Second Trip to ER thanks to Horse

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by lexukc, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. lexukc

    lexukc Senior Member

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    So here is the situation. Three years ago, my sister's horse kicked her in the head while she was leading him. Long story short, the herd started galloping by (she was walking past his field, not in it) and he got VERY excited, bucked and kicked out, landing an unfortunate blow to my sisters head. An ambulance ride to the ER and eight hours later she was released with four stitches along her head.

    Fast forward to last month. My sister is putting hoof oil on the same horse's back leg, he spooks, spins around, sending my sister sailing into the barn door. He then attempts to break free from the barn, trampling my sister repeatedly in the process. An air ambulance ride to the ER and 16 hours in the trauma centre and she is admitted to the hospital with an open compound fracture of both the tibia and fibula on her left leg, as well as several severely bruised and possibly cracked ribs. One six hour reconstruction surgery later, resulting in a steel plate and eight screws, and four more days in the hospital, my sister was released and will now be out of commission for at least the next three months.

    Here's my question. Is there something that can or should be worked on to make the horse safer? Now just a little background on the horse. He is now six (was three at the time of the first accident). My sister has done all of his training herself. He is not normally spooky, in fact is normally very level headed and we have no idea what caused him to react like he did this last time. Is this just an unfortunate coincidence? Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.

    And yes, I know horses can be dangerous in general, and that there is always a risk. It's just this is twice in three years he has put my sister in the hospital, and well I am a little PO'd at him right now.
     
  2. OldGreyMare

    OldGreyMare Senior Member

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    First, I am so sorry to hear your sister has had a bad run of luck with this horse. Second, don't blame the horse or be mad, he was acting as horses do and unfortunately, severely hurt your sister. Could there be some gaps in his training? Can he be sent to someone more experienced and given a 60 training session? See how he acts with someone new.....
     
  3. lexukc

    lexukc Senior Member

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    I don't blame the horse, and while I am temporarily mad at him it won't last, I love the biy lug too much.

    There are some gaps in his training, but they pertain to bathing and some under saddle stuff. Both accidents happened while my sister was on the ground, and not near the very evil water hose. I'm not sure additional training would help in this situation? Any thoughts on that would be appreciated.

    Additional training by someone else at this point is being discussed, but due to the fact that my sister will be off work for the next three months, financially it doesn't seem very viable.
     
  4. srpaint

    srpaint Senior Member

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    Personally I would not keep the horse. Those are 2 very serious injuries. With a good amount of time in between them. Even if there are gaps in the horses training, his re action things that scare him is not good at all. I would never be comfortable around a horse like that. Even with more training I would feel that it is something he might always go back too. But that is just my 2 cents.

    And I would say if she does keep him.... To find a way to send him to a good trainer and have them work on changing his re action when he is spooked by something.

    Knowing the history of the horse, how would you feel if next time a kick to the head by this horse killed her? Even more so if it was brought on by a spook that had nothing to cause it?
     
  5. lexukc

    lexukc Senior Member

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    srpaint - I appreciate the input and your thoughts, and while perhaps have a point, this horse will never be sold. I would rather sell every possession I own to get him better trained than sell him. I don't believe he is dangerous, but I do agree about needing more training.

    We have had this horse since before he was born. He is the only offspring of my sister's show horse, who sadly we lost nearly two years after the colt was born. Even as a foal he was very adventurous and confident. In his short six years of life, I have only seen him spook a handful of times. He is fine with loud noises, tarps, bags all over him and near him, dogs, cats, other horses, tractors, cars, screaming and crying babies, strong wind gusts, pylons, bicycles, and the list goes on and on.

    The few times I have seen him spook, he takes two steps of trot away from what scared him and stops to look at it. This includes the time the hot air balloon landed in the field next to him. Both incidents where my sister was injured were out of character. They are not normal behavior for him, nor his normal reaction to something scary.

    I also don't believe any additional training would have prevented them, because they are not normal behavior. He spooks badly once every three years. How do you train for that? The first incident was the herd galloping by due to them being rounded up by a four-wheeler. We worked on desensitizing him to the four wheeler. It took less than a day for someone to be able to drive the four wheeler right up to his chest. We worked on him standing quietly while the rest of the herd was rounded up. That took two days. Now when the herd gallops by he stops to look at them for all of 30 seconds before continuing on as before.

    I'm not sure what kind of training would work.

    Also, he is handled regularly by more than one person, and behaves exactly the same for everyone.
     
  6. bay_blnd jmpr07

    bay_blnd jmpr07 Senior Member

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    I think he needs some ground work. Focusing on desensitizing him to anything and everything. This will train his brain to think first before reacting and to look to his handler for guidence. He'll become curious about things that appear spooky and instead of running away from it he will slowly go to it to check it out.

    After a bad ride on my young horse (I also have done all his training) that landed me in the ER to have my leg checked out I went straight back to ground work and lunging.

    I also taught him if he's going to spook because he just can't handle it, he has to move AWAY from me, not into me.

    His ground training looked pretty solid until the riding episode. But there were some holes. I didn't expose him to enough to teach him to think before reacting.

    I used a tarp to walk over and put on him, a wooden board to walk over and he got praised when he sniffed things that made him nervous.

    I thought it would be a long process, but it didn't take long at all.

    The lunging brought out respect from him to me. Listening and focusing.

    I was able to get on him under saddle after a couple weeks and just walk (I had to work on my confidence also). And I've trotted him several times since and he was great every time. He's broken now so I'm waiting for him to get fixed before any more riding. But now he has a solid base of ground work to fall back on.

    And getting excited on the ground is not allowed. And he has learned this. When a person is around he has to keep 4 feet on the ground and stay by the handler's shoulder. No lagging behind and no charging forward to be in front. Lots of backing up and moving the hind quarters one or both directions can help with this.

    He might not need to be sent away for training. Maybe a few training sessions with a trainer that travels to teach you and your sister how to work with the horse. That way you can work with the horse between lessons. And your sister can see what is being done (or you can explain if she can't be at the barn) so she has an idea of how to handle him for training and how she herself can react when he does something.

    So sorry your sister got hurt. That's just awful. I hope she has a speedy recovery!
     
  7. lexukc

    lexukc Senior Member

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    Thanks bay_blnd jmpr07, having a trainer come out is looking like the most financially viable situation right now. We had already decided on re-doing all of his groundwork training to fix any gaps, and to teach him to move away from people when he spooks, not towards him.

    Re-training won't take place for at least a few months however, as my sister is out of commission, and I just don't have the time, or the skill to do it myself. Not to mention the fact that my sister should be the one learning, not me. It's her horse, she is usually out at the barn by herself (for the record she's 29, so a fully capable adult) and I have very little to do with her horse, expect to love on him and occasionally ride him to get my horse fix.
     
  8. bay_blnd jmpr07

    bay_blnd jmpr07 Senior Member

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    Time off just being a horse never hurts the horse either. A little vacation time. I assume he'd be getting lead to and from a stall at least and have his feet trimmed. So there's still "work" being done.

    I do wonder what happened to make him do what he did in the cross ties. Horses normally don't try to trample a person.
     
  9. srpaint

    srpaint Senior Member

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    I am sorry to here about your sister losing her show horse. And it sounds like she has done a lot of good work with him. Hopefully she can to the root of what cause him to do this last accident. And things will work out for her.
     
  10. lexukc

    lexukc Senior Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. I really hope we can figure out what caused this latest incident and fix it. This can't keep happening. I can't take another phone call letting me know she's on the way to the hospital.

    On the plus side, her confidence isn't shaken around him at all. I actually took her out to see him for the first time since the accident on the weekend. He stayed safely on one side of the fence and her on the other (because she's on crutches) and she fed him some carrots and watched me groom him. She's already planning a training strategy for him once she's back to her old self again.
     

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