Sooo way back on Sept 10 2012, I got a call from my trainer saying Robbie's right front knee and back right fetlock are covered in blood. Called the vet out cause it looked like both injuries needed stitches. She came out, cleaned and stitched his knee. We were originally worried about his knee as it looked worse but his fetlock was the worse injury - the cut was deep and nicked the extensor tendon. He was bandaged up and given stall rest until further notice. This was the "original injury". He was not lame, sore but walking fine, and was given a 100% of full recovery.
I was super happy that even though he got hurt, everything would be fine and he would be back to work after a month of rest. No biggie. But then we started wondering about WHAT could have caused these cuts! He was out in a big field with about 10 other horses, no other injuries were recently reported so we were confused about how the hell he hurt himself. Went out in the paddock to check things out. Fence was fine, shelters were fine, ground was fine. Nothing that we checked out could have caused these cuts..we were stumped. And we spent a good 2 hours searching that field, no stone was left unturned! Then we came the entrance of the paddock - 4 big, shiny, new and SHARP metal culverts were in his freaking paddock! The barn just had them installed a week or so earlier, and they were only 50% covered by the ground. So about 3 feet on both sides were STICKING out into the paddock. I was furious. Who the heck would put sharp, metal objects in a horse's field!? And upon closer inspection, grey hair, tissue, blood and skin was found the upper edge of one the culverts. This was what cut Robbie. I was livid.
They knowingly put these death traps in my horse's home and honestly I'm surprised that he didn't hurt himself worse. And since I wasn't out at the barn since they were installed (without any of the boarders consent) I had nooo idea that they had even been put in! The vet also confirmed that the cuts were only made by something metal and sharp (culverts were the only thing in there that fit that description)..so I approached the BO and told them Robbie's injury was their fault and they are going to pay for his vet bills. They aren't the smartest people ever and tried to tell me this WASN'T their fault but eventually agreed to pay the vet bills (only $2000 at that point). Fine, I was happy with that and told them I'd accept that and not push the issue further. To me this was like their admission of guilt - why pay something that you knew 100% wasn't your fault?!? My friend’s horse got kicked in the field and had $1200 in vet bills…yet they didn’t once offer to pay for his injury.
Also, after Robbie got hurt, the only thing they did to "protect" the other horses still in that field from the culverts was bend them inwards (which to me was worse because there was now a lip under them that if a horse kicked it, it would de-glove their whole leg) and put duct tape over the section where Robbie's blood, hair, etc was found. I also took that section off and kept it with me for evidence.
After a couple weeks of stall rest, vet came out to re-assess and gave the okay to turn out in a small paddock. He was outside for a week before an infection happened in his fetlock. Nothing serious, pretty superficial, but the vet advised we take him to the clinic and get it drained for faster healing. Through all of the "original injury", his fetlock was heavily bandaged and Green Wound Cream, hibitane, bute, etc were given. I did everything right. I was there every time the vet was out and she made sure I knew 100% what I was doing or how I was bandaging was right. We think because the stall wasn't cleaned as well as it should have been (they took really bad care of our horses), that caused the infection due to pee and poo. So at the end of September we trailered Robbie to vet clinic (15mins away). I should also add that since Robbie was hurt on the culverts, my side of the barn with our trainer decided to move. We didn't feel like the barn was providing good care (obviously) so the day Robbie went to the clinic, they left to the new barn. When we gave our 30 days’ notice that we were leaving they also decided NOT to feed our horses properly (instead of a round bale we got leftovers from the flakes they fed the indoor horses scattered around the field…) and STILL not do anything about the culverts. Anyways, we get to the clinic and unload Robbie - he was shaky and sweaty, clearly stressed out by the ride. :( That's when I noticed the blood on his bandage. He was also lame and I knew something was realllllly wrong.
We unwrapped his leg and found the pictures I posted on this thread. I have never been so devastated in my life. I literally dropped to the floor and could not breathe. Before he trailered, his cut was maybe 2-3 inches across the fetlock...and after it turned into 10 inches across open down into the joint. It was so gruesome and horrific, I can't even explain. The thread then takes over from there.
Now for what happened on March 5th…
Got a call from the helper trainer who also took care of Robbie (she was beyond amazing and also did everything right) and the vet saying he re-hurt this leg back down to what it was when he was at the clinic. We think he may have kicked his stall wall and it just broke open. But this time it broke down into where you could feel his coffin bone and lower into his leg. There was literally nothing we could do. We had to call a guy from another vet clinic to give a second opinion for the insurance company saying PTS was the only humane option. He also said we could do casting, surgery, etc all over again but we'd have to fuse the fetlock joint together and AT BEST he would be semi-sound pasture pet with chronic painful lameness. There was no way scar tissue could heal on top of scar tissue - we were so lucky to have him healed this far with the injury he had. So really his cut never healed fully - there was really no tissue under the skin which is why it broke open so easily. I'm just so thankful I wasn't riding him when this happened or I'd never forgive myself (I was supposed to have my first ride 2 weeks after this happened). He was in so much pain (3 legged lame...he wasn't even that lame when the first bad injury happened) and we trailered him to the vet clinic to be put down. Worst day of my life.
We still have no idea how such a superficial injury turned so horrific. His leg was so heavily bandaged and I took better care of him then I did myself. I know the tissue was so weak from the infection but still can't make sense of it. However, NONE of this would have happened if those people didn't put stupid culverts in his field. I had already put about $20,000 into Robbie and his injury through vet care, board, etc before he was put down. We had insurance on him so they covered $10,000. Funny that in that whole field, Robbie was the only horse who has insurance...if this happened to any other horse they would have probably been put down on the spot.
EVERYBODY at my barn (and even the other barns within our facility) took care of him and checked up on him - he was basically everybody’s child. JDI and My2Geldings can vouch for that. He was loved by so many and I have people I do know even know contacting me saying how sorry they are and sad about what happened. Even though he was just a horse, he was so unbelievably special - and not just to me. He had a personality like no other and everybody knew of him as “Robbie”, not just another grey hunter. Basically, he was like a little kid that would just not leave you alone until you played with him. This wasn’t just a loss for me, but for everybody that knew him or knew of him. He was my heart horse and as horrible as it sounds, I rode not because I loved to ride, but because I loved to ride him. I know I’ll never get on another horse again. I’m just so broken over all of this and I don’t know if I’ll ever be put back together.
Now even though I’m in Canada and we don’t normally do the whole “court thing” like you Americans do (haha just kidding!), I’m not backing down from this and we are going after them with help from our insurance company. They are 100% at fault and they still do not see that they did anything wrong - I’m worried for the horses still there and the danger they are in. They have made no effort to rectify this or learn from their mistake and I’m not going to let them get away with this. My horse is dead because of their gross negligence and they should never be able to touch another horse again. We approached them earlier in all of this and asked for them to cover JUST the vet costs and they declined (apart from the initial $2000 that they felt guilty about) so they brought this on themselves as far as I’m concerned.
Any advice, suggestions or help is greatly appreciated from those who maybe have experienced something similar or have any thoughts on the matter. I’m not backing down and I’m going to need all the help I can get. I’m not doing this to get revenge or vengeance, but to show those people that they can’t put innocent lives in danger and get away with it. I want to make sure no other horses or owners go through what I have gone through. I really wouldn’t want this to happen to my worst enemy.
I wish I could reply to Robbie’s thread, but even just hearing his name is too hard. I don’t mean to ignore all of you that have taken time out of your day and posted on here even though you don’t even know me. I want to thank everybody for all of their support and love. It took me so long to write his story because I could never even finish a sentence without giving up but this is something that needs to be told. People need to be aware of what others can do to what you hold so dearly and to not take anything for granted. Even when the odds are beaten and it looks like everything will be okay, it can be taken away from you in a matter of moments. I’m not hung up on the “why me” or “what ifs” but I can’t get over the fact that all of this has happened and yet nothing was done to prevent it from happening to others in the future.
Hold your loved ones a little bit closer today for me, as I can no longer hold mine.