Friday, July 10, 2009

Do YOU know who is driving your horses?

As I've noted before, there's a difference between an accident and something that was reasonably likely to happen due to ongoing negligence. A reader recently sent me this example of someone who clearly cannot get their act together and needs to just STOP HAULING HORSES!

25 year old AQHA mare falls from trailer (September 1, 2008)

Here we go again, except this one died (July 6, 2009)

Further details from a local, who saw the bloody trail all over the road: "This animal apparently fell from the rear of the trailer, somewhere in the vicinity of Jamestown Road. The halter and lead rope did not break, and the animal was dragged, apparently down Racetrack Road and most of the way into town. The track of the bloody drag mark moved laterally back and forth across the traffic lane, indicating that the animal struggled and flailed for a very long time before eventually succumbing. Tell me, Margaret, did you finally stop driving when someone down town honked at you or screamed? Why did you not notice in your rear view mirrors the trailer doors flapping and banging open? "

FHOTD back in: WTF, Margaret, were you drunk, high, what? I notice if they start moving around or bickering with one another. So do most people. You can feel it through the steering wheel even if you can't hear a ruckus! How the HELL do you not notice that you have lost a horse out the back and are dragging it to death? And how the HELL does that accident happen to you twice?

So, awful story but it brings up a very good question. Do you know who is hauling your horses? When your horse goes to a show, is it your trainer driving? Their spouse? Another client? An assistant? Do you know how they drive?

Do you know that they are sober? This is a big one. I have seen an awful lot of people drink an awful lot of beer at rodeos, horseshows, polo games and trail rides and then hit the road. And yeah, I'm just as guilty as everybody else of not ordering them not to drive, though sometimes I've offered to drive if that was an option. It's a real problem in the horse community, and not one that many people talk about. In many places, you can find out easily enough online if someone has a DUI, and nobody will ever know you checked. Check out the court records for your state. You may at least be able to find out if someone has a history of drinking and driving, though many just haven't been caught yet.

Then there's equipment. I was on a rescue seizure once where somebody showed up to volunteer his truck and trailer and, I am not kidding, there were HOLES in the floor. They were covered up with plywood. OMG. Please, don't put your horse into any trailer you have not checked out yourself. Go into it, look at the floor, stomp on the floor. Look for areas of rot if it has a wood floor. Pick up the mats. Floors rot out underneath the mats all the time!

Back doors of trailers should always be secured with more than just the latch - most latches have a place for a lock or clip to go through to ensure that the latch doesn't bounce free during the trip. Make sure that extra protection is on there, every time. Same goes for escape doors and tack room doors. You don't want a $4,000 saddle hitting the highway, either.

And of course check the lights every time you hook up. If your trailer is dark, odds are great that some inattentive driver will slam right into the back of it. I know a lot of people who drive with the interior lights on for greater visibility. You can't be too careful with all of the idiots and drunks on the roads.

Ugh, I can't get over this - what a story. And I want to slap her mother too. Did she have to tell the world her kid is bipolar in the news story? That's a 14 year old girl. She's had her horse dragged to death and now she has to go back to middle school next month and hear her classmates' comments about her mental condition. You twit. You already had the sympathy vote - you didn't have to embarrass your poor kid.

This is SO freaking cool - the Jockey Club enhanced the online tattoo search so that you can use the horse's color and markings to help ID him! AWESOME! The days of Thoroughbreds losing their identify are coming to an end. There's no reason for anyone not to search now and find out who their rescued Thoroughbred is. It couldn't be easier!

Remember all that silly Dreamchasers drama where they tried to act like they were being unfairly persecuted and Shiloh Rescue was just a bunch of bad-mouthing meanies? Well, here is Thoroughbred mare Tenacity BEFORE (at Dreamchasers) and AFTER (at Shiloh). A picture is worth a thousand words or at least five: You're full of it, Diane. Because she has Wobblers (it's amazing what you find out when you CALL THE VET), Tenacity will never be adopted out but NOW she gets to EAT.

It's Friday so of course we have a Friday Featured Rescue. This guy's kind of been on the blog before. Do you remember the three Arabians that were abandoned up in the Port Orchard area? This is the oldest of the bunch. Simon is 25, sound and broke and probably has many usable years left in him. He is an honest 15.2, clips, loads, bathes, blankets, and has had his teeth done recently. He can still eat hay but has been on mush too to gain weight. AHA #0320384. He is available on a gift contract to someone who can afford to feed him well. Gets along fine with other horses but does not mind being alone. Look at that beautiful head! Simon is south of Seattle and you can find out more about him by e-mailing Chelsea.