I guess when I said it was depressing I was speaking from a fairly depressed state anyway, as my two daughters and almost-son have now headed off to life and university away from home. What I really meant was "sobering," and there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a sober look at things, is there?
Thank you to all.
Heck make the most of it. You reared them and they're off to make their own way in the world. Break out the champagne and enjoy the fact that you've got your home back
Do all the things you used to do before you had to become a responsible role model and an example to your children and sober up in the morning
Wow, Thomas, that's the post of the year. Thank you so much!
Just as an aside, pertaining to the wreck that initiated this thread - it does now appear that an equipment failure set the whole thing off.
Friendly reminder - this is why you need to do a safety check EVERY time you hitch up. (And if you're me, old, tired, and spacey, you need to do TWO - a second check to make sure you didn't miss anything in the first! ).
How absolutely tragic that yet another horse is wasted for something that is utterly and entirely preventable and should be a fundamental.
It happens too often and too often its the horse that pays the price of its owners actions and failings.
I use a traditional system of harnessing whereby its a joint effort with my groom/s (dependent on the number of horses) and I. Each has their own distinct and well defined job to do. If a strap has been fastened but NOT yet completely adjusted its left out of its holder to serve as a reminder to go back to check it. Once the harness is on, then each individual checks their own work. Then the groom walks right round and says o.k. (or otherwise). Then as the driver I do a complete tour and only once I'm satisfied, I mount the vehicle.
When the harness is used its always wiped and quickly checked, prior to its next use its dissembled and properly cleaned and in so doing its all checked thoroughly. Its then re-assembled and left on the harness racks ready for use . Because I have lots of staff, harness and horses I have a safe system of work whereby once its been cleaned and reassembled then the person whose done it ties on a tag stating the date it was done and who did it. No tag means we default to presuming to fail safe and that its not been checked.
The parts that folks often forget is the pole straps or traces because often they stay on the vehicle.
I confess to always cringing when folks say they like plastic harness because you don't have to be so meticulous cleaning it - I always wonder if that means they're not dissembling it and thoroughly checking it when they talk about just "blasting it clean with a hose pipe" etc.
My steady-eddy, fearless former CDE horse and I had a roll over at a CDE. I couldn't figure out what happened until I saw the video. My inexperienced navigator stepped to the wrong side on a turn and took us over. I know, I know, never use an inexperienced navigator. The horse calmly cantered to the nearest person that called his name and stopped. I got back to him, got in the carriage and drove around until he stopped puffing. He was fine mentally and physically. It did take a little while for my stomach to stop clenching on every left turn.
My new horse, a sensitive Hanoverian, and I had a turn over schooling at home. He took over on a turn around an obstacle, we hooked a wheel and we tipped over. I held the reins as long as I could and then had to let go. I was talking to him the whole time, using all the calming, whoa words I could come up with. He actually made a sharp turn and came back to me, dragging the carriage on it's side. When he got to me he laid down. I got him unhooked, told him it was OK to get up and walked him back to the barn. He had some fairly serious scrapes on his hock that required veterinary attention. And was off on that leg for a few days. I needed to replace the shafts on my carriage, so that took a few more days. When I did drive him again he was nervous but not explosive and is back to normal now. He is still nervous driving by "the scene of the crime", but not so much that any one else would notice.
Number three is the weird one that didn't actually involve a wreck. I have a client that has two Standardbreds, retired racers. He swaps them back and forth so they both get work. On the first drive of the season this year, we take the winter off, he was absolutely fractious. Leaping, rearing and plunging. I had a header walk with me. It was quite unnerving that this formerly quiet driving horse had turned crazy. I had my former neighbor, Clay Maier, come and have a go at it. Same result. We had a complete veterinary work up on him including blood work, xrays, teeth done, chiropractor. Nothing showed up as abnormal. We decided to just let it go. He is now a pasture pal for their 34 year old quarter horse. The other Standardbred is a joy to drive still. Go figure.
I do agree that so much has to do with you and your mental state, confidence and skill level and the disposition and experience of the horse.
Thanks, again, all for the kind words. You know what I find myself missing most of all? The knowing eyes, the ready hands. They've been working around horses with me all their lives, and I trust them more than anyone else I know.
So, to get back on topic, this was a timely thread, as I will now be lacking those wise eyes and hands and without them must be more careful than ever !
Thomas - don't forget... you need to say "Arrrrgggggh" every five seconds, too!
HRH Avery, King of the Pirate Horde, can teach you all the lingo - probably happy to teach your horses the gentle art of piracy as well. But he wants to be paid in Pirate hats - one for each herd member!
"Ringbone The Pirate" and "Penny the Wench" (Avery's and Penny's pirate pseudonyms, LOL) definitely prefer shouting "SHIP AHOY!" to "arrrrr." They really are hilarious to watch - EVERY passing vehicle on the farm property which might conceivably contain horse food or lesson kids with french fries and Co-cola is greeted with a quick exchange of horse glances and perked ears. Then it's "SHIP AHOY! Avast, Me Hearties!! Foooooooooooooood!"
He could never get away with this at a more civilized boarding facility!
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief