Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Horse Through a Fence

So I'm lying on the couch on a Wednesday afternoon, the one day I don't have class, and I'm enjoying not prepping like mad for my 3-hour night class.  I'm appreciating the quiet, calm afternoon with no lessons in the arena and most all the horses napping quietly in their cool, shady stalls.  I'm half-way dozing, barely paying attention to a movie I'd DVR'ed the week before, which isn't as interesting as I'd thought it would be.

I'm doing all this casual resting, and truly loving any resting opportunity during this busy summer, when, outside my front window, a horse butt goes moseying by, tail swishing gently.

Um... what?  That's not a location where any unsupervised horse should be moseying...

So my first thought was Is someone here?  Did Boarder M get a horse out?  (Actually my first thought was, did I just see a horse go by? but that seems too ridiculous to even mention.)

I got up, slid the sliding glass door open, and sneaked a peek, just in time to see a horse butt slip around the corner of the house, the horse stepping gently over the downspout at the corner.

Okay, nobody goes off the driveway and walks a horse that close to our house, so I don't think someone is here and got a horse out.

So I turn around and look out the windows on the opposite side of the house to see that the back fence on the pasture behind my house, the one with the run-in shed where the two racetrack horses live outside 24x7 while they're on layup for the summer, is down and straggling out into the hay meadow beyond it.

Uh-oh.  Someone went through the fence. Goddamn helicopter! 
No horses were life-flighted in this episode

The regional medical center's life-flight chopper had strafed the farm an hour earlier.  Though we're in the routine flight path to the hospital 5 miles from here, never before had I seen it come in that close and that hot.  A low visibility ceiling that morning, and clearly an emergent emergency on-board, had them in at about 75 feet and moving fast.  When it had gone by, I peeked out back to check on the two track horses, and saw the colt contentedly grazing.  Because he was so placid, and because they are never more than two feet away from one-another, I figured the filly was right there with him, just out of my field of vision, not bothered at all by the chopper.
Best friends, always together.

Evidently, I figured wrong.

After getting my shoes on, I go out back to find the filly on the outside of her pasture gate, trying to get back in, while the colt stood on the inside wondering how she got out there.  Well, okay, I can catch her.

And then I see her hind legs.

From the hocks to the fetlocks, she is criss-crossed with little slices, most of which are just an inch or two long, and barely even open, not more than a 1/4" deep.  A bunch of nasty little cuts, and I mean a bunch of them-- probably a dozen on the left, and maybe four on the right-- but none too terribly bad.  Not pretty, stinging like hell, I'm sure, but nothing horrifying.  Bleeding, attracting flies, but nothing life-threatening.  I feel terrible that she's been hurt, and even worse when I think about how much she was getting repeatedly zapped by the fence while she was tangled in it, but I am relieved to assess that both legs will likely remain attached and viable.

So, I halter her up, along with her boyfriend, and haul them down to the barn to look at them carefully, in out of the flies.

The big, ugly one...
I decide the one long, and slightly deeper, cut on the RH deserves some attention, so I call the trainer at the track.  As luck would have it, she has the afternoon off, the trailer is on her truck, and she can be here in 20 minutes.  If the cut needs suturing, she can haul back to the track and have the track vet do it much more easily, and quickly, than having us call our vet and waiting for her to arrive.

So, they do just that.  The trainer comes with her whole medical kit, and is 90% certain she could just treat on-farm, but this one cut looks a little nastier, and so she hauls the filly to the track and gets her stitched up.  Filly spends a week in a stall at the track, and then returns to us to continue her summer vacation, healing nicely.

After the filly trailers out, I go out to fix 50' of fence.  I realize during my repairs that, based on the way the fence is  strung out across the hay meadow, the way the insulators are  broken, and the nature of the injuries to the filly, that she tried to jump it and almost made it.  Hmmm... these standardbreds are really nice horses to work with... maybe we need to get one and see if we can make an eventer out of her...

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