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Little Hound
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:28 PM
I was hoping someone could give me some advice. I have an 8-year-old thoroughbred broodmare in foal and due in March, that I board in Pa. I got a call over the weekend from the farm owner stating she had "cut herself" in the pasture, and that she did not know how it happened, but the vet was called and she was treating it.

Then I called the vet to find out the extent of the injury, and he described the wound as "hellacious" and "pretty horrible," stating that it was on her chest, was 12" x 12", and the skin was "peeled back like an orange." He said the wound involved some tearing of her pectoral muscle. In addition to administering antibiotics, a tetanus shot, cleansing the wound, and putting in 2 drains, she will require vigilant attention to prevent infection, and is being kept stall-bound.

Now, here's my question - is the farm owner in any way, shape or form liable for this accident? I am just sick over this. Any help would be appreciated.

DickHertz
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:02 PM
I was hoping someone could give me some advice. I have an 8-year-old thoroughbred broodmare in foal and due in March, that I board in Pa. I got a call over the weekend from the farm owner stating she had "cut herself" in the pasture, and that she did not know how it happened, but the vet was called and she was treating it.

Then I called the vet to find out the extent of the injury, and he described the wound as "hellacious" and "pretty horrible," stating that it was on her chest, was 12" x 12", and the skin was "peeled back like an orange." He said the wound involved some tearing of her pectoral muscle. In addition to administering antibiotics, a tetanus shot, cleansing the wound, and putting in 2 drains, she will require vigilant attention to prevent infection, and is being kept stall-bound.

Now, here's my question - is the farm owner in any way, shape or form liable for this accident? I am just sick over this. Any help would be appreciated.


Why would the farm owner be responsible unless he acted in a reckless or negligent way? Horses get hurt all the time out in a field - that's the way it is with horses. Don't blame the owner unless you have proof that there was negligence on their part.

If the horse had cut his face that was 2 inches long and was stiched up and turned out the next day you would never post this - but because he got cut a lot worse, it's all of a sudden their fault???

Sorry, just hate when people are always wanting to blame caretakers without any real merit.

LaurieB
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:04 PM
I would very much doubt that the farm owner is liable--unless you think that he/she was somehow negligent in his treatment of the mare. But unfortunately with horses, $%^# happens, even with the best of care. If you trusted the farm owner before this accident, then I don't necessarily see a reason to do any second guessing--though you might call the farm owner and ask for any details they might have about how the injury happened.

FWIW, I once saw a very valuable broodmare have her shoulder ripped open (skin hanging as you described) by a nasty pasture-mate who'd had no provocation. Everyone simply paid their own vet bills and went on.

Barnfairy
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:32 PM
Holy smokes. And here I thought the question was going to be to what extent the broodmare could be medicated safely while pregnant.

Sorry to hear about your mare's injury, best wishes for a full and uneventful recovery.

lily04
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:44 PM
At least the barn owner called you. I've had mares at two different farms that were injured and only found out when i got the vet bill. I know both were accidents, but a phone call or e-mail would be nice.

Laurierace
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:49 PM
Yeah I agree it was a dumb question. Be prepared to have the horse tied to a tree in your front yard if you ask that one to the BO. If BO's and trainers and such were liable for horses being horses not a single one of them would be in business. Unless the BO took a knife and hacked the horse themselves its obviously not their fault.

SleepyFox
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:51 PM
Sorry about your mare's injury.

Like Laurie said, stuff happens with horses. Be glad they called you and had the wound treated promptly and properly. Be even more glad they aren't charging extra for caring for her while stall bound.

Little Hound
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:34 PM
To Laurierace and Dick Hertz - I take offense that you think this is a "dumb question." Sorry, but not everybody is as knowledgable as you two (and Laurierace, not to start an argument, but what is your training record this year? Are you still in business?). What if I went out in that field and found she had done that on a jagged piece of barbed wire, would both of you just say, oh well, that's life, bite the bullet and pay the vet bill? Dick, I had respect for you in that ongoing thread about Mike Gill, now I just think you need to lighten up and remember that not everyone knows the answers to all the questions about horses ... like you do.

Barnfairy
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:42 PM
What if I went out in that field and found she had done that on a jagged piece of barbed wire....JMO, but I would never send any horse of mine to live somewhere that I hadn't inspected in person first. If I thought my horse might be able to access random bits of barbwire or other nasty things, or if I thought the care was lacking, quite simply I wouldn't send my horse there.

Accidents can and will happen with horses even at the best of farms. If prior to this incident you had a niggling feeling that the care was lacking at this facility, then you can't blame anyone but yourself for having sent her there.

Again, I wish your mare well, and I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

Timex
Dec. 3, 2009, 04:51 PM
Little hound, if you think they're being rude, fine, but be a big girl and don't resort to being bitchy. That just wasn't called for.

Now, back to your original ? The BO called you, apparently left you a message? Or did you talk to her directly and just fail to ask what the extent of the mare's injuries were? Just looking for clarification there. Anyway, unless you think there was some negligence, then no, the BO isn't liable. Horses are horses, and they do dumb stuff. If you've trusted the BO this far, then why would you even ask this question. Maybe calling it a 'dumb' question was a bit harsh, but its a pretty commonly known fact that horses go out of their way to get themselves hurt.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:00 PM
Horses can hurt themselves in mysterious ways in the safest of settings. Thank God for insurance.

I would call the BO and politely ask if she/he knows what happened. I assume the fencing and turnout is safe, or else why would you board there in the first place?

I think the tone came from the question of liability. People don't like people who sue people.

Little Hound
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:01 PM
Well, I don't mean to be bitchy, but I thought "dumb question" was out of line.

The BO called me on Sunday and said the mare had "cut herself" on Saturday night and she was taking care of it. When I talked to the vet, he gave an entirely different view of that injury ... not merely a "cut." I have seen it and it is hard to even look at, it's so bad.

I wouldn't have posted this question if I knew the answer! This is my first broodmare ... instead of having getting a direct answer to my question I get criticism. Well, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything different.

LaurieB
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:05 PM
Another thing to consider: TB broodmare facilities are run very differently than hunter/jumper barns, for example. Many, perhaps most, TB farms think it's their job to deal with whatever comes up and not bother the owner with petty details--which has come to be the norm since there are many TB owners who don't know one end of the horse from the other. It doesn't matter if you know everything about horses and would like to have been kept informed or consulted; chances are you're going to get treated the same as every other owner.

I know my farm owner very well, talk to him at least several times a week, and usually see my mares/foals/yearlings 3 or 4 times a month. And still, sometimes the first notice I have that something happened is when I get the vet bill. The farm owner thinks it's his job to take good care of my horses and so he just goes ahead and does it.

Thomas_1
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:06 PM
Why would you think the owner might be liable?

I thought you didn't have a clue how it happened?

I guess by that you mean that there's nothing darnright dangerous (negligent) going on e.g. some ruddy great nails or broken fence rails sticking out for the hrose to get stuck on.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:07 PM
Well, I don't mean to be bitchy, but I thought "dumb question" was out of line.

The BO called me on Sunday and said the mare had "cut herself" on Saturday night and she was taking care of it. When I talked to the vet, he gave an entirely different view of that injury ... not merely a "cut." I have seen it and it is hard to even look at, it's so bad.

I wouldn't have posted this question if I knew the answer! This is my first broodmare ... instead of having getting a direct answer to my question I get criticism. Well, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything different.

I think the advice has been given by a few posters. Ascertain the cause of the injury (if you can) and go from there. The assumption is the fencing/turnout is safe--is it? Was it a t-post or something? Jagged board or nail? Is it a pasture mate? Why does the vet think it happened--usually they have an idea?

Unless you can prove some liability then you really have no decisions to make except whether you want to move your horse.

Laurierace
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:33 PM
Truthfully I was being kind when I said a little dumb but I apologize anyway. This may be your first broodmare but is it also your first horse? If so, welcome to the world of horse ownership. If not, you should be used to this by now. Horses spend their entire lives dreaming up new and inventive ways to committ suicide. They even break their legs in stalls and need to be euthanized so keeping them in the stall wrapped in bubble wrap is no guarantee of safety.

paint hunter
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:15 PM
LittleHound. Pectoral/chest trauma usually looks ugly but usually heals with very little scarring. These injuries drain well. I'd rather see a pectoral chest region wide open than a small deep wound over a joint. You mare is probably also being stall confined to lessen the chance that she will pull out the sutures. Many years ago, a colleague told me he rarely sutures these anymore as they usually pull apart and they heal really well with daily hydrotherapy. Having sewn up several that have dehisced, I have started referring some of them to Dr. Garden Hose as well.

I also tell my clients that "a horse wakes up every morning and says 'how can I kill myself today?'"

^%$@#$ happens with horses.

mroades
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:47 PM
Well, I am stuck paying for a bashed eye that was NOT my fault, but happened on my property...so it can both ways

shawneeAcres
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:04 PM
Well, I am stuck paying for a bashed eye that was NOT my fault, but happened on my property...so it can both ways

Why in the world would you have to pay for this? Sorry, but if a horse gets hurt on my property, I am not going to be the one to pay for it! My horses get hurt too, who am I going to ask to foot the bill! And no, we RARELY have injuries and honestly I cannot think of one that needed stitches (of course as soon as I say that....), but things happen. One thing to remember there is NO SUCH THING as "safe"fencing! No matter WHAT kind you have, I have seen horrendous wounds from three board (considered "safe" by most people) and a TERRIBLE accident in the "no climb diamond mesh" that EVERYONE says is totally safe! The reality is, horses are accidents waiting to happen! Yes, it is frustrating and can even be sad, as well as potentially expensive, but if all of that bothers a hrose owner, then don't be a horse owner!

mroades
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:08 PM
it is a long story, Carrie...pm or email me your number and I will call you tomorrow

Little Hound
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:33 PM
This mare is my first broodmare, but I have owned thoroughbreds before that were stabled at the racetrack. My husband has worked at the track for nearly two decades but obviously we do not care for this mare daily. I bought her last August in-foal and she produced a beautiful colt on March 17 and is back in-foal, due March 25 next year. The farm owner does not know how the injury happened except to theorize that it could have happened on her gate. Yes, I am new to the world of breeding, so I thought I could get good input here. Knock on wood, this is the first major thing to happen to this mare ... had a trouble-free foaling and my weanling has had an uneventful first few months. Needless to say this whole episode has been a real shock.

Las Olas
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:42 PM
I don't think it was a dumb question. The only time I would argue over a vet bill would be if the farm owner was negligent. For example, if they turned a maiden out in the broodmare pasture with hind shoes and your mare got kicked. I would consider that negligent. However, like others have said, most of these things just happen. At one farm I was working at in Lex, we had a powerline fall on a very nice mare (who had a stakes named after her). Just bad luck.

Little Hound
Dec. 6, 2009, 10:01 AM
I appreciate all the constructive answers to my question in this thread. Just thought I would post a picture of my mare's injury, taken yesterday:

http://i668.photobucket.com/albums/vv45/blazesally/Wound1.jpg

She's currently stall-bound but is eating well and so far doing okay.

judybigredpony
Dec. 7, 2009, 07:44 AM
To Laurierace and Dick Hertz - I take offense that you think this is a "dumb question." Sorry, but not everybody is as knowledgable as you two (and Laurierace, not to start an argument, but what is your training record this year? Are you still in business?). What if I went out in that field and found she had done that on a jagged piece of barbed wire, would both of you just say, oh well, that's life, bite the bullet and pay the vet bill? Dick, I had respect for you in that ongoing thread about Mike Gill, now I just think you need to lighten up and remember that not everyone knows the answers to all the questions about horses ... like you do.


Knickers bit tight this AM???

A jagged piece of barbed wire..get real..if you were so concerned about the place why did you send the mare there? Did you do a sight inspection?..horse can find the most ingenious ways to hurt them selves in a padded stall.

I saw a yearling who was just bought @ auction impale himself on a post in a brand new 4 board horse safe fence. It took acerobatics to do it but he ripped his chest to exposing the artery. Well he is a strapping almost 16.3 2yr old in training now w/ hardly a scar 1. Did the new owner sue or expect the barn owner to pay for the 100s stitches multiple drains, anti-biotics 3X day wound care,NO 2.and the barn owner did not charge for 24/7 stall care or hand walking.

gallupgirl
Dec. 7, 2009, 09:59 AM
I bet that heals just fine. It might leave a small scar but it's a broodmare not a show horse.

DickHertz
Dec. 7, 2009, 11:37 AM
I don't regret my response. If you didnt' want that response (or the response you got from others) then you should have made your post less "i'm pissed and now I think I should sue, what do you guys think?" and more about clearly explaining a timeline and ask if you should be "upset" about the series of events. Again, if the BO had called and said your critter got a small cut on her leg and furacin was needed with stall rest for a couple days then you wouldn't have come on here and posted the thread, correct? BTW, I laughed at Laurie's Bubble Wrap analogy - so true...horses do get hurt more in their stall than the field. I had one that got a seven inch gash on his cheek from reering up at birds in his stall for god's sake. $450 vet bill for no reason other than birds.

Tiki
Dec. 7, 2009, 11:54 AM
All horses are walking accidents looking for a place to happen. One of my mares got a very similar injury a couple of months ago. You can not even tell where it happened now. The skin on the chest and shoulder area is much looser than lots of other places on the body and generally heals without visible scars. The place where she is boarded looked everywhere to try to find blood or tissue to tell how she was injured and could not. I WAS charged for the vet bill AND the care. That's life. If there was no negligence, and it sounds like there wasn't, get over it and be glad it wasn't worse.

ASB Stars
Dec. 7, 2009, 12:23 PM
While I sympathize, I believe that this is one of those $%^T happens kind of things.

My horses live at home, but some years ago, while construction was being done on the farm, I moved the horses to a reputable, and well apppointed, boarding stable.

One of the geldings I had then could notbe turned out with other geldings, and we made that clear, prior to moving in. They turned him out with a couple of mares, and life was good. One Sunday morning, I had a bad feeling, and drove over to the farm, pulling in the driveway just in time to see my horse spitting out a tooth, and his lower mandible hanging out the side of his mouth.

Some part timer had turned another gelding out with the group. As usual, my gelding got the short end of the stick. He would up at New Bolton, had surgery, and I moved him elsewhere for after care.

The barn owners Care, Custody, and Control insurance paid for the surgery.

Yes, I was beyond angry, and upset. It wasn't as though I had not made arrangements in advance. But with broodies, unless you have an unusual situation, they kind of hang out together, and do the broodie thing.

ahf
Dec. 7, 2009, 01:48 PM
Now, here's my question - is the farm owner in any way, shape or form liable for this accident? I am just sick over this.

I would be sick with worry if this happened to one of my broodmares too.

Your "question" though...your knee-jeck immediate reaction was this: Can someone else be held responsible for my mare's misfortune?

That attitude is at the root of everything I think is wrong in this country, and the reason that I would rather stick needles in my eyes before i ever take on the care of someone else's horse again.

mroades
Dec. 7, 2009, 02:38 PM
I would be sick with worry if this happened to one of my broodmares too.

Your "question" though...your knee-jeck immediate reaction was this: Can someone else be held responsible for my mare's misfortune?

That attitude is at the root of everything I think is wrong in this country, and the reason that I would rather stick needles in my eyes before i ever take on the care of someone else's horse again.


Yup!!! Which is exactly why I will never run a boarding barn again. I would say I was getting out of the horse business because if it...except that attitude is pervasive within all of American society, so you can't escape it just by quitting horses....Now off to teach and ride so I can pay for that mare's eye............

LauraKY
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:13 PM
I also tell my clients that "a horse wakes up every morning and says 'how can I kill myself today?'"

^%$@#$ happens with horses.

My vet says they wake up every day with only two decisions to make...to commit murder or suicide.

cindylouwho
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:30 PM
I like your vet LauraKY! I have a barren TB mare that I currently event. She has attempted suicide several times in the pasture and once at a show (but not while I was on her). I only hope when she does actually commit suicide, that I am not on her.

I was taking some photos of my horses in the field one day. One of my girls started to roll and I was getting a couple cute shots of her on the ground when another horse came over and reared up on her. It was a prime example of how they can get hurt! I would love to blame someone for their injuries:)

foreward!
Dec. 7, 2009, 09:49 PM
I work at a Standardbred broodie farm. We have anywhere from 20-35 mares at a time, plus the foals and a few yearlings. Most of our mares live outside with run-ins until about 1 month prior to foaling, then they are stalled with turn out until winter is over. Most of the horses on our farm never see their owners and I feel pretty positive that a few of the owners never even saw there horse bought. We are in Pa and have owners from all over, including California, Canada and as far away as the Netherlands.

Unforturnaly, injuries happen as others have posted about. We had 3 big injuries this year, our first one was a puncture wound with the skin completely torn off on a hind cannon bone- weeks of pressure bandages and stall rest with meds, the next one was also a HUGE chest wound- it was about 12" long vertical and so deep the vet could feel the horses elbow, had to pull bone fragments out. Again weeks and weeks of stall rest, iv injections twice daily, hoseing of chest and cleaning of the drainage down her leg. The vet didnt even suture this wound at all, due to the amount of draining. Then our last one was a fractured coffin bone with a cracked navicular bone. She was in a hoof cast for about a month, the special shoeing. In all 3 of these cases, we called the vet, had them come out and take care of the injury, then we called the owners once we knew the extent of everything. The owners didnt come to visit their horses while they were injured- partly because some live far away and others because, the horses are being taken care of properly.

As for how the injuries happened...... who knows. All 3 the horses were fine at the morning feeding (8am) and were injured by night feeding (3pm). We never found out what/ where/ or how the horses injured themselves. The owners of the horses didnt hold the farm liable for the injuries either.

Like someone else said a broodmare farm is run MUCH differently than a Show (Dressage/ Hunter/ Jumper for example) barn.

ivy62
Dec. 8, 2009, 05:50 AM
I did not have an issue with a broodmare but with a yearling we purchased..She was to be boarded at a nice facility with other babies to grow up before her training started. Well, I am not a fan of nylon halters or even breakaway ones so I requested that the filly ALWAYS use a leather halter that I bought...Well, she was tied to trailer, not normally an issue for her, and she freaked and because she as in a nylon halter she fractured her jaw and broke some of her teeth! All this required 2 trips to the OR and many weeks of intensive care, all of which I had to pay for. If she had been in a leather halter it would have broke and none of this would have happened but now I have a filly who needs dental work every 6 months for the rest of her life....So who was at fault? It doesn't matter that is why I have insurance....She is fine now but does require some strict maintenance...

mvp
Dec. 8, 2009, 10:11 AM
You can't choose a barn-- the facility, the owner, all of it-- and then blame them for sh!t happening. You chose, after all.

I think your BO did the right thing-- had the horse treated and called you. It is true that many owners of retirement and broodie places do what they think is right and don't bother owners.

The good ones do this because:

1) They know what will be a big deal for the horse's performance and value, and what will not. Chances are your owner sized up the cut and treatment and knew it wouldn't affect your broodmare's capabilities.

2) They assume that you are paying them to protect your investment-- and her ability to produce foals is the extent of it.

3) They know (as perhaps you did not as an owner of a racing TB) that standards of care do, and ought to differ with the performance expectations for the animal. No broody will be kept as would a horse in training at the track or for the show ring. You have to get used to the difference.

Yes, horses can produce spectacularly gruesome wounds, but the ones involving just skin and muscle like your mare's heal really well. You got off easy, IMO.

What can you take from this for the future?

First, please learn to inspect would-be boarding facilities carefully so that you know what you are choosing.

Second, communicate with your BO. Really absent owners give the impression that they don't want info.

Third, you might consider how you present things. Don't come out both barrels blazing here or to your BO. That tends to make things go from bad to worse. What you really want is cooperation and team-playerness from all those involved in your horse's care.

DickHertz
Dec. 8, 2009, 11:09 AM
Ivy,

I've never had a nylon with leather breakaway not break - in fact they break too easily at times. I do hate Nylon halters in general though, they go in the trash when the horses arrive with them on.

ivy62
Dec. 8, 2009, 09:03 PM
I guess I am old world in more ways then one. there is guy we actually get decent leather halters for about $20. The breakaways are at least that so I would rather have the leather...

The halter my baby was wearing was not a breakaway! Fortuantely, she is okay and can move on to her career as a riding horse....

Falconfree
Dec. 8, 2009, 09:23 PM
If it makes you feel any better, that wound is almost identical to the one my old mare managed to inflict on herself on a normal diamond weave fence. She healed up nicely and quickly, and if she had a scar left over it wasn't a noticeable one. Not nearly as big a deal as it looks. I think horse wounds are like human head wounds (cuts, that is), they look SCARY but aren't necessarily as big a deal as they look.

RedMare01
Dec. 8, 2009, 09:42 PM
I also think the injury will heal fine. A broodmare where I used to board had a very similar injury...BO witnessed it happen. The mare ran herself right into a fencepost (a very safe, solid wood one), and it impaled her right into the chest. It looked a lot like yours after the vet got finished stitching her up. A couple of months later, you couldn't tell she'd ever been injured; no scar at all.

Caitlin

Hip
Dec. 8, 2009, 09:44 PM
Poor mare, but I have to give the other side.

I can't tell you the number of rescues (and just plain saddle horses) that I've gotten out of 'baling twined/nails sticking out of fence posts/loose sheets of metal/fences made of a piece of rope/lot where the farm equipment is stored/saggy fencing/barbed wired/anything that a horse that cost a lot can hurt-kill themselves' pens and nothing, but nothing ever happens to them. Stick 'em in a stall?? Next morning, they are upside down with one leg sticking out of the window and another leg is twisted back underneath themselves or....

As others have said, (I can't load your pics for some reason) your mare's injury will probably heal fine. I used Blue Lotion and/or hosing with water and you couldn't tell there had been an injury in the first place.

Last thought, maybe talking to the BM/BO and let them know you want to know when things happen and line it out, write it down so there aren't any misunderstandings.