Ugliest/Scariest Horse and Yard Encounters - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ugliest/Scariest Horse and Yard Encounters

I mean I've grabbed bits and bobs from the forum and the last one - about @SueC crashing into a steel gate prompted this, hope you don't mind! I bet there are plenty stories people dont want to share for personal reasons but what about the others?

This isn't a competition about who got it worse. So, go on then, if you want, list off your scariest horse and/or yard encounters be it ridden or otherwise and it doesn't necessarily have to be about yourself.

Broken bones? Road crashes? Stable squashers? Field kickers? Unfortunate accidents? Bolters, buckers and biters and the guilty and the hospitalised. I always like to think that there is a lesson to be learned, knowledge to be had, from others, even the worst of experiences.

DISCLAIMER: if you don't like horror or already have a bit of anxiety over "what if" scenarios etc then be aware that you might not want to read on.

--

I'll start off with three that as a kid really caught me in the gut. I was working at a yard as a weekend volunteer. The saturday evening we were closing shop and I remember walking past this big bag right by this old cobs stall entrance. Back then I had just learned out to fill out a haynet - I knew nothing about feeding much less salt supplements. Yup, that's right. It was a HUGE new bag of salt to supply a working yard. You can pretty much guess what happened. I was part of the early shift the next day and walking past his stall where everyone was hollering for breakfast but not him. Instead it was just the buzzing of flies and the ripped salt bag to the side of his stable, mess everywhere. I still didn't know what or how and the crying of the permanent staff then the screaming of one of the adults demanding to know who had left that bag there. It really didn't make much sense to me. How did salt kill him? Well now I know and knowing makes it all worse because I distinctly remember walking past his stall and thinking about that white bag being so close. It taught me to question everything. In fact, I was so paranoid that people complained to staff about how annoying I was with all my questions and second guessing. When I brought this up, about how I felt responsible even at age 10, I was assured that many people walked past the feed room, next to him, and should have noticed. I would say it was a huge moment that helped mould me to be so organised. I did have a trip down OCD lane once for checking my front door but that's over phew.

My second... same yard but I was 12 then as I'd just celebrated my birthday. I remember this because I turned up from my very humble cake with my small family of 3 (literally, that is my ENTIRE family), to one of the other volunteer girls being gifted a pony for her own -.- Completely unrelated but still! That same day a younger girl was running with a hoof pick and tripped over a pot hole and the pick end went into her eye. Or so we thought with all the blood. It didn't but it was a close call! They soon got the pot holes filled!

My third... this same yard had the old fashioned stalls with no door. You just tie them facing the wall with their butts bare to the aisle. Well, a recently gelded pony who was bought by the managers daughter and kept at the quarantine end of the yard which by the way was about only an acre in itself arenas and all. Well he got out and after reviewing the cameras it was less than an hour after the yard was closed. So he'd been out alllllllllllll night. So when all of us young girls (sorry, no city boys ever joined us) turn up for a fun day with the horsies well it wasn't a fun day. We learned a few new words and concepts that actually haunted me for quite some time. They kept the pony, who later would tear a bleeding chunk of hair from my scalp, and when I went a few years later they had changed the stalls around completely!
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 05:08 PM
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I've never heard of a horse dying from overdosing on salt. While I certainly wouldn't want them to overeat it, I would never guess it would be downright dangerous. That is good to know, I've been around horses over 20 years and I didn't know that.

So what happened with the third pony.......did he founder?

My scariest horse stories, well, when I was much younger and dumber, I tied my first horse to the barn door at the place I was boarding. He ripped the barn door off the top hinge! Luckily the bottom hing held. I learned not to tie to unsafe things after that! That could have been a disaster, I was really lucky. My Dad was able to fix the hinge and I don't think we even told the barn owner.

More recently, about a year ago, my gelding kicked through the sheet metal of his 3 sided shed and cut his leg BAD. Almost life-threatening sort of bad. Luckily my family heard it happen (it was the middle of the night) and I ran out there and got him doctored right away and it never got infected and even though it took about 7 months to heal, he came out sound.

So those are two of my scary stories.
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There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 05:08 PM
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I did not witness this happen; both my former roommates were animal science majors in college. One did something like an internship at an equine hospital for credit hours before she graduated and she told me of this encounter.

A mare was very close to having her baby. She had needed a procedure prior to this to partially stitch up her lady-bits to keep feces out (I was not aware of this prior, but apparently this is a problem with some mares?) This was also her first foal, so I'm not sure what caused this initial issue as it wasn't trauma from previous labor and delivery.

Anyway, apparently the plan was to remove this stitching prior to labor. But she was out in a field when she went into labor. Delivering the foal ripped open the stitching and also tore her anus... they brought the mare in for treatment, I don't remember if the foal survived or not.

It still makes me shudder to think about even though I didn't witness it. I've always wondered, if they knew their mare needed special medical attention immediately prior to delivery, WHY she was left out in a field. I know that accidents happen and horses will often foal while you're not watching but it just seems bizarre that this high-dollar horse was not put up in a barn or something. (This was a very expensive hospital in an area that mostly caters to race horses.)
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 05:15 PM
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I was about thirteen. It was winter and the horses and ponies were all fed hay in the fields when they were turned out. This wasn't easy as most of the fields were on steep hills.

I was the only one from my area, the others all loved in the opposite direction, they turned the ponies out and went to catch their bus which came along a few minutes earlier than mine.

I carried the bale up the slope to clean ground and threw out the wedges. We had been taught to make each pile a fair distance away from each other. I didn't do this as I wanted to catch the bus.

I missed it which meant a long walk home in the pouring rain. The couple who lived in the house next to the field called to me to come in and was the hour for the next one. I took them up on their offer.

I saw from their window two of the horses kick out at each other. Thought nothing about it. When I went out to get the bus, Nugget, a big black half shire mare was stood on her own with her front leg looking funny. When I went to see it was obviously broken above the knee.
I called the owner and his daughter came with him to see. They didn't believe my diagnosis.

They called the knackerman and I was taken home before the deed was done.

I always felt very guilty about that incident, it was my fault that it happened for not following the rules.
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 05:23 PM
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A couple years back, I was doing regular old turn-in taking in one of the horses I had known and hacked for years. A big old grumpy chestnut warmblood gelding I had never had any previous issues with. On my way up from the pastures to the stable, he just decided - for reasons I and witnesses still can't figure out to this day - to bolt forward and kick, and his back left hoof hit me square in the mouth. Was he stung by a bee? Spooked? No clue. All I know is that he wasn't wearing a chain that day, and he always had a chain on. I hate using chains and avoid using them as much as possible but I bet that might have kept him from pulling that stunt. I amazingly never lost consciousness (and still remember every detail of the accident), was brought inside, and an ambulance was called. I was lucky that I didn't break my neck, or even get a concussion! I got off with three missing teeth, 14 stitches, and $5k in dental surgery bills. I now have dental implants after something like four reconstructive surgeries. I'm not sure why, but when I went back to the stable two weeks after it happened, the first horse they asked me to ride? That old grumpy warmblood. I guess it did help to shut down any fear I might have had sooner rather than later. Never had any issues with him again after that.

Lesson learned - don't take your teeth for granted!
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 06:35 PM
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I've posted a thread about this before, but the one that definitely stands out to me as my scariest one is from a filly at Cherokee's home that was an absolute brat, and not the stubborn kind, the never disciplined, aggressive kind. At the time I hadn't seen any major aggression though, so wasn't terribly concerned about it.

I was doing some basic ground work with her, nothing strenuous. She kept trying to bite me, and each time she did I'd correct her then carry on with what I'd been doing, praising her when she behaved nicely. I was about to let her go and end on a good note when she made a move to bite again. Naturally I corrected her and sent her to work again, waiting for that break that told me she was listening and calm again. The little witch decides she's had enough, rears and starts striking at me with her front hooves. (Keep in mind I don't have training experience beyond basic discipline and the person in the pasture with me is scared of any aggression). I got hit a couple times, luckily only scratches and bruises, as I'm trying to correct her. Finally I had to let go of the rope, as it was either that or get myself killed, and when she came down I ran her off, but needless to say when the adrenaline wore off I was pretty shaken.

Was I at fault for putting myself in this situation? Yes. But it seemed harmless at the time, given that all she'd ever done (that I saw) was nip, which I can handle fine. For a long time I was wary of all horses after that, except for Cherokee, because I didn't know how to handle it. Even going in the pasture made me nervous, where I'd once been entirely confident. Before I left from there it had finally started to come back, but still wasn't where it had once been in that pasture at least. And I never gained full confidence back with her, not that it helped that she repeatedly came after me without provocation, like full blown charging with ears back, teeth bared, and rearing at me. I told her owner she had issues, I was told to just carry a crop to warn her off, which made sense, except that's her permanent solution, she has no intentions of training her to behave better!
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post #7 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 06:51 PM
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One scary event for me, I had a big part draft gelding and when I got him he was very afraid of water and water crossings, I spent a lot of the summer getting him used to crossing streams and small rivers and he got quite competent at it.

In the fall I went out for an early ride on a sunday morning to a lovely valley not far away, it had 3 river crossings, we did the first two and we were trotting along to the 3rd and we came across a car there, never saw one in this valley before. A man was standing outside and he called to his two companions Hey there's a woman. They scrambled out of the car and called me to come over, Not being a fool I didn't but went ahead and crossed the 3rd crossing. the only problem with this was it was a dead end and the only way out was back past these critters. I went behind a large bush to think over my options and I could hear them calling that I had to come back and they would be waiting for me.

I thought they would soon realize that the water was not that deep and might cross over so I decided to just make a run for it. I came trotting up to the water, bear in mind my boy had been very afraid of water before, I heard one guy say grab the horse so I gathered my reins up and took two good holds of the mane and just before we got to the water I put the boots to Ben and we were going to hit the water fast. I prayed he would not stop or falter. We hit the water running and Benny's big ears flat on his huge head and his great big feet slapping down into the water sending a big spray ahead of us and the critters jumped back out of the way. When I first got Ben he had a habit of running away with me so I said to him if you feel like running away now. Go For It!! We burned up the path until we got to the next crossing and I let him take it a bit easier.

I don't know what these characters had in mind and I sure did not want to find out.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 07:27 PM
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@Kalraii , I will dutifully regurgitate the steel gate story, just for you! It's the last time I was seriously hurt in a horse-riding accident, before breaking my foot in a tiny spook at the walk in the middle of last year. It was 26 years between major accidents, which really impressed the ER staff, who told me they have a few regulars who are horse riders - and that the most common reason they saw for the foot fractures I came in with was people slipping in the bathtub. (I always cite that at people who tell me, "And you're getting back on a horse?" ...I'm not giving up bathing either... )


A photo from the year in question...

So, the worst accident I ever had with my normally well-behaved but forward as a firecracker late Arabian mare was when she was ridiculously in heat, and I (younger and less wise) insisted on her doing her "arithmetic" with me even though there were three highly willing stallions around with eyes on stalks. We ended up getting stuck behind a fencepost - my knee was trapped - and then my mare, freaked out at the resistance and with me incommunicado due to pain, tried to gallop forward full tilt, the momentum of which rebounded us into the tubular steel gate behind the post, at which point I finally, thankfully, fell off and my horse got away, but not before I'd had to kick with my free leg at the foot of my injured leg which had got stuck in the stirrup because all normal nerve function to that leg was temporarily suspended. ...I'm so glad the "kick at the stirrup if you get trapped" mantra had been drummed into me. That was, in typical accordance with Murphy's Law, also the only time my foot ever got trapped in a stirrup, and yes, it was a nice wide English stirrup, just my injured leg wasn't cooperating. The foot slipped too far into the stirrup before I fell...

Around a decade later, a Biology student of mine about to do final exams also riding a mare in heat got trapped and dragged after a tussle culminating in a fall, and she could not free herself, and the horse ended up stepping into her face and crushing her cheekbone and eye socket so she needed reconstructive surgery. Jade, a very experienced rider, was a trooper though - ended up top of the state in her Biology examination after cramming in the hospital, and became a veterinarian. Yep, she continued to ride her mare even though her parents wanted to shoot it, but had no more such episodes after reconsidering what kind of demands were wise to make when a mare is completely ballistic with oestrogen...

Returning to my own accident, they needed a pipe bender to get the gate back into shape, and my left leg was rainbow-coloured for weeks afterwards. The whole stupid situation was squarely my fault because I had failed to use my brain, so I saw no need to chastise my already agitated mare, who was just fine the next time I was able to get into a saddle, and she was also no longer in heat. Sometimes I think we can create rods for our own backs by not doing things differently in hormonal circumstances. So I gave myself a good kick up the backside and learnt from the experience.


I've still got the souvenir from that day in my early 20s, now at the tail end of my 40s: A hard bone lump under my left knee, about the size of a flattened grape, due to the bruising of the periosteum - the membrane around the bone - in that accident. The gate bar in that accident was crushing just under my knee, and the horse had its weight on me...

Now for the amazing Science aspect: Blood pooled under the periosteum at that spot, and clotted there. When that happens, osteocytes (bone-making cells) invade the clot and make it into bone! It's part of their programming for bone formation, remodelling and repair, and a side-effect is permanent lumps from injuries where blood collects under the periosteum. (When you break a bone, blood clots between broken fragments are invaded by osteocytes in the same way, and this gives you new bone to knit the broken pieces together.)

It's possible that evacuating the blood clot after the injury would prevent the formation of that lump, but that would most likely not be something that could be cleanly done by syringe - would probably need surgery, and that's usually not warranted. So, I have a lifelong souvenir to go with my accident story!

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 05-12-2019 at 07:33 PM.
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 07:59 PM
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I just wanted to say that I've clicked "like" on this thread for the storytelling, not because I like what happened to the people / horses in the stories...
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post #10 of 26 Old 05-12-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
One scary event for me, I had a big part draft gelding and when I got him he was very afraid of water and water crossings, I spent a lot of the summer getting him used to crossing streams and small rivers and he got quite competent at it.

In the fall I went out for an early ride on a sunday morning to a lovely valley not far away, it had 3 river crossings, we did the first two and we were trotting along to the 3rd and we came across a car there, never saw one in this valley before. A man was standing outside and he called to his two companions Hey there's a woman. They scrambled out of the car and called me to come over, Not being a fool I didn't but went ahead and crossed the 3rd crossing. the only problem with this was it was a dead end and the only way out was back past these critters. I went behind a large bush to think over my options and I could hear them calling that I had to come back and they would be waiting for me.

I thought they would soon realize that the water was not that deep and might cross over so I decided to just make a run for it. I came trotting up to the water, bear in mind my boy had been very afraid of water before, I heard one guy say grab the horse so I gathered my reins up and took two good holds of the mane and just before we got to the water I put the boots to Ben and we were going to hit the water fast. I prayed he would not stop or falter. We hit the water running and Benny's big ears flat on his huge head and his great big feet slapping down into the water sending a big spray ahead of us and the critters jumped back out of the way. When I first got Ben he had a habit of running away with me so I said to him if you feel like running away now. Go For It!! We burned up the path until we got to the next crossing and I let him take it a bit easier.

I don't know what these characters had in mind and I sure did not want to find out.

That is REALLY scary! I've met a few strange people in the woods, but not like that (knock on wood!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindHorseEnthusiast4582 View Post
I've posted a thread about this before, but the one that definitely stands out to me as my scariest one is from a filly at Cherokee's home that was an absolute brat, and not the stubborn kind, the never disciplined, aggressive kind. At the time I hadn't seen any major aggression though, so wasn't terribly concerned about it.

I was doing some basic ground work with her, nothing strenuous. She kept trying to bite me, and each time she did I'd correct her then carry on with what I'd been doing, praising her when she behaved nicely. I was about to let her go and end on a good note when she made a move to bite again. Naturally I corrected her and sent her to work again, waiting for that break that told me she was listening and calm again. The little witch decides she's had enough, rears and starts striking at me with her front hooves. (Keep in mind I don't have training experience beyond basic discipline and the person in the pasture with me is scared of any aggression). I got hit a couple times, luckily only scratches and bruises, as I'm trying to correct her. Finally I had to let go of the rope, as it was either that or get myself killed, and when she came down I ran her off, but needless to say when the adrenaline wore off I was pretty shaken.

Was I at fault for putting myself in this situation? Yes. But it seemed harmless at the time, given that all she'd ever done (that I saw) was nip, which I can handle fine. For a long time I was wary of all horses after that, except for Cherokee, because I didn't know how to handle it. Even going in the pasture made me nervous, where I'd once been entirely confident. Before I left from there it had finally started to come back, but still wasn't where it had once been in that pasture at least. And I never gained full confidence back with her, not that it helped that she repeatedly came after me without provocation, like full blown charging with ears back, teeth bared, and rearing at me. I told her owner she had issues, I was told to just carry a crop to warn her off, which made sense, except that's her permanent solution, she has no intentions of training her to behave better!
This reminds me of another story I have. We evacuated from a major forest fire and couldn't get the horses out (we didn't have a trailer at that point in time.....we do now!). So we turned the horses out in a neighbor's field with a pond, hoping they would be fine, but still worrying like heck. And once you evacuate, they won't let you back in. So, one of my neighbor's arranges for someone still in the area to go catch my horses and take them to the next town. Out of three, they could only catch one.

So finally, they lift evacuation orders after 11 days and we go home. Luckily we still have a home. And the next day we go to retrieve my one horse that DID get evacuated. I get there and the guy that is the horseman isn't home. Only his elderly wife, who doesn't know anything about the horses. But I talk her into letting me get my horse and I had to go through another large pen with horses to retrieve mine. So I open the gate and this horse CHARGES me. Like she means it! (I thought it must have been a stallion, but no, it's a grumpy old mare). I stand my ground and she slides to a halt. I look at my best friend, who was standing nearby, and said, one more second and I would have gotten out of the way!

What's funny is that I wasn't scared, because I always figured that a horse would never intentionally run over a person. So it never even occured to me that I should get out of the way. I guess I called her bluff, but she very nearly called mine! I wonder if she expected me to get out of her way? Probably! I have never had a horse charge me like that, before or after. It was memorable!

There's a lot of stupid out there!

Last edited by trailhorserider; 05-12-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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