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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2008
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    Default Horse Boarding Accidents! Need Advice!

    Hello All! I need some advice. My horses are either very accident prone or Murphy is my co-pilot (Murphy's Law).

    I board at a very nice facility and have been there for 5 years. It is family owned and they board four horses and have two of there own. Show horses and all are arabians. Nice fencing. Daily stall cleaning, Wash stall, nice indoor arena. Not huge but serves my purpose.

    I seem to have a rash of accidents. Last December my arab gelding got his fetlock caught in between a gate and a fence post. Surgery and 9K later he is a pasture puff at 13 years old. I also have a 22 year old arabian mare who is my retired show horse. She is in a pasture with my gelding and they love each other. I was in her stall grooming her and noticed an indentation under neath her eye. About the size of a golf ball and the area is concave. I am wondering what the heck! No marks, hair not missing. So I call the vet out and they do digi xrays and come to find she has a fractured skull. At this point, I am ready to pull my horses and find another boarding facility.

    My horses have had misc. dings here and there. Nothing major except for in the last year. I love where I'm at. Pretty much the place is my own. Do whatever I want. Come and go as I want. Quiet. I love the peace I find there. I deal with a zillion people a day in person and at the end of the day I go to the barn and just deal with my horses.

    I became pretty upset when my old mare got hurt. Think she got kicked in the face. Vet says there is nothing they can do about the skull fracture. It will heal and she will be fine. Her face just looks kind of off kilter now. She is eating and is happy. So know I have a pasture puff and an a horse with an indent in her face.

    I told the gal who owns the place I am tired of my horses getting hurt and I am leaving. She became really upset and started crying and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry for my horses getting hurt. Especially my gelding. He was my show horse. So much time and money spent trying to bring him back. I am keeping him. The vet he will get worse and eventually have to be put down. But until then he will have the best care from me and as much love as I can give him. We are buddies! My old mare and I have been together for 18 years. She will be with me always.

    So now she is afraid to let my horses out in the pasture, so I am there everyday lunging them. What do I do? Do I stay where I'm at or move? This has been really hard. Any input would be appreciated! Thank you! LTK!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
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    Whenever there's an accident, there needs to be an investigation and a full and proper understanding of the root cause.

    IF there's something that was intrinsically dangerous that contributed to the accident or injury then you would want to consider what could REASONABLY be done to mitigate the possibility in future.

    However you're saying that the premises are in good condition. You're not suggesting these were anything other than "stuff happens" incidences. Seems to me that to just move in those circumstances could be somewhat risky in itself.

    I'd say quite different though if you said that your horses were injured because of such as poor practice or poor equipment etc. If that were the case, then you put that right and if it's persistent poor management practice and a disregard for safety, then you get out.

    But you're not saying that, so I'm thinking that it's pointless moving.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Since you are already intimately familiar with Murphy and his laws, you know, sh*t happens. And some times in droves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  4. #4
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Sorry about your horses. I have to agree with the above though- sometimes, crap happens, and there's not much you can do about it.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Connecticut
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    Another vote for garbage happening. Would it be possible for your mare to have been kicked in the face by your gelding simply because her face was near the ground when he was kicking at a fly? My mare got kicked in the face by her colt when he was 4 months old. That caused swelling and some paralysis, most of which disappeared within a few months, and she coped very well.

    My suggestion is to go barn shopping with a very clear head, compare and make a good decision, not just a snap move.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
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    Not a note for garbage happening. Turnout groups need to be set up so the horses aren't constantly kicking each other, and horses need to be observed and groups changed when there is a problem, well before skull fractures and career ending injuries occur. Anyone can see the warning signs. When mixed groups are put in small areas with inadequate fencing, they're going to get hurt.

    Gates are not supposed to be hung so that there is a space between the gate and the post. They're hung overlapped, so a horse can't get his foot in btween the gate and post. You buy your gates 1 foot longer, and hang them overlapping the post so there is no gap. Anyone who doesn't get their gates hung correctly will eventually have a horse killed by it. Sometimes it won't happen for years, sometimes it will happen rather quickly. If it doesn't happen for a while, that doesn't make it safe. It's not safe. I watched a horse twist its foot right off and die right in front of me that had its leg caught between the gate and post.

    Shit happens, but you're not supposed to actually HELP IT ALONG. Leave.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2006
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    Murphy must have hired an assistant because I thought he was at my farm all spring. Two of my horses had both kick injuries and Lyme disease, one retired due to an old injury progressing to unsoundness and also got Lyme and number four broke his leg while playing in his favorite mud hole. My husband and I have rethought our management at length, but can't figure out anything we could have done differently to avoid those things.

    I'm sorry your horses were injured... I guess the only advice I can offer is to think through their management and decide if and how they could be managed differently before making any big changes. Having seen horses batter themselves in their stalls, keeping them in is no guarantee for avoiding injuries either...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2006
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    Dallas, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Not a note for garbage happening. Turnout groups need to be set up so the horses aren't constantly kicking each other, and horses need to be observed and groups changed when there is a problem, well before skull fractures and career ending injuries occur. Anyone can see the warning signs. When mixed groups are put in small areas with inadequate fencing, they're going to get hurt.

    Gates are not supposed to be hung so that there is a space between the gate and the post. They're hung overlapped, so a horse can't get his foot in btween the gate and post. You buy your gates 1 foot longer, and hang them overlapping the post so there is no gap. Anyone who doesn't get their gates hung correctly will eventually have a horse killed by it. Sometimes it won't happen for years, sometimes it will happen rather quickly. If it doesn't happen for a while, that doesn't make it safe. It's not safe. I watched a horse twist its foot right off and die right in front of me that had its leg caught between the gate and post.

    Shit happens, but you're not supposed to actually HELP IT ALONG. Leave.
    She said HER mare is in a pasture with HER gelding. So you suggest her horses should be boarded alone? Pastured alone? She said she's been there for 5 years and now two things have happened (none of them the BO's fault) so she needs to leave and since it was HER gelding that kicked HER mare that they should just be boarded ALONE.

    Anyone who doesn't have their gates hung properly? Any hung gate has a gap between the gate and the fence post, even if only a half inch, heck horses even get hung up in corral panels.

    I wish you owned your own place.

    And OP, two accidents in 5 years, one of them caused by YOUR OTHER HORSE, and you want to leave, well, then go, and hopefully the BO will get another boarder that appreciated her well maintained barn and understand that accidents happen. Shit happens, horses are born to try to kill themselves I swear and you could put them in a padded room and they would get hurt! I don't think it had anything to do with the barn itself.

    I hate your horses did get hurt, especially as bad as it did happen. Do you think it would have been any different if you owned your own place? Do you think it wouldn't happen at another barn??

    Good luck in your move.
    I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

    Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2008
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    NY
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    Two accidents is hardly a rash. And, sh*t does indeed happen. If your gelding did indeed kick your mare, it could happen again regardless of where you are if they are going to be pastured together.

    If the fencing is safe and the place is well-kept and well-run, then I'd say you just hit a streak of bad luck. However, since you already announced that you are leaving, you kind of have to...leave. Best of luck in the future.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
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    NorthEast
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    My horses are at home. I'm here to watch them all day.
    And they do get hurt. I had a few month period where they racked up a painful 5 figures in vet bills and I almost lost both. One ended up retired, the other came out of it over the long haul just fine.
    I'd sue me over it, but I don't have enough worth hiring an attorney over. Not to mention both me and myself have the same attorney which could make that difficult.
    Seriously, shite happens. Add in horses...and shite happens in 3s. At least. Usually they give us a few decent years in between their attempts at suicide. And then they try offing themselves every other week for sh*ts and giggles.
    There is no such thing as a 100% horse-proof horse-safe environment. Anywhere.
    Despite how much we love them, they're certainly NOT on Mother Nature's list of smart animals. She made them walking food for a reason.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
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    Western NY
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    I'm on the Murphy's law side; unless it was unsafe fencing or a poorly managed turnout group, both of those don't sound like they were preventable accidents.

    My horse got kicked in the head in the fall. I don't blame my barn owners... he was with a group he was pretty comfortable with and got along well with, despite only having been there a few weeks, and I'm sure it was an accident--he tends to be oblivious to what's going on around him when he has his head buried in a clump of grass or hay pile. My barn owners immediately took care of the wound and called the vet, and took great care of him afterward with his antibiotics and so on when I couldn't be out every day.

    Two months later he cracked a tooth, biting into his Himalayan salt block. Crappy timing, crappy luck, and you could point out that he got injured twice within a few months of being at that barn... but it was a total accident, and if anyone should be blamed, it's me for believing that those salt blocks couldn't be bitten into!

    Accidents happen to horses... if you think poor horsekeeping management was a factor in your horses' accidents, then go ahead and move them. But even the fanciest, most bubble-wrapped TB studs in Kentucky have accidents...



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    The way you tell it, it seems that wanting to leave a perfectly good place because some unfortunate, but common and unavoidable horse accidents is displaced frustration with what happened.

    I would not try to find blame where there is none, but just keep making life and horses as safe as you can and moving from a good, safe place to another I doubt will make you happier or the horses any more safe.

    As for hanging gates on the inside so there is not a straight line gap, if the gate is hung right, that gap should be minimal.
    If hanging the gate on the inside of the posts, the horses will bang themselves on the protruding gate as they run by, which is maybe worse than the rare time one may get hung on any small gap.

    I think that some horses tend to be more accident prone than others and it eventually catches up with them with a serious injury.
    Other horses are more careful and still, they are horses and can get hurt very easily no matter how safely we manage them.

    I hope you hit a run of good luck with your horses from now on.



  13. #13
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    Nov. 1, 2008
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    Usually they give us a few decent years in between their attempts at suicide. And then they try offing themselves every other week for sh*ts and giggles.
    Actually my home-grown gelding spent the first two years of his life casting himself against anything he could find-even in a 3-acre field, he'd lay down next to the fence and...cast himself Luckily he outgrew it, as he is now 17 hands!

    But, I had a vet once tell me that you could put a horse in a rubber matted stall and he'd eat the matting and colic-there are no absolutes when you're dealing with horses. So, we do the best we can and PRAY a lot!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Louisville, KY
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    Op,I do feel your frustration, and when in a heightened emotional state, it's easy to start pointing fingers for an escape, but honestly doesn't sound like the case here. It sounds like 2 unfortunate accidents. They happen, especially with horses.

    Last year, my mare had accident after accident, after accident. It cost me a fortune. All weird things, and not at all the BO's fault. The facility is safe and horses are very well cared for, but if they are determined to hurt themselves, they will. I've had my mare for 11 years. Every 3rd year, she has a rash of weird medical issues, it costs me a ton of money and leaves me shaking my head. Never anyone's fault, just the way of the horse. Sometimes its allergy related, like the year she was allergic to flies and all her hair fell out... others like this year, she nearly severed her tail in half. She was swishing at a fly, and her hair caught on the fence. She had a big melanoma that burst when she walked away and her tail went limp. Again, no one's fault. It's a normal wood fence, in great condition, and if she hadn't had a melanoma there, short of loosing a couple strands of hair, we never would have noticed.

    Accidents happen, and I wouldn't be rushing to leave. I'd approach the BO again, and apologize for your outburst stating you're leaving. I'm sure she already feels awful that on her watch, your horses were injured. Then walk the fenceline of the field your horses are in, and go over everything with a fine tooth comb, WITH the BO. If you see something that looks unsafe, point it out, and discuss a fix. The grass may seem greener on the other side, but I can assure you, it is not.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
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    Chapel Hill, NC
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    Drama much?

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Turnout groups need to be set up so the horses aren't constantly kicking each other
    Seems like her horse got kicked once. I'd agree with you if the OP said her horse constantly had dings, cuts, etc. from pasture antics

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Anyone who doesn't get their gates hung correctly will eventually have a horse killed by it. Sometimes it won't happen for years, sometimes it will happen rather quickly. If it doesn't happen for a while, that doesn't make it safe. It's not safe. I watched a horse twist its foot right off and die right in front of me that had its leg caught between the gate and post.
    You must have been watching a long time. How long does it take for a horse to die from a twisted off foot? Hours at least, considering they'd have to lose over 8L of blood from some of the smallest arteries in their body.

    Seriously, slc, your point is taken that measures can be made to make a place as safe as possible. But horses will usually find a way to get hurt in even the safest place. The OP has already stated the place is well kept, and the owners conscientious. There is always room for improvement, but there is no perfect place to board.
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  16. #16
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    Jun. 10, 2009
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    NH
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    Just out of curiousity, what kind of fencing is there in their paddocks? Not a leading question, I'm just wondering.

    Also, FWIW, I boarded my pony at a facility 2 minutes away and they were really too relaxed on her fencing, putting her in w/a horse who was bullying her (I spoke up immediately and had to put back alone), but the fencing, IMO was not safe enough. She was there all winter, slipping on ice when I couldn't get there to put sand down, and I was also told she got out because they didn't have her gate up twice and ran around. Think she got hurt once? Nope. Sound, happy, vet was out, chiropracted her, and she was fine all year.

    Fast forward to this spring. I get her home, safe wood fence all around her large, hole-free paddock, with electric wire, and of course, what happens? She kicks the fence and gets a huge swollen foot. Luckily vet came out immediately and it ended up not making her off at all, but still. If that had happened at her other barn, I would have blamed it on their poor fencing. Up here, I her paddock is as idiot proof as I can make it, and she STILL gets hurt! Horses!!@!! Haha.

    I'm just saying, you can make a paddock/horse home/stall/whatever the safest thing in the world and still sometimes they manage to hurt themselves. Best wishes that you figure out what will work for your two horses, they sound really sweet and it's obvious you love and care about them.



  17. #17
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    May. 3, 2006
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    I sincerely hope that the following is just a general diatribe or something that has just been googled and cut and pasted from a generic guide to managing risk with horses.

    For sure it's not specifically focussed on the OP's posting or circumstances. Neither does it particularly bare much resemblence to the real world.
    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Not a note for garbage happening. Turnout groups need to be set up so the horses aren't constantly kicking each other, and horses need to be observed and groups changed when there is a problem, well before skull fractures and career ending injuries occur. .
    If you actually had run an equestrian establishment you'd know that whilst managing herds is a fundamental, you can't micromanage horses and neither can you wrap them in cotton wool.

    You just need one to be clumsy or careless and you have the possibility of a contact or an accident.

    I'd love to know how you would personally suggest you keep an eye on horses 24/7 and manage ro race in and defer or prevent any contact whilst they're just goofing about whilst they socially interact and behave like horses.

    Anyone can see the warning signs. When mixed groups are put in small areas with inadequate fencing, they're going to get hurt.
    Interesting. But we've not been told those are the circumstances. Indeed we're told there's only a sum total of 6 horses at the establishment and that the OP's 2 horses are together.

    Gates are not supposed to be hung so that there is a space between the gate and the post.
    Now my gates all overlap the posts but it's entirely possible for a horse to go do something stupid and pull the gate off the post and get something stuck. Likewise there's always a gap between the bottom of the gate and the ground and Sod's... sorry ... Murphy's Law determines that it's precisely that which the horse will find!

    You buy your gates 1 foot longer, and hang them overlapping the post so there is no gap.
    That's a heck of an overlap and a heck of a huge gatepost. But I'm thinking you've not hung a lot of gates.

    (Mine are hung on the inside of two 6" gateposts and with a 3" overlap.)

    Anyone who doesn't get their gates hung correctly will eventually have a horse killed by it. Sometimes it won't happen for years, sometimes it will happen rather quickly.
    Never appreciated that "death by gate hanging" was a high accident incidence rate

    If it doesn't happen for a while, that doesn't make it safe. It's not safe. I watched a horse twist its foot right off and die right in front of me that had its leg caught between the gate and post.
    Blimey O'Reilley, I thought you'd have leapt in there and managed it long before that happened.

    After all you've suggested that careful observation and managing movement is all that's required to stop a swift kick and a skull fracture. I'm gob smacked you couldn't manage that and helped it along.

    Shit happens, but you're not supposed to actually HELP IT ALONG. Leave.
    LMFAO!!! Do tell PRECISELY what you think the OP did to HELP this along?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2005
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    OMG (as my kids say) - I have had three horses at many different barns over the past 10 years, and the only one with pasture injuries is the fancy show horse who is turned out alone and just about wrapped in bubble paper. It just happens - horses are horses - huge, lovely animals with brains the size of walnuts. Be very thankful for a barn owner who cries and hugs you for your misfortune. Most I have met would charge you for the inconvenience!

    P.S. The only BM I know who would hug me and cry with me has moved too far away (just in case she's "listening"!!!) :-(



  19. #19
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    Jun. 22, 2007
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    So, You are leaving what sounds like a fabulous barn, with a caring owner, because of a few accidents, which (probably) are no fault of the BO? It sounds like a nice facility, I'd like to see just how that gate is hung.... It's been mentioned several times-your mare has a kick injury-caused by your other horse? How is this in any way the fault of the boarding facility? In the gate incident, that sounds like a freak accident-horses can, and will, get themselves hung up in ways that we can't even imagine...While I'm sorry your horses have been hurt, I'd very carefully consider if leaving will be helpful, or not. What if the next place has group turnout, and your horses are in with numerous other horses? Then you will have more dings....and more to complain about. The grass is NOT always greener...

    To be honest, 5 years without an injury-You've been very lucky. Horses are horses-they are soooooo good at hurting themselves. My sympathies to you and your gelding on his severe injury



  20. #20
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    Dec. 25, 2005
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    slc 2,

    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Gates are not supposed to be hung so that there is a space between the gate and the post. They're hung overlapped, so a horse can't get his foot in btween the gate and post. You buy your gates 1 foot longer, and hang them overlapping the post so there is no gap.
    What about the hinge side? If you hang the gate so that the pins point at the opposite post, there's a gap. If you hang the gate so that the hinge side overlaps, there's still a gap. Have you figured out a way to hang a gate with no gap on the hinge side and still have the gate open? Please tell me more.
    Laurie Higgins
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