A lesson in safety! (mad at myself!!) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-27-2013, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 710
• Horses: 2
A lesson in safety! (mad at myself!!)

Today I did a stupid thing which I am kicking myself for, as I know better. I decided to let the horses into a new pasture, which I recently finished fixing up. They have never been in it before, and I knew they would go charging around like fools as soon as I let them in. So I have been puposely waiting until a day when I had the time to hang around and supervise them. Well as soon as they saw me heading for that gate they all came crowding in (all 3 of them), as they have been watching the grass grow longer and longer in there for months now. I shooed them away while I opened the gate, and then as expected they all went charging in. Because there is a bit of a slope to the field it was difficult to open the gate all the way back to the adjoining fence, so I pulled it open about 3/4 of the way back and left it like that. I did consciously think, "I should pull it ALL the way back", but then I got lazy I guess. I figured once they got eating they would settle down and that would be that. But no, they continued galloping and bucking and chasing each other around the field, and at one point they all charged out and up to the barn. Then they wheeled around, galloped back down and into the new field. Two of them made it through the gate first, then did an abrupt turn and began running along the fenceline. The third horse ran down and found himself trapped behind the gate, and not wanting to miss out on any fun he decided as they ran past to just jump the fence and join them. I saw it all happening from about 50 feet away, and as soon as I saw him run into the wrong side of that gate I knew he was going to do that! I watched in horror as he caught the fence with his hind legs, tearing a section of it down and loosening the gate post until it was tilting at a 45 degree angle. He freed himself immediately and ran off to join the others. I ran and held the gate post up while they all charged back out, then quickly closed the gate and secured it. When I checked the horse he fortunately only had a tiny scratch on one hind leg, but it could have been a lot worse. By then they were all so crazed and frantic they were panting and soaked in sweat (and so was I!). I will never, ever not open a gate all the way back again, and it is something I have always known but today I was stupid and lazy I guess. All I had to do was lift it a little and none of that would have happened. I feel so stupid!
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-27-2013, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,445
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My other half's old horse did something similar. The farrier was showing him some training tips and Levi spooked. He bolted back to the pasture, but that pesky gate was in the way! So, this small-legged, overweight, 17 hand draft cross tries to jump the gate. Just like you his back legs get caught and he takes down the gate and a bunch of fenceline. Legs got tangled up in the fallen gate and he thrashed around a bit before getting up and running off.

Thank god he was fine, a few scuffs, nothing more. I don't know HOW he was fine - he should have broken a leg or something. But it really opened his eyes! He is now sold to people who know much more about horses than he did and can give him a job to do, so he's not so herdbound and spooky. You're right, you were lucky - but now you know, and I'll bet my kidneys you won't ever do it again! :) Glad the horse is okay.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-27-2013, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,264
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We all do stupid things on occasion. I had a tendency to leave the stall gate unlatched when I would put tack away as my horse was always more interested in his hay; until the day he decided to try and go say hello to his paddock mate. Fortunately it was just a nose push to open the gate and a calm walk out to three stalls down where he proceeded to snort at his pal.

So glad that while it was a scary few minutes that all turned out OK.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-27-2013, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 710
• Horses: 2
Thanks, I guess it was a good reminder and luckily not a disaster. I do have a gate post and fence to fix now; I guess I deserve that!
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-27-2013, 08:42 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,863
• Horses: 1
It's good nothing too bad happened!

Everyone makes mistakes. A couple of years back I was working with an unbroken horse, was slack, didn't wear gloves, didn't pay attention to holding the rope right... broke my finger. Then yesterday I saddled up an unknown, likely unbroken horse for the first time... and you can bet I wore gloves and held that rope right! As long as you learn your lessons then there is no real reason to beat yourself up about it, so long as nothing too bad happened.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-28-2013, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Brandon, Manitoba Canada
Posts: 1,052
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Glad to hear the horse was ok!
We all get slack at one time or another....then something happens to remind us that we have to pay attention.....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-28-2013, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 9,470
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Don't blame yourself. The horse could have opted to wait and go through the gate behind the others. Imagine that you had a lot more horses, like 20 of them, they'd have to wait to get through the gate.

Your horse made a stupid decision.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-28-2013, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 710
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True, he did! But I knew he (or one of them) would do that when I opened the gate. Stupidly I did not listen to my own instinct and open it all the way so that nobody could get trapped behind it. My bad. I will never again give them credit for having common sense. I guess that's my job!
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-28-2013, 04:50 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 2,668
• Horses: 10
I had an incident with a gate just before christmas last year. Unfortunately, mine resulted in the loss of my heart horse.

I was bringing him in to his night yard for his dinner and he rushed through the gate to get to his bucket before I had opened it the whole way. His hind quarters ended up caught over the gate somehow and I couldn't budge him off it. Before anyone could reach me to help push him off the gate, the post snapped and brought Rex and the gate crashing down on top of his right hind leg. It broke and he was put to sleep shortly after. Not an image that I think will ever leave me.

Sometimes it is the simplest things that appear harmless that cause trouble, the things that we use on a day to day basis. Just be thankful he made it out without any serious injuries.
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Trojan 09.11.02 - 26.10.10 // Kody 01.09.89-25.06.12 // Rex 05.11.95-21.12.12
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-28-2013, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 109
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I had a 3 year break from horses to complete a uni course, and believe me, I made some STUPID mistakes in those first few weeks, remembering how horses behave! The one that still makes me shudder is my geldings first day in his new paddock. He was by himself to settle, with two others in the paddock next to him so they could meet each other. Dinner time comes, and what do I do? Set up his feed bin RIGHT beside the fence! Other two horses didn't get anything, they are big fatties and don't get hand fed, so naturally they were SUPER jealous and upset that the new guy got food and they didn't. Mare tries to boss him away from the food, they have a bit of a scuff through the fence. I am about 20 metres away, come running, but not quick enough. My horse boots the mare through the fence, she rears up, her front legs come crashing down on the wire fence - and not over the top wire, but stuck between the second and third strand. Tries to break free, cant, and then just accepts she's stuck and stands quietly. My partner got her owner, and after a good hour, we finally got her free. I thank God every day that my boy didn't continue to attack while she was stuck, that she didn't struggle, that the owner was nearby... I could go on. Needless to say, the lessons of horses came rushing back to me, and I certainly won't let it happen again!
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