Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Sterling, Virginia, USA
Remember kids: animals are unpredictable
We all think from time to time that we know the animals we work with to a 't'.
Here is a little reminder that you should never take good behavior for granted.
It was raining on Sunday morning. My BO told me to feed everyone and give them fresh hay and water before starting to muck stalls, but to leave them inside (she keeps the horses inside during bad weather as she lost a horse to lightning a few years ago). My mother helped with what she could. She's afraid of being in a stall with a horse, so I did all of that. We finished feeding and watering both barns (we will call the one closer to the BO's house barn A and the one down the hill will be barn B) and drove back up to barn A to start mucking. I would do the dirty work, and mom would haul the wheelbarrow to the manure pile.
As I always do, I started with the stallion side of the barn. These horses are generally very sweet and act like geldings. As I finished the first stall, my mother opened the door to retrieve the wheelbarrow. The horse apparently decided that he wanted out, and he looked as though he was preparing to jump the wheelbarrow to escape his stall. I tried to push my way to the front of the stall to stop him, but he burst through and pinned my arm against the side of his stall in the process. He began prancing up and down the far end of the stallion aisle, posturing to the other younger males. I went after him before he could do any harm to himself or anything else. My mother pushed the wheelbarrow aside, grabbed the shovel and pitchfork, and hid in the tack room.
After many unsuccessful attempts at capturing the stallion, I grabbed a lead rope and smacked him on the rear a few times with it. He trotted to his end of the aisle where curtains separate the stalls from the arena. He refused to pass the curtains, thank heaven, and I stood beside the wheelbarrow so he could either go back into his stall, go through the curtains behind him, or bust through me. After some calm verbal reassuring, he walked back into his stall and I latched it shut. It was then that my adrenaline began to wear off and I noticed my right and and wrist were in pain.
The back of my hand had a few abrasions (mostly shallow, but the far left was about 1/8 inch deep), my wrist had some kind of burn-like abrasion which I can only assume came from the friction of his body, and an explosive pain was in my wrist and radiated to the tips of my fingers and the middle of my forearm. I honestly thought I had broken something. I showed mom and we hiked the short distance to the BO's house to tell her we were going to the ER.
As my mother started driving, we both noticed that I was getting very pale. In fact, when I looked into the mirror my lips where ghostly white. That was when she started getting very worried. She stopped in a shopping center parking lot an called for an ambulance (we live in a different state and she doesn't know the area very well). Despite the pain I was pretty much cool as a cucumber, while my mother was breaking down thinking I was going to die.
Fast-forward a couple hours and x-rays later - thankfully, I only made it out with some bruised bones in my wrist. They set me up with a splint and a painkiller prescription and sent us on our way. My mother called the BO to tell her how I was and ask what the deal with the horses would be at that point. The BO hadn't been able to get anyone else to come down to finish the work, so we decided to go back. While we were driving, the BO turned all the horses out (it had stopped raining by then). I'm not allowed to use my arm for a week, so my mother mucked the empty stalls and I helped out with my good arm giving fresh hay and water for the horses' dinner.
The below photos are of my injury, taken today. The abrasions are already on their way to healing, but they are actually redder than they appear in the photographs (I took off my splint to shower and clean out my wound). You can also see just how swollen my hand is right now. I actually have close to no feeling in and around my right thumb at this point in time...I'm hoping that's just because of the swelling and I will regain feeling when it goes down.
I don't blame the horse for being antsy, and I shouldn't have taken his usual good manners for granted. Later on when I gave the horses their supper, I gave him a pat and forgave him for accidentally hurting me and thanked him for cooperating with me at the end (yes, I talk to the horses). Remember folks, just because you know how an animal normally behaves doesn't mean they can't be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
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"Who rescued who?"
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