Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Didn't mean to hurt you

This past weekend I washed tails on my gray mares. I decided it's just too cold for a full body wash, unfortunately. On recommendation from A horse crazy American in Germany I bought the purple stuff- Quic Silver. It does work! I took "before" photos but I want to get them a little cleaner for the "after" shots. So I will post them eventually.

I had a very bad time with Annie however. I wrapped her lead over the cross tie post rather than tying it because she has a terrible habit of sitting back and getting hurt. True to form, she did not disappoint. She pulled back and the rope snugged up rather than falling free. It was terrifying! I was so afraid the post would snap in half. It happened once before when she was cross tied and she got all cut up with the post dangling between her legs.

I tried to calm her and release the rope. I don't know whether she or I was more terrified at this point. Then she settled down and I loosened the rope and rubbed her neck and face, calming her. I then reset the rope against the tie ring, not even wrapped and she pulled back again! Again, the rope somehow got "fixed" and she panicked. Pulling back and plunging forward and sitting back again. I again calmed her down and loosened the rope. I don't even know how it got tight this time. I couldn't find any damage although I was sure she hit the post at least once.

I gave up and took her in the barn to finish the job. In the barn I just lay the rope over the stall door and she stood really well. I brushed her down, put hoof conditioner on her feet, fed her cookies and put her away.

I get so tired of her manic panic attacks. She has been hurt so many times because of them. Last year, my horseshoer came early one day and decided to start on the horses before I arrived. I have always held them in hand when he trims. They are very good for him but I enjoy spending a little one on one with them and seeing how their feet are. Anyway, he tied Annie to pipe rails in the corner of her stall paddock. She panicked and pulled back.

My neighbor saw all the commotion from her upstairs window and called me. She couldn't tell what was happening exactly. I felt so helpless as I was driving home from work. It sounded like the horseshoer was killing my horse! She said he was beating her and she was rearing. When I did get there everything was already settled down. The horseshoer met me and said everything was okay and that all three horses had been trimmed. I paid him and went to see the horses and assess the damages.

Annie had battle scars! Her face was scraped in several places from the halter.

Doesn't she look defeated in those photos? Poor baby!

She even had a cut at her throatlatch.

Her knee had a nasty laceration on the side.

The fence had even lost it's weld and the rail fell shortly after! Although I don't know how this rail fell because she was tied in the corner according to the farrier.

I was stunned!! He was wrong to be there without me. However, I never told him about Annie's tying issues. She was always very good for him in the past because I held her. I think he was still in shock when I talked to him afterwards. He could have killed my horse or been killed himself!

I debated whether to cancel his services and even sue him. But Annie did heal and although she has a scar on her leg, she is completely sound. It's so hard to find, and keep, good farriers. He is fast and the horses seem to like him. He is always on time too. Was it my fault too, for not telling him she wouldn't tie? In the end, I decided it was a horrific accident and not really his fault. Now he waits for me to be there.

What would you have done?
And, how can I train her to tie??

Didn't mean to hurt you - song: Sorry, artist: Tin Machine, album: Tin Machine II


Cara said...

If she doesn't need to go to shows or competitons, or be riiden or handled by all kinds of peple, she doesn't need to know. The farrier was definitely out of line. He should at least comp the job.

You can put a note on her stall. If she was cilcky, It would say "Do not feed." If she had a food allergy or problem, the sign would say
"No Treats" or
"Alfalfa Only."
Hers would say
"Do not tie."

At the large facility where I board, there are a few of these. Not many, but 230 horses is a lot on one place. The ones in pasture with other horses have their sign at the gate, with their picture on it and any distinguishing markings.

Why would anyone need to know? Besides vets and farriers, of course. A couple years ago there was an arson fire on the next door property. The boarders who happened to be there, as well as the employees, moved a lot of horses to safer areas.

Fantastyk Voyager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fantastyk Voyager said...

Thanks for the reply, Cara.
That is a good suggestion about the sign. However, there's only my three horses- so I guess it's just my dirty little secret.
Actually, I don't really need her to tie except that I'd like to go on trail rides next year. I've considered teaching her to hobble but I'm not 100% sure how to go about that either.
Any suggestions on how to cure this tying problem?
It's been suggested to tie her high and let her fight it out but I'm afraid if I tie her to the barn rafters she'll pull the barn down! I've also thought of bungee ties which I use when I trailer her but the problem with those is you never know when they wear out and break. Then she could really get hurt!!

Melanie said...

About the farrier...you are right, he should not have been there without you, and if he was having problems with Annie, he should have put her away and waited until you were around.

About the tying issues...my mom's old QH mare had the exact issue for the 15 years that we had her. We tried everything, and nothing worked. She would literally tear down the barn, so it got to the point that we just had to loop the rope around something, so that if she pulled back, she was free.

Have you ever tried cross ties? Sometimes that works better, and sometimes not. It didn't help with my mom's mare, but I know some that will tolerate them vs just being tied regularly. Just a thought! :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Hi Melanie, thanks for visiting.

Yes, once she was crosstied and broke one of the two posts she was tied to. Wooden posts turn into sharp pointed stakes when they break so she was very lucky not to impale herself as she lunged forward. She did manage to cut her legs up with the piece dangling. I think I will continue with the hobbling as my best solution. I want to take her trail riding and not tieing could be a big problem.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hey Val,

I don't have anything helpful to add. Just wanted you to know that I think Annie is one very special and beautiful mare. Yes, she's got her issues, but she also has some wonderful attributes, too. And we've already seen some of the exciting surprises and abilities she has the capability for, just over this past year.

Annie is a lovely free spirit and very smart. You know she has the ability to learn anything. See how far she's come as a trail horse? Look at how quickly she figured out trailering, even though the confinement is something so difficult for her. She reaches somewhere deep in her proud Arabian spirit for the courage to remain calm and brave.

I believe Annie has many more exciting surprises in store for you over the next, and better half of her life. :)


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Aww, Lisa, such sweet comments although I don't know about the "quick" trailer loading!!

lytha said...

oh, i'm sorry you had trouble with her. i have never gone through the horror of having a horse seriously hurt itself while sitting back.

last year i leased a TB who does not tie, and my solution for her was to tie her to things that will not break, with a rope halter and snap-free rope that will not break. she tried to break everything, but failed. eventually she stopped it - but i only tied her this way, i never tried a normal halter or rope, and i never tied her to anything she might be able to break.

i guess i was lucky she didn't hurt herself, but my solution worked for me. she learned she couldn't break it and she quit trying. but i don't think she'll ever be "cured" cuz she likes breaking things when given a chance.

mugwump says she fixes this by only looping, not tying, and always using 30 or 40 feet of rope, and they've never run out of rope no matter how long they fight. i've never seen this work, but i tend to believe her.

sorry i can't be of more help - i know it's a frustrating, dangerous problem to have.

she sure is gorgeous, thanks for sharing.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Lytha, thanks for the suggestions.
It's not usualy a problem because I've learned to deal with it but it would be nice to solve.