Got kicked twice last night, trying to load my horse.
I think my pride and my heart is hurt more than anything. My bruises and swollen body parts will heal but I think it's brought me to a realization.
Right now I am boarding 2 horses, Red and Beau. Red is my "new" horse that I bought in May, 6 years old. Beau is my 14-yr-old barrel horse that I retired this year because of arthritis problems. So he is serving as the pasture buddy for Red.
I started boarding them at the end of May. My farrier came to me the first time, but he is now having all his clients come to him. No big deal, as he's only about 20 minutes away. So I had an appointment with him last night to bring the boys over.
Right now I am borrowing my boarding couple's 3-horse slant load, with rear tack. I just finished school this year and I am searching for a trailer of my own. Red went through a little training with me to get him to load onto the trailer, but now I just point him at the door, very lightly tap the lunge whip on his hip, and up he goes. No problem.
Now Beau hasn't been on a slant load with rear tack for 4 years, and we had some trouble the last time he did. He's just been hauled in a very large stock trailer otherwise. He's a big horse (16.1 hands) and I have always had difficulty loading him onto the trailer his entire life. I think he's claustraphobic.
Normally what I do with Beau is lunge him to get him to load, if I am having trouble getting him to load. I was worried about it because of his arthritic back right leg (in his stifle and hock). I knew it would hurt to make him lunge around, but I normally don't have to do it very long and he gets the idea and goes on.
Going to the farrier, I loaded Beau in about 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty dang good. I was happy with that. Red hopped on right behind him in the back slot. (My boarding couple has stuff in the front stall, so I loaded Beau into the middle slot.)
After the farrier is done with them, it's time to go home. Beau knew I wanted him to go on that trailer. You can see him looking at the door and see him thinking about it. He knows he's supposed to get in there. Things started getting sour after about 30 minutes. He's getting tired, but I know that he knows he's supposed to get on that thing. So he turned his butt toward me a couple times to get away from lunging. I honestly didn't think anything of it, because he has NEVER done anything as far as kicking. EVER. So the first few times I just pushed him away and made him continue on. Then a little while later, I had my body tight against his butt on one of the times he flung it around, so when he kicked, it didn't do more than take the wind out of my lungs. But it was still a kick regardless.
My farrier then took him to try, and he probably was more gruff that I was with making him move in the lunge, and he got his arm kicked when Beau flung around. He does it so quick there's not much you can do.
Then later I tried again, keeping the rope very short and close. But he still managed to fling me around and gave me a good donkey kick in the thigh and sent me flying into the dirt.
At that point, the sun was down. I was extremely embarrased my horse wouldn't load, not to mention the feeling of pretty much getting punched by your best friend (I've had this horse since he was 6 months old). My farrier said that he'll just keep him overnight and we can try him in his trailer the next day. It's a slant load, but he was the dividers off to the side and the rear tack collapsed, so it's as close to a stock trailer as we are going to get.
So we're going over there tonight.
I'm not going to lunge him, because that clearly isn't going to work with his painful leg and him becoming dangerous to kick. I just thank God he didn't get me lower in the knee, or higher to break my pelvis or ribs.
I've officially never been kicked by a horse before, so I'm feeling more emotional over the whole thing. I had planned to finally let Beau go this spring, because I can only board 2 horses at a time, and I've like another useable riding horse as my second horse. But after all this, he's just not the same horse I grew up with, and as of today, I'd have no problem taking him to the sale barn this weekend, to be completely honest. My non-horsey husband wanted to just shoot him last night, after he watched Beau kick me across the yard. Which if he would have asked me when I was still lying on the ground, I would have agreed.
I do have a yearling colt my parents are keeping for me, that I could bring up to keep Red company. After talking with my mom and with my husband, and in my mind, it's not worth it to me to try to work through dangerous behavior on a lame horse that's not rideable. I'm just more depressed about the whole situation, but maybe it was a slap in the face to wake up and send him down the road.
Why didn't he just go on the trailer......... He knew that's where he was supposed to go.
I'm just crossing my fingers we can get him on calmly and without a fight tonight to get him home.
I am sorry you got kicked and am glad you were not badly hurt. I think you need to take some time and allow your emotions to settle down.
I don't believe you really mean that you are ready to take him to the sale barn. You are just really upset right now.
It sounds like this is the first and only time he has ever acted like this. It is not a pattern of behavior. I completely agree that kicking can never be tolerated...ever. It is too dangerous, but he was is a different environment and probably very frightened...and maybe even in pain. He knew he needed to go into the trailer but his horsey sense was telling him to be afraid..very afraid.
I totally understand how hurt you must feel inside. I have been there...after a horse deliberately bucked me off and broke my ribs.
But don't make any rash decisions about his future until some time has passed.
If he's lame & unridable please do him a favor & let your husband shoot him. At least that will be a quick end for your best friend. You must know where he'll end up if he goes to a sale.
Many slant loads are too tight for a larger horse.
I agree if you sell him I highly doubt he will just go somewhere to be a pasture puff or companion WITH good care. That canbe pretty hard to find. If he is lame and you sell him he will MOST LIKELY go to slaughter. I only know of two people though who would keep an unrideable lame horse though. My mother was one of them. Just put some thought into it before you make a decision.
I'm glad you weren't seriously hurt though.
If you sell him, what are you going to do when the new owners ask for their check back after he displays this dangerous behavior when they go to take him home. He needed his arthritic rump stomped into the ground for that behavior. It is okay for a horse to have an opinion and not want to load. That's fine. It is NOT okay to express that opinion with a dangerous action.
There are so many things wrong with this situation.
I am glad you were not seriously hurt.
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I wouldn't send him to the sale, to be honest I think that's pretty heartless of you. Especially for an animal you say is your best friend. He's lame and unrideable, either keep him for good or put him down. His fate at a sale or even in the wide world isn't pretty.
I am sorry for your injuries. **hugs**
I agree with Natisha--put him down. Cheaper than feeding him this winter. I just heard that the price of hay where I live has just jumped to $13.00/bale.
When I took my 16yo OTTB to the sale barn after he slipped on the ice and threw out his back, it was after 8 years of lessons, work, trailering, trail-riding, and I never could get him to change his bad attitude. I refused to sell him cheap to a teenage girl who could get hurt on him, and I didn't see the point of chiro-treating him, AND we had horse slaughter 4 miles north of us.
NOW, if you manage to get him into the trailer and to an auction, your boy will travel to Mexico probably without any food or water for 4 days and be, maybe, humanely slaughtered--we just don't know how they do it there in 2012.
At 14yo he must have had a hard life to be arthritic. My 14yo (babysitter) KMHSA mare doesn't have this problem, and it took 25 years from my old QH to be suffering from arthritis so as to make him unridable. He certainly earned his pasture pet status, but would still load in a my slant-load trailer anytime I wanted him to. I make my 16'3hh gelding comfortable in my slant-load by removing the partition and giving him a double-stall. Unless your horse is huge and you're trying to make him load into a "hobbit-hole" sized trailer, he should load.
Just so you know, it's a good idea to train your horse to go through human-sized doors. I started this a long time ago, when I did lessons. I would lead my horses into the hay/grain storage area that I rented, usually bc I forgot something in there before I taught a lesson. It was tall enough for a horse to walk around in and to turn around in, and the door was about 34 inches wide. My barn entry door is 34 inches wide, and my big guy doesn't have a fear issue entering and exiting, with or without me--THAT's your trailer problem.
I guess the only suggestion I have is to start graining him in the trailer, moving it further in every day until he has to load to eat.
At least give the creature a peaceful end if you can't stand to be with him anymore, at least that's a more stress free outlet for him.
That was really disappointing to read. Disgusting to read, honestly. You're willing to shoot your best friend because he kicked you? I would HATE to even get to know you. Lord knows what would happen.
When I was 10, we adopted an abused pony. Nine years later, he's still with us. Guess what? He's arthritic in the hip and can't be ridden. He's skittish around us STILL. Do you think the thought ever crossed our mind to sell him because we can't ride him? Never. He trusts us(somewhat), and I love him for the arthritic emotionally scarred pony he is. Who would want to buy such an abused pony? No one, except the meat buyer. And you can be POSITIVE he will never end up at the meat buyer.
I just want to know why you did not punish him immediately and let him know he would be lucky to live through a second kick.
Remember, anything you accept is what you are training him to do. You accepted getting the first kick and he let you know that he could do a lot more if you dared to try to make him do something he did not like. He is a product of your training. Make him pay the price NOW and not at the slaughter house.
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