A Horse Is An Accident Looking For A Place To Happen

August 11th, 2014 15 Comments

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An old Marine Corps joke:

Question: “What happens if you lock a Marine in a padded cell with a bowling ball?”

Answer: “In twenty-four hours he will either lose it, break it, or (insert fine old Anglo-Saxon verb meaning to copulate) it.”

Horses remind me of that joke. Just before he left our place with lots, I mean lots, of our money in his hand, our vet responded to an anguished question from my bride by saying that if he were going to use a place to demonstrate the proper care of horses, in particular what kind of fencing is best, he would use our place.

You can already tell where this going.

Darleen woke me bright and surly Sunday morning, shortly before the break of dawn, to announce that her mare Rosie, had cut herself to ribbons. It was only a slight exaggeration. By the time I got my clothes on and made it down to the barn, Darleen had already rinsed the dirt out of the cuts with Betadine, but blood was still flowing out of two of the cuts, one fore, one aft, but what stunned me was that all four legs were cut to some extent. If you live with horses long enough, you’ll see everything, as well as some things that are technically impossible, so I’ve seen my fair share of leg cuts from horses that got themselves hung up in a fence, but all four legs? That high up?

It struck me as so odd that while we waited for the vet, I walked the fence line in the pasture where Rosie spent the night. I suspected it was a case of her getting hung up, but part of me honestly thought it might have been an attack by an animal—some moron’s dogs running loose, perhaps a starving and desperate mountain lion—because all four legs, and cuts that high up, struck me as out of the ordinary.

Nah. It was just routine, run of the mill, par-for-the-course horse behavior.

It took me a while to find the damage because the portion of the fence where she had gotten herself hung up (think “tangled) was the portion I was most proud of, the one part where I had managed to put up horse-wire (the safest equine fencing there is) and railroad ties over uneven ground, but keeping the horse-wire up high enough that even if a horse were dumb enough to lie down right in that particular spot, and even if she were able to compound her stupidity by rolling into the fence, there would always be enough space between the ground and the bottom wire that she couldn’t possibly get hung up.

(If you read the above sentence again, you’ll see an excellent example of human frailty and stupidity in anyone imagining he can ever come close to overestimating a horse’s ability to get itself into trouble.)

I have no idea how she did it.

The bad news is that the money Darleen and I had earmarked for our first vacation in over ten years is now in the hands of our vet. (Emergency call; ranch visit; Sunday morning; tranquilizers; pain-killers; surgical procedure; stitches; bandaging and vet-wrap supplies; tetanus booster; penicillin; bute (an oral pain-killer for horses); multiple and varied topical cleansers, antiseptics, and fly-repellents; and of course the special, dreaded getting-your-vet-out-of-bed-on-his-day-off-when-he-could-be-lingering-with-his-wife fee, a fee that has been known to cause stronger and richer men than I to burst into tears and curl up into the fetal position.

The good news is Miss Rosie will be fine. Her owners’ nerves are shot, their checking account depleted, their sleep-deficit quotient is on overload, and Pete the Boxer missed his morning walk, but she will be fine.

Now I have to go fix the (insert adjective form of fine old Anglo-Saxon word meaning to copulate) fence.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad the horse will be fine. I know the feeling of saving up for something fun and then having to spend it early on an emergency, despite having an emergency fund point set aside for unforeseen emergencies (just not enough).

    As a former Merchant Mariner, one expletive may not be enough. Try stringing several together with obscure references to body parts and mammals for a truly stunning affect on anybody who may overhear you. Those days of cursing are behind me… mostly. But it always brings a tear to my eye and fond memories of shipmate chums when I hear a string of profanity that could kill a badger dead in its tracks.

    TD Bauer

  2. Anonymous says:

    Horses are dumb aren’t they? I still do not know if the horse tried to get over the fence or under it. Why would a horse do that anyway? Did the horse think that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence?
    Yep, that the way it usually goes. Just when you think you have enough money saved something major happens. I have been trying to pay down some of our debt and then our kitchen sink got clogged. You would think that would be no problem, but I tried drano, I tried plunging and nothing. So I had to call a plumber. The service call was seventy-five dollar. Round one. The plumber came and tried to snake the drain. His snake was not large enough so he had to get a larger one and he would not be back to the next day. Round two. The next day he came with a larger snake and it still did not work. He said the main pipe was clogged with grease. He would have to come back the next day with a water blower to try to force it out. We have plumbing insurance, but the insurance would not cover this. The price three hundred dollars and one hundred and fifty down. I had to get our credit card and pay on that. Round three. The plumber came back with the water blower and tried that it did not work. At this point he said he would have to come back with parts and replace the pipe. It might require the slab to be broken up. Round four. By this time we had been without kitchen sink for a week and they had to wait for the part. It took almost another week until the parts came. Round five after waiting for almost two weeks with no kitchen sink finally they were able to get the pipe replaced and fixed. Grand total eight hundred and ninety dollars.

  3. Anonymous says:

    By the way God help you if you ever have to go to the emergency room on Sunday. When our son was a kid he injured his eye with a bungee cord. That was Sunday afternoon. We sat in the waiting area and in the emergency room all of Sunday night. Finally, somewhere about three a.m. in the morning a nurse came in and said that they had to get an eye specialist. There was no eye specialist who was going to come in on Sunday so they had to admit my son to the hospital to wait for the specialist to come in some time Monday after nine a.m.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pauvre Rosie !!!! Je comprends votre désarroi !!!! On pense mettre nos animaux à l’abri dans des lieux adaptés pour eux et finalement un accident peut quand même arriver !!!! Et dès que l’on fait appel à un vétérinaire, ça coûte très cher.
    Il y a tellement d’abandons d’animaux que c’est rassurant de voir que des familles pensent à la santé de leurs animaux avant de penser aux vacances !!!!!
    Bon courage pour fixer fermement votre clôture !!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    I’m relieved to read the horse is doing better and I’m convinced so are you and your wife. So sorry for your vacation. But if you want to make God laugh start making plans….. 😉 .
    Don’t worry, you’ve had no choice.

    Best wishes


  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, considering recent history on the Parker Spread, you should at least be thankful that this time you weren’t on and/or under the horse during this episode! And you have HORSES and try to plan vacations? My, talk about ambition! And I will agree that horses can get into some unbelievable fixes, despite all precautions, but in my experiences, the champeenz of the animal world for getting into the most impossible situations are GOATS! And not because they are dumb, quite the contrary, but because they are willing to think up and try new things! Perhaps you don’t hear as much about the goat conundrums, because folks feel less guilty in eating them, rather than calling in the vets………the old L. B.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

    John Lennon

    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon137162.html#BB4ELYxUaWT8qkul.99

  8. Anonymous says:

    Spending your savings on an emergency? Classic.

    The first time we had to do that was a vet bill for our cat who jumped out a third-story window (there was an in-season female in the alley below). His only injuries were a broken foot and a broken front tooth.

    Me, it’s been 20 years and I get heart palpitations just remembering it!

  9. Anonymous says:

    For your amusement I googled Murphy’s horse laws. I knew that there had to be some. So here they are.

    Murphy’s horse laws
    If you do a thorough check of your trailer before hauling, your truck will break down
    There is no such thing as a sterile barn cat
    No one ever notices how you ride until you fall off
    The least useful horse in your barn will eat the most, require shoes every four weeks and need the vet at least once a month
    A horse’s misbehavior will be in direct proportion to the number of people who are watching
    If you’re wondering if you left the water on in the barn, you did
    If you’re wondering if you latched the pasture gate, you didn’t
    Hoof picks migrate
    The last 8 laws were sent by Cecilia Porter
    Tack you hate never wears out
    Blankets you hate cannot be destroyed
    Horses you hate cannot be sold and will outlive you
    Clipper blades will become dull only when the horse is half finished
    Clipper motors will quit only when you have the horse’s head left to trim
    If you approach within 50 feet of the barn in your “street clothes”, you will get dirty
    You can’t push a horse on a lunge line
    If a horse is advertised “under $5,000” you can bet he isn’t $2,500
    The number of horses you own increases according to the number of stalls in your barn
    An uncomplicated horse can be ruined with enough schooling
    You can’t run a barn without baling twine
    Wind velocity increases in direct proportion to how well your hat fits
    There is no such thing as the “right feed”
    If you fall off, you will land on the site of your most recent injury
    If you’re winning, quit.
    The last 15 laws were sent by Les

  10. Anonymous says:

    There some more sad news today. Robin Williams has died. He committed suicide and was battling a major depression. He had been very open about his problems and his battle with addiction. I was kind of stunned to hear this news enough though I did not know him. You never know what is really going on in someones life unless they tell you. If anything may be it will remind people of the importance of getting help with mental illness when they need it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was relieved to hear Rosie was going to be fine. Know Darleen cherishes horses very much. Sorry to hear the vacation is kaput now though.
    Nancy Darlene

  12. Anonymous says:

    I was relieved to hear Rosie was going to be fine. Know Darleen cherishes horses very much. Sorry to hear the vacation is kaput now though.
    Nancy Darlene
    Wish I had money I would gladly donate to your vacation fund but truly don’t have a penny to my name. Hope things get better for you and Darleen.
    Nancy Darlene

  13. Anonymous says:


    A real live horse wreak. Fortunately, the horse and the driver were not severely injured.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When I had 4 horses and had to call the Vet. for 1 I could bank on the fact that I would be calling him again for the other 3. And, not all at once, no way, 1 horse a week for the next 3 weeks. Then we were good until 1 was hurt or sick. Ad infinitum.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m very sorry that Rosie has been injured.Unfortunately, you can not protect horses before. Especially if your horse can enjoy freedom.Horses must be able to move freely, eat grass and roll from one side to the other.Okay, sometimes I also think horses are stupid?

    Leni, a horse from me, also wanted to roll from one to the other side. She did this on a piece of pasture, which is slope.The problem was she could not get up.The slope to roll down she did not dare.Roll the slope up did not work.Luckily walkers have noticed that and gave me notice.Through the many attempts to come back to her feet threatened her circulatory to fail.But when I arrived at the pasture she was luckily already back on all four legs.She was exhausted and trembled but everything else was okay.I stroked her and said: My stupid girl.

    All the best for Rosie!


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