - can literally go 20 miles of hills and woods off road.

So, we were out two days ago, exploring the nearby woods. The yard owner told me that there had been loggers in the closest wood a few weeks ago, and whilst they were gone, it had been pretty muddy, so it was worth going to the other wood. We went up to that wood, and a great ride, and were heading back past the closer wood when I decided we should just nip in and have an explore - we could turn back if it was muddy.

Now, the reason it had been so muddy was because we'd had a month of solid rain, but we'd had a week of hot weather just before this, so the mud was dried up. Some of the track were a little squelchy, but nothing too bad, so we made our way through the wood. We finally got to the far end, near the yard, and the entrance to the wood. There had obviously been trucks coming in and out here, but it looked like it had all dried up - it was just a sand lot now. So we stepped out onto the lot, only for Fitz to sink to his belly in liquid mud.

Naturally, my poor boy panicked, and tried to run across the lot, sinking further an further in. I'm not gonna lie, I was freaking out, but for whatever stupid reason in my panic I was worried about him, and hadn't really thought through that if he sank, I would too... until I lost both my stirrups and nearly went flying over his head in a deep patch.

Thankfully he found a solid tuft of ground and climbed up onto it, shaking like a leaf, but we were now stranded in the middle of a large amount of quicksand. Fitz was shaking, and stamping his feet, obviously shocked. When I checked my phone, we were out of signal range - typical. So I knew I was going to have to convince him to brave the sand again to get back out. I asked him to go across the patch that looked wettest, reasoning that if it looked wet, it probably wasn't deep enough to have formed the dry skin on top.

He was so good, and when I asked him to go back in, he did so, and went where I directed him instead of panicking. We made it back out onto the road, where he promptly fell down to both front knees, shaking. I got off, let him get up, and walked him home, giving him lots of praise.

Somehow, we came out with all four shoes, all four boots, and the only damage appears to be a shallow graze on his right hind fetlock, which I've washed out and creamed. He was stiff yesterday, but sound, and I'm about to go check him again today. I think we were lucky!!! Not about to go into that wood again in a hurry...

Anyway, just thought I'd share - it was really scary, and I was so proud of how he went back into that quicksand when I asked him to. What a gem.

Painted Horse 07-27-2012 10:06 AM

Several times over the years we have run into quicksand. After you experienced it, You will start to seriously look at the surface you are crossing and try to access IF it might be quick under neath it.

5 years ago in November we were riding in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah. This is high desert. A man had told me they had got into some quick sand in that area years before. But I was thinking, Hey this is desert, not much water. mostly rock, how much quick sand could there really be.

We had come down off a bank and was crossing a very small stream. Only a couple of inches deep. We filed across it single file and I was the fourth horse to cross. I felt my gelding struggling a little with his feet. like he was fighting mud. But I had just watched 3 horses in front of me cross with no problems. We made it across and the 5th horse, the one right behind me was in the middle and suddenly just dropped. His hind end stayed on solid ground but his front feet had no support and went indeep enough to bury his head and front quarters.

This of course flipped the rider right over the front of the horse. The rider landed on his back in 3-4" of water and got his whole back side soaked. The horse with his back feet still on solid ground, backed out.

As I mentioned it was November and cold enough to need jackets, So being soaking wet was problem. The rider got up and got the wet cloths off and shared some coats from other riders. We had to clean sand from the horseseyes, ears and nostrils.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...an-Rafel-1.jpg

As you can see in the photo, we have several horses standing around just feet away from the area the horse went down. The mud was solid enough for the first four horses, but we pumped it up with the horses marching across it and turned an area into jello that suddenly colasped under the weight of then next horse.

A few years later, I saw on the news a story of hiker getting stuck in the quicksand. Buried to his waist. Search and rescue flew in a helocopter to save him, but mud had become so stiff after the hiker fell in that he could not be extracted. They had to ferry in some flat bottom boats to set on the mud and from those they dug around the hiker till they had removed enough mud that they could extract him.

It is definitely scary stuff.

Celeste 07-27-2012 06:35 PM

Scary stuff for sure!!! Minstrel, I'm glad that you are ok.

MyBoyPuck 07-27-2012 07:28 PM

Wow, that is scary. Poor horsey! He must have been shaking like a leaf. Glad you both made it out okay.

Roperchick 07-27-2012 08:09 PM

glad you have sucha good horse that he got you safely out!

we were on a St Judes trail ride a few years ago and i was walking about 5 ft away from my friend, just chatting...all of a sudden her and her horse got about 3 feet shorter and he was up to his belly in sand! we got him out without too much trouble. he was able to back up and plant his butt on solid ground they dragged him back up somehow. i aws off holiding like 8 horses so i didnt get to see it!

scary stuff man. glad your both okay

QOS 07-28-2012 12:18 AM

OMG so glad you and your horse were ok. How scary!!!

Golden Horse 07-28-2012 12:26 AM

What a good boy, so glad it all ended well, and not even to lose a shoe or a boot:thumbsup:

HagonNag 07-28-2012 11:59 AM

He truly is a Gem!!!!

minstrel 07-28-2012 01:28 PM

Yeah, it was scary stuff - not about to make that kind of mistake again! I'm on the lookout for it now.

My poor boy had stiffened up when I tried to ride him on Friday, and he was a little stiff coming in again today, so I think he may have strained himself a bit trying to get out - but with a bit of TLC I'm sure he'll be fine. I think he deserves some time off after getting us both out of there!

Sharpie 07-28-2012 02:30 PM

We get stuff like that here too on the gulf. Not really 'quicksand' per se (thankfully), but spots where it is solid and looks solid and you're fine until all of the sudden the horses are hock or belly-deep and struggling and you're wondering wth just happened. Luckily most of the horses learn quick and learn how to move through/out of it with a little encouragement. The first time they freak out, but after that it's old hat and they just need a little moral support and a loose rein to muscle their way out.


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