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thenrie 09-10-2012 08:14 AM

Your best wreck story (hopefully without serious injury)
My favorite story is from my dad. A few years back...ok, a lot of years back- 1978...he was taking a group of boy scouts, ages 14-16, on a 100-mile pack trip through the White Mountains of Arizona. There were about 15-16 boys, a couple adults, and about 25 horses in all, including pack animals. At one point, they were angling and switching up the side of a mountain just east of Greer, Az. They were sort of in a hurry, because a thunder storm was bearing down on them and they were trying to get to the plateau on a bench of the hill and set up camp before the storm arrived.

They were angling up the hill, going from one outcropping of rock to another, because the ground above the outcroppings provides a small level spot where the horses could rest a little (elevation is around 8,000'). While the uphill side of these outcroppings is somewhat level, the downhill side tends to have a cliff of up to 20 feet or so. It is essentially a hunk of rock sticking out of the hillside with dirt piled up on top of it.

About half-way up the hillside, it started spitting rain and thundering a little. Dad instructed everybody to get off their horse and don their rain gear, which consisted of a yellow slicker or poncho tied behind each boy's saddle. One bright young lad untied his slicker and immediately shook it out to unroll it, shaking it wildly right under the nose of his trusty mount. The old gelding, normally as sturdy as a rock, hearing thunder and seeing this horse-killing yellow banshee waving in front of him, promptly reared straight up, turned 90 degrees, and jumped right off the trail on one of these outcroppings. Luckily...there was this large juniper tree just off the side of the trail, which caught the gelding like an outfielder. The gelding landed right in the main fork of the tree, ending up with the fork right about where the girth was, with his front legs about 4-6 feet off the ground and his hind feet about 2 feet off the ground. It probably knocked the wind out of the horse a little, because he fought a little for a minute and settled right down. He just hung there.

Well, while this was happening, another horse (happened to be my mother's mare...her baby) got excited and pulled away from her rider, also stepping off the trail at a lower spot. She fell and began to roll down the hill as she struggled for footing. My dad dove down the hill after her, seeing that she was rolling toward the next outcropping down the hill, with a drop-off of nearly 20 feet. Just before she made that last roll that would have taken her over the cliff, Dad made a dive and landed on her neck, holding her head to stop her from struggling, so she would not roll over. He held her there and began to yell at the boys to bring him a rope to tie her off with. The boys just looked at him with terror on their faces, never before having experienced anything anywhere near what was happening. The lack of immediate response brought a string of language out of my father that I'm sure most of the boys had never heard before either, and it snapped them out of their stupor. Once Dad got a rope around the mare's neck, he ran it around an uphill tree and was able to support the mare while she regained her feet. She was able to get up and made it back up to the trail without further incident.

Dad, then turned back to the horse in the tree. By this time it was raining pretty good, but the thunder was still somewhat distant. Dad took a young pack horse and pointed it straight up the remainder of the hill, slapped it on the rump and up he went. One by one, he did the same for the other horses, with the scouts following on foot. He told them to get to the top, picket the horses, and get camp set up.

Now, how to get the horse out of the tree? How to cut the branch off without it impaling and gutting the horse? How to keep the horse from falling on down the hill once it drops from the tree? It is good he was with Boy Scouts, because one bright young man suddenly appeared with a handy little thing called a "rope saw". It is a piece of wire with small teeth twisted into it and a ring on each end. Dad was able to thread this wire saw under the horse's chest, and by working it back and forth, cut through the branch, about 6" in diameter, from the top of the fork, leaving no splinters to stab or injure the horse. Eventually the branch gave way and the horse fell to the ground, landing squarely on all four feet. He shook himself a little and turned back up to the trail. They headed him right up the hill after the rest of herd, showing no ill effects from the experience at all. He was fine the rest of the trip.

In fact, the only lasting ill effect of the wreck is that my dad lost his camera during the wreck and didn't realize it for a couple days. I think it was hanging from the saddle horn of my mom's mare. It is still somewhere on that hillside east of Greer, AZ.

Only the fact that there were no injuries to man or beast differentiates this experience from a tragedy. I have been through many such wrecks on the trail. Luckily, neither myself, my horses, nor anyone with me, has yet suffered any injuries, other than a few bumps, scrapes, and bruises. In fact, I have never had to cut short a trip due to a wreck. I've been lucky.:wink:

Janna 09-10-2012 01:06 PM

The worst I've seen was when I was younger on a group trail ride, I rode double with a friend and the owner of the horse I usually rode rode the horse.
Well the group got up the hill fine but the horse that id just switched off with the owner slipped on a rock and fell backwards down the hill. He didn't get seriously injured and neither did the lady but it was scary.

Painted Horse 09-10-2012 03:53 PM

I've got lots of stories, But the ones that stick in my mind usually had a horrible ending.

We were packing into Robbers Roost in central Utah. A pack horse tried to crowd up on a narrow trail and bumped a saddle horse off a ledge. The rider baled and caught some brush to hang onto. But the saddle horse dropped 40 foot and broke it's neck. We had to redistribute the packs and convert the pack horse into a saddle horse for the rider to ride out.

Speaking of Scouts, I used to call on an account and the manager went on a camp out with the scouts and horses, When he got home he told me about their trip. On the way in, One of the scout leaders was leading a horse up a hill. He slipped in some mud and caught himself with his hands as he fell forward. His horse clambering up the hill stepped on his hand and broke most of the bones in his hand. They took him back down the mountain and got first aid in the small emergency care center in the closest town. Then they shipped him back up to Provo Utah and into the larger regional hospital where they performed surgery to rebuild his hand. Most of the horses and equipment belonged to him. When the scouts came home a few days later, somebody else was driving his truck/trailer. They did not get the back door closed securely, It came open on the freeway and the back horse decided it was time to step out of the trailer at 70 mph, The hrose rolled and bounced and got scrapped up. But it survived, terribly bruised and skinned up. There was a car load of scouts following right behind and got to see it all happen.

Years ago, I was riding a young green broke colt on one of his first trail rides. My brother in law was along with his horse. We came across a spot where the grass changed color and I suspected a wet or boggy area. I steered my horse right and my BIL went left. My colt got excited about being seperated and was fighting me about where I was positioning him. He faught me and eventually crossed the different colored grass. Which indeed was a bog and he went down. He started thrashing in the mud and after 3-4 good bucks, I came off. The horse landed on top of me. I was under his chest and reached up and grabbed his halter and pulled his head down and got him to stop thrashing and start to calm. The horse was buried to his belly in mud.

My BIL seeing my legs sticking out from under the gelding and thinking my head was buried in the mud under the horse, and that I would not be able to breath, bailed off his horse and came running and hollering trying to get my horse to move so he could pull me out of the mud. This was more than my horse could take and he started thrashing again trying to get unstuck. His hind foot landed on my chest and the horse pushed off using me to get solid footing. The horse got out with the effort, but it broke several of my ribs. We were almost a 2 hour ride back to the truck/trailer and I had a two hour drive home once back in the truck. So it was awhile before I could do anything about the pain. Just had to cowboy up and ride.

thenrie 09-10-2012 07:11 PM

Almost makes me want to try my hand with a mule:lol:

Wish I were out in your part of the country again. Living back east here I can't find places to ride. So many rules back here it almost takes all the enjoyment out of it. Read a rule in the manual for a national park here in VA, where it said that if your horse's hoof prints are visible, stay only on graveled paths. Made me miss BLM land out west.

Roperchick 09-10-2012 07:21 PM

hmmmm. well there was one a while and my friend were fooling around behind her ranch. we were riding right next to the lip of the wash. it was only about 4 ft deep and like 1 1/2-2 feet across....

all of a sudden her horse started freaking out bucking n rearing. his back foot slipped off into the was and he tilted sideways over, landing upside down wedged in the wash.

my friend had plenty of clearance when he fell, and she was able to crawl out underneath him. luckily he was a very calm/cool horse (not realy a good example of his behavior haha) but he laid there, didnt try to move or anything.

we ran back (she sat behind my saddle on my mare) got her papa who rode back out with us.

then we found an old board from a shed that was out there...wedged it up underneath him, and me and him both got our ropes around his front/back legs, dallied em and pulled him up, sliding him over the board.

he popped right back up as soon as he was on solid real harm but his back and hips were kind of outta whack.

Willow Winds 09-10-2012 08:10 PM

The wreak that stands most vividly in my mind is my 1st. I was 13 years old, and was at summer camp. We had one big trail ride in the middle of the week, and I was dreading it. My horse, Bonnie, had been acting up, and I was irritated with her.

Then the morning of the ride I was informed I would be riding another horse, Rue, and I was happy. When we started riding I soon learned Bonnie was an amazing horse...Rue was a nightmare. She didn't listen to a thing I said, and seemed to find every patch of grass an opportunity for lunch. We were almost done with the ride and we were crossing a large field of grass. To be fair, I hadn't been paying attention to anything but the grass the whole time.

Suddenly I felt my saddle slipping to the side, and in an instant I was clinging to the side of the horse. I'd never fallen off before, and panicked. I started screaming, and the horse started trotting. I realized I had to get off, and let going pushing out away from under Rue. I tumbled backwards down a small hill, and once I was off Rue took off as fast as she could.

We all had to lead the horse down the rest of the trail. I ended up with bruises all over my back, and ribs. Thankfully no one got hurt, but since then I've been super sensitive about saddle tightness. :)

thenrie 09-10-2012 08:28 PM


Originally Posted by Willow Winds (Post 1678646)
She didn't listen to a thing I said, and seemed to find every patch of grass an opportunity for lunch. :)

Hahaha! I had a horse that used to do that when I was a kid. I was riding her one day with a bareback saddle with stirrups (just had to try it out. It looked cool). There we are riding along at a brisk walk, and suddenly she drops her head to grab a mouthful of grass. Off I went, right over her head. There I was, spread-eagle, face-down on the grass, feet still in the stirrups, saddle between my legs, and Babe quietly munching grass between my legs. I'm sure she was chuckling at me.:lol:

HagonNag 09-10-2012 09:15 PM

Thenrie, It's a shame you aren't in the Carolinas. We have TONS of places to ride. And no one cares about hoof prints.

busysmurf 09-10-2012 09:37 PM

Oh let's see.. there was the time another horse spooked into Odie, throwing me into a tree, & him running down the trail into the road & him running into a feed truck.

Then there was the time we were teaching my scaredy cat mare to trailer, & the hitch broke off the truck causing the trailer to balance on it's axle.

Can't forget the time Odie's brakes failed. He went left, I went straight into a telephone pole.

Or maybe when we were bringing Odie home for the first time & found out he didn't fit in the trailer...he jumped in the manger to get more room.

But I think the winner has to be the hay loft collapsing as I was leaving the barn missing me by 3 ft. & trapping the horses inside.
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BlooBabe 09-10-2012 10:08 PM

I was in between lesson barns and found a back yard place that had a few horses. My friends and I struck a deal that if we cleaned the stalls and paddocks we could ride. The owners were very lax and we could go out for hours as long as the work was done and we had them back to have them cooled off and brushed out before feeding them dinner. We used to take them down unused dirt roads that lead to cranberry bogs that had solid enough ground to ride around. There was a gate that was ALWAYS open that we would canter down and then let the horses into a gallop around the bogs. We got to the stretch of the road and we took off. All of our horses were chunky ex-rodeo mounts but we were used to e/w school horses so when we saw the gate closed we got into 2 point to take the jump. The lead horse jacked his breaks and sent my friend clear over the gate but she tucked and somersaulted and landed in the grass so she didn't get hurt. The next horse also tied to stop but didn't have enough time and skidded into the back end of the horse and my friend flipped over his head and landed behind the saddle on the first horse. I saw was was coming and planted myself in my saddle but didn't have enough time to rein him in without hurting his mouth so I closed my eyes and felt him slam into the other two. I opened my eyes and saw I was still on the horse. I let out a sigh and then realized I was slipping off so I ended up in the dirt as well. All three horses were sitting and crammed up against each other and the gate but sat quietly. Turns out the bog owners knew we rode down there and was getting a new irrigation system put in so he closed the gate. He also saw our pile up and having a good laugh he came over and opened the gate to we could get the horses on their feet again. Everyone was fine, just some scratches and bruises.

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