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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Overlook to Poverty Bar Part 1

Loreleigh - I have a confession - I've never liked your horse. That being said, I did not intentionally try to kill, harm, or maim her in anyway yesterday. She apparently uses that "mustang" sense to do it to herself, thank you very much.

Sally and me have always had an uneasy truce. When I looked into her eyes I saw a confident, too-smart, fat, coarse little mustang who didn't have my best interests in mind. I'm pretty sure that she saw me as the short stupid human who wasn't easily intimidated, dominated, or pushed, and therefore was annoying. I'm sure we could have come to an amiable relationship given some time, but because I didn't ride her and had limited contact, honestly, it wasn't worth my time to go out of my way to befriend her. Sally agreed.

Of course that changes when Sally is a "predicament" and Melinda is her only hope. *evil laughter*.

Should I get to the disaster portion of the ride or tell things in chronological order?


Well......telling things out of order is one of those literary tool thingys my english teacher was always trying to get us to use.......

Katy and I had just finished a fabulous ride. While it was hot, and I'm sure Sally was a little tired, every thing seemed well. After making sure both horses were eating and drinking and we cooled them off with the handy hose at the overlook and loaded them up. As Katy drove away I took a couple of minute in the parking lot to set up my GPS and then drove out of the overlook to the first stop sign. I touched my brakes twice and both times they JERKED my trailer. What the heck?????? I stopped at the stop sign and put my emergency flashers on to see what was going on what my brakes. While I was outside, my trailer jerked again and I started counting noses.




Uh oh.....

I threw open my back door. Sally was down in the trailer, in the back stall, with her feet under Farley's in the stall ahead of her. Thank goodness for breakaway trailer ties! She rolled a couple of times onto her back and then back to her side. There was no way she had enough room to stand up again. She kept kicking Farley's back legs with her legs. She was wedged in diagonally. The only way this was going to work was for me to drag her out of the trailer.

By this time I had help - cars had stopped to help me and one guy seemed to know a little bit about horses. I was extremely worried about safety. Sally is a mustang and extremely defensive about her back feet. To get to her head, I had to lean over her back end to grab the end of her lead rope (her leadrope doesn't detach from her halter so I had tied it around her neck). Pulling her head was not the answer, wrong pivot point, so we focused on the hind end. I dug up a rope that was too short for my comfort but would work, and put it around her hocks. By this time Sally had entered that "give up, shut down" stage that horses seemed to do when in situations of extreme stress. As two people pulled her tail and pulled her hocks, we got her body pivoted around so she was straight instead of diagonal. One more good pull and her back feet were on the ground and she would be able to get on her feet. Except....NOW HER BACK FEET WERE UNDER THE TRAILER. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I pulled on the hock rope and got her feet in a more acceptable position. Thank goodness she didn't have shoes on.

She didn't want to get up. She was totally out of it.

Me screaming like a banshee and slapping her flanks did the trick.

Sally ALWAYS knows where her feet are. We have NEVER seen her trip on the trail. When she got up, this fat little horsey did just that - no scrambling, no excess movement, no slipping - she just got up. Her front feet were in the trailer and her back feet were on the pavement. What was her next move?

She stepped back into the trailer.

Well it's nice to see wasn't traumatized or anything....

I backed her out and led her around a bit. She looked a little stressed still. Gut sounds still sounded good. A little dehydrated, but not bad. Eating. Nothing for it except to trailer her back in. I have no idea why she went down. I drove SO carefully home. I checked 3 times on the way home and counted noses.

By the time I got to the stable (1 hour) she was back to normal. Perky, looked great, bossed the other horses, immediately started to eat her own hay etc.

I think Sally and I have bonded. I'm sure she felt very vulnerable laying there. With all the strangers around her, I was the only familiar one. She had to trust me to allow me to do what I did (I'm choosing that option over - "the horse was so out of it, you could have been a butcher and she wouldn't have cared"). When the chips were down, she let me know what I had to do, and she did what I told her. I feel more sympathy for her. Even mustangs need help sometimes, Sally. You don't have to pretend you're invincible. When I unloaded her out of the trailer at the stable, I'm sure I felt a spark of a new beginning between her and me.

So why did she go down? This is what I do know - she didn't slip, she didn't fall. If she went down, it was a deliberate decision. My first fear was colic, but now I'm sure that wasn't it. I have finally come to this hypothesis - There was a lot more room in the slant stall than she usually has in my Dad's 2 horse straight (older) load. Looking back, she was sweaty and itchy, and even though we hosed her off, she probably would have appreciated a good roll. Instead I loaded her up in my trailer. While sitting still in the parking lot, she probably thought that it was a good opportunity to get that roll in. That would explain why when I opened the trailer she was rolling on her back, it was only after that she went into a more "I can't get up semi-panic mode". Silly horse. On our next ride I'll give her to opportunity to roll before loading. It takes a lot of pressure to separate my breakaway ties in my trailer so she was either - very determined, or did half way fall when she started to go down.

OK - back to the actual trail ride. Looks like that will be part 2! (don't worry - everything went well and I sure the post will be positively boring!)


  1. wow sounds like you had quite the adventure

    i had one too sans horses but while i had awesome rides this weekend, suffice it to say I look like "rocky raccoon"

    be safe

  2. I can't believe my sister felt that way about my horse, especially with what SHE rides. I need to go check on my poor little pony to make sure she isn't TRAMATIZED for LIFE :)

  3. wow mel-y
    sounds like you had a fun one. though...I wouldn't count Sally in your round pen *quite* yet. those mustangs are tricksy

  4. hmmm, Mustangs ... I know the kind all too well. Let me just say this. I can guaranteee you that if this were any other brred of horse, chances are pretty good that they would have been severely injured or worse.. maybe dead. And, they probably wouldn't have gotten right back into that trailer. Stressful situation for you and her no doubt but what an opportunity for you both to learn something about one another. That point in which she stopped because she appeared to be "out of it" was likely the mustang sense kicked in full gear. She simply knew it would hurt her more to fight it. She knew you were there to help and she allowed that to happen. This story is exactly why I went to the Barbs as my preferred horse. Accidents can happen and any breed of horse can find themselves in a tight spot but the difference is how the horse manages itself in those situations. Good job on both your parts.Sounds like you are both off to new beginnings.. BTW: what herd is she from?

  5. She's out of the Lassen herd here in California. If Loreleigh logs back on, she can chime in with more info.

    The other breed that tends to be very smart about situations like this are Standardbreds. I've dealt with a LOT of horse wrecks involving harness and Standardbreds and in all cases they just laid/stood there waiting for us people to get them out of it. That is only one of many reasons I am a HUGE Standardbred fan. I used to think it was their race track training, but now I'm convinced that it is just how they are wired.


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