Thursday, December 27, 2007

Common sense is not so common...

I have observed in the past that Columbia Basin Equine Rescue is not, in my opinion, a rescue as they will gleefully hand out horses to anybody with cold, hard cash - including most notably last year, a bestiality practitioner who starved them (this fact could have been discovered in 30 seconds by googling the same e-mail address she used on their message board - but hey, why investigate your adopters? Then you might have to turn someone down and that might cut into your profits!). Well, today we have yet another story of a horse who went out of the frying pan into the fire, and it's a really good example of something I'd like to address here:

In 32 years with horses, I have never lost a horse to an accident or had one permanently damaged in any way by an accident. Sure, I've had typical injuries - horses who stuck their feet through relatively safe fencing and got cut, horses who got cast, horses who got bit by another horse. But I have never (yes, knocking on wood) lost a horse to a stupid, totally preventable pasture accident like this - and I'm curious to hear how many of the rest of you have a similarly good track record thanks to using your common sense about horses and herd dynamics, as well as property maintenance.

The reason I'm going to come down on this guy is because HE HAD WARNING. The mare had ALREADY gotten kicked in the head. When you know you have an aggressive horse, what you do is you march your ass down to the farm store and you pick up materials and you make him his own pen. You do NOT wait until the following happens and then desperately try to ditch Satan Horse.

Post #1

I went out Monday to find Hyacinth dead. It appears that she got tangled up in a gate in tight quarters and killed herself. We believe that another horse we have, a half blind gelding named Westly, was probably the cause of her death. We think that he probably kicked her, knocking her down and into the gate, panicking her and causing her to get tangled up in the gate trying to get back up. I do not have any real proof of this, but he has always been pretty bossy and aggressive with the mares around food, and there was food nearby. I have seen him lash out at the other horses before. And a couple months back Hyacinth mysteriously was injured, kicked in the head by one of our other horses. Again we had no proof but were pretty sure it was Westly, because our 3 mares all get along. Hyacinth was the top mare and the other two were always deferential to her, so I simply have to believe that it was Westly that injured her a couple months back, and at least indirectly caused her death this week. So far Hera, who we got along with Hyacinth and was clearly bonded with Hy, has taken this well, much better than we expected. My wife and I OTOH feel so bad about this, and we miss Hy so much. She was an exceptional girl, a nearly perfect horse, and a very sweet girl who loved attention and hated apples. She is sorely missed.

Post #2

Okay, first thing everyone needs to know is that we believe that Westly has attacked one of my other horses, twice. The last time cost her her life. We believe he kicked her, knocking her down and/or into a gate in tight quarters, and that she got tangled up in the gate killing herself thrashing around trying to get untangled and get up. Westly has always been food aggressive and there was food not too far away. We also had snowy/icy/muddy conditions in the area. So there were a number of things that went into causing her death, but I am certain that Westly started the whole incident by trying to chase her off or outright attacking her. He really needs to be an only horse. We got him through this board. Some of you may remember him, he was a former 4H horse who blinded himself in one eye on an olive tree. He is super sweet around people, though he does not respect personal space the way he should. Never aggressive or anything, just in your hip pocket anytime you are around. We are giving him one shot at finding another place where he can live out his life without putting any other horses in danger. His time is limited, because I am not willing to put my other horses at risk and I can not keep him separated from them, they all go nuts when I try that. If we can not find him someplace to go very soon, I am going to have him put down, which I really do not want to do. But I am just not willing to let him injure or kill another of my horses. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX. We live outside of Oakridge, OR (and no Amy can not take him, she is not set up to keep a horse that can't be with other horses). We do not want any adoption fee for Westly, we just want him to go to a good home. Any potential adopter/foster would need to be approved by CBER or some other reputable rescue, of course.

(FHOTD in: Back in the olden days, when I had not yet caught on to the $cam that is CBER, I contributed $150 to "bailing out" Hera, or more accurately, to CBER President $amantha Milbredt's disposable income since I am sure Hera's meat price was around $200 and they collected three times that for her. Hera is a Thoroughbred mare with DSLD. Now she's apparently out in mud and snow (that's great for those dropped pasterns) with an aggressive horse chasing her around. Awesome. Can I take my percentage of her back and move it to a more appropriate facility?)
All right, so what can we learn from this? For crap's sake, if you're seeing injuries, GET THE AGGRESSIVE HORSE OUT OF THERE. Buy some goddamn panels if you can't do anything else because it's winter. Put the nasty little fucker in a pipe corral for now. Or euthanize him. I don't care. You don't just leave him out and cross your fingers and HOPE nothing happens. This was a really nice mare, a quality mare that someone dumped, and the entire story makes me ill. I can only imagine how she died (how do you actually die from being tangled in a gate before anyone finds you? Blood loss? Broken neck? Whatever it was, it sounds horrifying.)
Just sad. Sir, you have all kinds of room on your cross fence could have saved this mare's life. Common sense? Anyone? You had warning. You knew you were allowing a dangerous situation to continue. Saying this is an accident is like drinking a half bottle of vodka, getting in the car, taking out six people and then saying whoops, it was an accident. Nope, it wasn't. It was something that you knew about and took no steps to resolve, and now are crying to all of your online pals because you lost the luck lottery and something awful happened.
I feel bad for the mare. You, not so much.