Wednesday night I went out to clean/feed/water/graze the horses. Guys, I made a mistake Tuesday; I'm going to share this story in hopes that other new-to-owning their own horse folks won't make it. Tired of cleaning up uneaten, spoiled hay I decided to use hay nets for the horses. The Nibble Net was already in the round pen and an unused rope hay net was hanging nearby that I decided to put in Q's stall. Q has not eaten well from the Nibble Net in the past even when primed by me with hay pulled out of every hole.
Now I've heard horror stories about hay nets. I have. Most revolved around trailers though and for some reason that knowledge just went out the window when I tied it up in Q's stall. Knowledge out the window + the obvious physics of full hay net vs. empty hay net dimensions out the window.
Enter Wednesday night: I arrive. Jeanna is there prepping momma and baby for some small training sessions to engage their minds. I let her know I'm letting my guys out to run around. They're used to me showing up and immediately letting them out of confinement to graze. Jeanna says to wait so she can contain hers, no big deal! Completely agree and understand. Well, not my horses. Griffin is pawing in the round pen, Q is pawing in her stall. She had never pawed in her stall before this; outside of it, yes, in it, no. But paw she did. And she must have gotten her foot stuck in that damn hay net. Instead of being a normal horse who is polite and well-mannered and adjusted to things like this (which she is) and just dancing a bit until it jiggled out again - she flipped out. Completely and totally flipped out. She jerked, spazzed, slipped, fell, cast herself, flung her feet and head against the wall and stall door, sent the hanging water bucket flying. She kicked and thrashed and kicked and thrashed. Jeanna and I stood in shock and horror. We couldn't open or go in without fear of hurting ourselves or her more. In less than 30 seconds, though it seemed like time stopped and made it last longer, she was free and standing. She was shaking more than I've ever seen another horse shake. Nostrils flared, blowing air in terror. Knees bent standing on her toes. Shaking in sheer terror. She wobbled around the stall on her toes shaking, blowing. Jeanna and I talked to her. Calmed her. Comforted her. And then I got her out and walked her around slowly.
She was sound.
Another bullet dodged. Narrowly. Never will I ever put a hay net like that in a stall again. Ever.
Assured Q was okay and sound for real, I let Griffin out.
He. Was. Crazy. And that's putting it mildly. Bucking. Spinning. Galloping. Acrobatics.
Q in red hot heat and Griffin being a nut is not a good combo. I had walked her around for a few minutes then surrendered her to the dragging lead rope as she had calmed per her norm and was busy being a S-L-U-T SLUT along the fenceline with her boyfriends. I went back in the barn and began the cleaning process. I hadn't been in there but 5 minutes, maybe a little more when galloping ensues. HORSES.
I go out to find Griffin being a NUT and Q walking fast, then trotting with him. He continues. The other boys get involved. Q begins cantering and galloping and evading my every move - and D's! I was losing even more years off my life.
Within another 30 some second time-frame of anxiety Q stopped. I ushered Griffin out into the field and tied her up. CRAZY HORSES.
I sponge-bathed her. She mellowed right down. This little mare really loves to be primped. She even let me wash her face. I found a series of VERY superficial cuts - just enough to rub hair and tippy-top layer of skin off - all over her legs and face from her stall incident. UGH. Luckily though, the wound was no worse for the wear, the scab had just cracked open a little, much as you or I would break one if we moved to much too soon in healing. I was so stressed and cranky. I was telling Q I hoped she liked being tied like this because this was how the next week + of stall rest were going to go.
I led her around post-sponge bath and let her graze and watch Jeanna work on flexing with momma horse. I then put her back in her stall (with the Nibble Net - weight loss be damned) and went to fetch Mayer from the far field thinking two red-hot-heat mares together might be better company than Griffin. Besides, Mayer needed to diet.
I went out Thursday night to find 1. Q's stall so, so clean thanks to the Nibble Net, 2. Q had only eaten what I'd primed and no more (sad face) 3. a very mellow Q - yay hormonal girl horse company (happy face). I haltered her and led her out of the barn (put Mayer in her stall). She was really surprised when I led her through the gate and into the field. I walked her over toward the other horses. She was excited but not being a loon.
Griffin and Saja ran over to greet her. Oliver followed suit as well. Greetings were given. A little squeal, but
I walked her around the field with the other horses for a few minutes longer. She was a bit of a slut with all the boys, but she wasn't crazy and trying to run around. And so, I granted her freedom. She continued to walk slowly around teasing the boys and then went to "her" baby and everyone grazed and was happy. No drama! As I drove away I could see one very happy little mare grazing quietly with all her friends. (D promised to call if she observed her being a nut and running.)
Friday I headed out with a friend from ski patrol with our dogs to hike the trail and see if we could find what hurt Q. I can report after 59 ticks forcibly removed from Kenai, 2 from myself, 3 from the back of the car, unknown number from Dog #2 and 7 off my friend that there were no sticks, no sharp protruding rocks, and no obvious reason for her to have received such a deep injury. It was truly a freak accident. All I can assume is that the force of her leg rubbing one of these rocks tore the skin deep and cut the ligament, too. But we were at a walk? I guess the little bit of a slip/hip check movement I felt with the aid of gravity was enough. It will forever be a mystery. Examine the photos below for yourselves and let me know if you have any other hypotheses.
|Beautiful green Appalachian springtime|
|Kenai standing above the rock|
|Standing at the step down where Q cut herself - but on what?!|
|Mattie lying below the step down for the rock. Q got the injury by slipping to the uphill side|
|Hard to imagine what delivered that wound....|
|Ticks. I removed 2 from myself, 59 from Kenai, there were 3 in my friends car, 7 on him, and unknown # on his dog so far.|