OP, I hope that you and your horse recover all right. Whatever the causes/responsibility etc. it sounds like a very scary experience.
OP, I hope that you and your horse recover all right. Whatever the causes/responsibility etc. it sounds like a very scary experience.
I agree that the spook and the dog are separate issues, for all the reasons already covered. I won't berate you any more about it, OP. ;)
The slipped saddle spooking your mare that badly stood out to me. It sounds like she really needs to work on being desensitized in general. Slipped saddles (and dogs) are going to happen in life, and it would be safer for all if they didn't inspire spinning and bolting.
When I was an undergrad, I took a class that involved breaking an essentially feral 3 year old. The colt that I ended up with had a great mind, but he was a pretty spooky, sensitive sort. We did tons and tons of desensitization work with the horses before our first rides. Which was good, because as I was cantering my colt for the very first time (during his very first ride), my saddle started slipping to the outside. He had no withers, was built like a barrel, and my saddle didn't fit him spectacularly anyway... I felt my saddle start to go and immediately asked him to whoa. By the time he stopped, I was basically sitting on him sideways. Thank goodness I had spent so much time getting him to calmly accept novel stimuli, because it could have ended very badly if I hadn't. As it was, he stopped calmly and stood quietly while I slid off on the wrong side and moved the saddle around. Good pony. :yes:
My point is, desensitizing your horse can be a lifesaver. I need to do the same thing with my horse, actually. He's a quiet one, but the other day I was bareback and he scooted a little when a deer jumped out beside us. No big deal, except I slid a little off balance and that blew his little mind. So we're going to work on that...
Good luck, OP, and don't beat yourself up. Just use it as an opportunity to learn. In my experience, we sometimes skip over the desensitization work in favor of more discipline specific work. Which makes sense - a lot of us only get so much saddle time a week. But this just causes spooky horses and I don't know about you, but riding a spooky horse at a show is pretty much my least favorite activity ever.
Oh geez, sorry for the novel...
Since it was mentioned earlier in an earlier post, here's a thread that discusses how to train your horse not to run away if you fall off. Unfortunately it probably won't help when she's in a panic, but figured I'd link it anyway :)
In my opinion the major fault is with BO. The Ops saddle slipped, we ALL make mistakes! Had there been a gate to the riding arena the danger would have been minimal. There needs to be perimeter fence also. What if a horse breaks away from the barn, same result of loose horse in the traffic. I know it's expensive we are trying to better our containment at the house.
^^^ This is my thought as well. Is there a fence around the property? You said she blew by the barn and out onto the road. I read that as meaning that there isn't a gate between the barn / arena / horse areas and a busy street.
I was out riding on Monday morning too. I'm not surprised you had trouble. A cold front was coming in, and the wind was picking up. The barn dogs were high as kites, running back and forth barking at everything. I was helping a friend with a bratty but usually brave little draft pony. He exploded in the barn. I ended up hanging onto one rein doing donuts in the barn aisle until he regained his brain. We lunged the crap out of him before trusting him with a rider that morning.
Yeah, the dog borders on being irrelevant, the girth needs tightening and maybe a breastplate, the mare probably needs some serious desensitizing...but the BO REALLY REALLY needs to UNDERSTAND how badly this could go for him/her, you, and your horse or any horse that gets out. Falls will happen, horses on the longe line spook and rip the line out of their owner's hand, a horse will get loose while being lead...it doesn't sound like the BO really *gets* what could happen when that loose horse has easy, unimpeded access to a busy road. A bungee cord is not an acceptable suggestion.
As others have said, hang in there, OP! Do _not_ beat yourself up. I have also had serious "teachable moments," as my trainer calls them, where, but for the grace of the horse gods, I could have put my horse in danger (and myself, but, I think many of us punish ourselves more about the horses). You just got nailed with the perfect storm of trouble. These things happen, but remember how much you love riding your horse, and this is only a few weeks. You and your horse will recover, and it's one more experience to have in your tool box to build from for the rest of your lives together. You've got this, OP. All part of the package. Nothing to beat yourself up about.
And after this, that bunny lurking in the bushes is going to be nothing to you and your horse! :-)
My only comment about the dog is that in our area, when people start complaining about one species using the trails/conservation areas, pretty soon all species are banned. So, first it's no off-leash dogs, then no dogs at all, then no horses allowed on the trails ..... sad to think of open spaces lost to riding. Not saying this is the case in the OP's area or trying to sway the OP in either direction; just commenting on what I have experienced.
Hoping for a speedy recovery for you and your horse. This does sound like the definition of "accident", though some things probably could have helped prevent this (gate/fence, secure girth).
I find it ironic that you just want the owner to keep the dog secure/remedy the fence, and yet you've had a horse run out onto a road twice. The horse's injury was due to being on the road, and the ongoing spook would've been the result of the saddle, not the momentary reaction from seeing the dog. Without any offense intended, I think you're really tunnel visioned on the dog and not the rest of the scenario. Horses spook all the time, often for no reason. It was everything that happened after that caused injury. Yes the dog should not be loose (and if it's an on-leash area, yours shouldn't be either), but what if it was a falling leaf, or a bunny, or any number of things that spooked the horse?
Bummer about missing EA :/
Firstly, I am sorry you had such a bad accident and that both you & your horse were injured.
But I have to side with those saying it was not the dog's actions that caused the whole thing.
I am also curious:
You mentioned you ride WITH your dog on the same trails.
If your dog is then off-leash, do you dismount to recall & leash the dog if you meet another rider or person with a dog?
Or am I incorrect, and your dog is leashed when you ride?
Either way sounds like it could be responsible for a similar accident for someone else or even yourself.
The dog owner should definitely be informed and the BO should also mention this to the dog owner. There is some may be iflexibility on control of animal - horses because size are given some allowance (I think) vs dogs where nearly every jurisdiction has leash laws. If the BO has a trainer or they give lessons having a dog spoke horses can be a huge liability for her. We had some neighbors who insisted on riding their ATVs near my trainer's ring and it was a huge problem for awhile. The dog owner could be responsible for your injuries - maybe not the horses because BO does not have perimeter fencing.
if my horse went off like a rocket at the sight of a dog I'd go back to basics and work on desensitizing. JMHO. I wouldn't feel safe on a horse like that. my horse can jump at a sudden noise but doesn't take off. Big difference.
The more your posts go on, the less I get the impression that you are willing to accept ANY responsibility for your role in this.
As many others have pointed out, the main problem here is riding in an arena where the horse, if separated from its rider, has easy access to get out onto a busy roadway. What if your horse had been hit by a car? What if you hadn't fallen off and you were on your horse when it got hit by a car? Things could have been worse for sure, though it may not seem like it!
Personally, I think it would be silly to contact the dog's owner. Would the outcome have been any different if the dogs owner was standing 20 yards away? Couldn't the exact same accident have occurred as a reaction to a deer or a wild turkey, or a grocery bag caught by the wind on a windy day? The same incident could even have occurred if the dog had been leashed, but jumped up and barked suddenly.
So, I don't think it is reasonable to put any responsibility on the dog owner for this accident. At worst the dog's owner would deserve a citation for having an unleashed dog depending on the laws. The dog did not "cause" the accident. If the dog had come into the arena and chased/attacked your horse, the situation would be very different.
Accidents happen. Horses can spook at really dumb things. I'm sorry this happened to you and your horse! It may help you "put it together" in your head to be able to put your finger on some concrete cause of your accident, but it really boils down to the fact that horses can and will spook. Obviously you've learned a lesson about saddle slippage and you've also had the dubious honor of proving to your BO that s/he needs to take some precautions to prevent horses getting into the road.
To make you feel better, most of us who may sound harsh on this thread have learned a bunch of lessons the hard way ourselves. Just be sure you don't prevent yourself from learning from this accident by blaming it on something irrelevant.
Oh, HATE those nasty falls and bolts... and the "loose horse" thing... everyone's nightmare ... I am so sorry for the horse, and for you. There is never a good ending to most bolts and falls (BTDT, too many times) ... :(
I don't see this as a "opinion" issue. Simply put, what are the leash laws or dog-related laws, not only in the state and county, but if that was a park or preserve, what are their laws?
To be honest, it's been rare to see a dog "under control" while NOT on a leash. There are "LEASH LAWS" for that very reason... Experts know = from too many injuries reported = that most people insist their dog is under control, UNTIL it disobeys them, chases another dog, a cat, a toddler, a bunny, a squirrel, or whatever ... Even owners of National Obedience Champions will tell you, you they can't 100% count on their dog's full obedience in RECALL. They try, we all try, but you can never guarantee it.
That is why "leash laws" were invented, because people trust too much and then seem surprised when an animal... behaves as an animal ....
Sorry to get off track, it's really YOUR opinion that matters here. What will you wish you had said or done 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and 3 years from now? I would keep compliance with local codes and laws in mind at ALL times. You can't control others, but you can control what YOU do. Good luck and happy healing! :)
I am really, really sorry for your bad experience and your losses. Your story is absolutely chilling! But I don't think the dog caused the damage. Yes, he was the first thing in the chain of events; but I don't think he was the cause.
Again, I am truly sorry.
My saddle slipped due to too loose girth and I ended up on the ground - at our first show. In front of God and everybody (thankfully not while we were in the ring showing). Horse didn't turn a hair. Just stood there.
I also agree dog was not the main issue here, very sorry you both got injured. I agree you need to work on horse not freaking out when confronted with these type of unexpected situations. I am VERY lucky that my horse was raised from a foal with loose dogs all over the place, dogs are a total non-issue for him. Large pieces of farm machinery, however, are a different story even when just sitting there and not running. I have been working on this for 3 years now . . . . . . :sadsmile:
I am sorry for your accident and hope you and your horse recover quickly -- both physically and emotionally --
I am always interested in the responses to situations like this since the reactions are often so regional and discipline related. I went to your profile to see where you are from because here in rural VA there are no leash laws. In fact regular deer hunting season is about to start and packs of deer hounds as well as individual hounds separated from the pack will be common crossing my property and on my trails, sometimes taking up residence in my barn. A couple of my neighbors dogs visit regularly to have a snack of cat food in my barn or chase small critters in my hay field. I consider the threat of a spook from an unexpected dog literally the same as I do from wild turkeys and deer.
Also have mainly boarded at hunter/jumper barns and most recently an eventing barn. A fenced ring is never a given, and since most folks ride out to hunt or cross country or hack out regularly, or even have to ride some distance in the open to get to a fenced ring, a fenced ring isn't necessarily an expectation or considered a requirement to keep riders/horses safe.
How does the entire endurance forum go on fenced-only trailrides?
Is Rolex fenced in?
I've boarded and lessoned at places where the farm was fenced but the majority of places have not been. Also I have never been on a fenced in trail ride, and I even cross and/or ride on the side of roads.
I think it depends what kind of road the facility is on, though.
One place I know is on a very busy highway, complete with speeding gas tankers. It's a downhill straight run from the barn to the road. Closing the gates never seems to cross their minds even though the barn owner has lost two supposedly beloved dogs to the traffic.
Where I board now, we are down a looong driveway with a dog-leg at the end of it, and the road in front is suburban residential, and we have no gates. If it were mine, I'd put a gate on it, but that's because I'm anti-social.
At home, I have no gate or perimeter fence. Once you are out of the pastures you are on your own. But I'm up a mile of dirt road in the middle of nowhere and it would just be another fence for the wild critters to knock down...