"Eventing owners Chris and Lisa Stone are warning others about the risk of horse-walker accidents after four-star event horse Elektron died as a result of “freak and horrific” accident at their yard last Monday, 9 July."
Sorry to hear about Elektron. One of the first things I learned about horses was that if their head fits they *think* their whole body fits. Freak accidents happen anywhere and everywhere, stalls and pastures included. I know of a horse who broke his neck in a regular fence gate.
I know of enough wrecks with those things that I won't go near them. (We don't have one at 'my' farm. Farm owner has had her own first hand negative experiences.)
One handler seriously injured while 'training' horse to the walker. Horse freaked. Handler got bonked, stomped, kicked, run over, and generally traumatized.
Other times (well experienced) horses have chosen to disembark from the walker.....
I am sure the incidence of wrecks is pretty small, because I know plenty of farms in the area have them. Put dozens of horses on them each day, and it's only once every few years that there is really a serious problem
For those not clicking through to the original report, I wanted to point out that the horse broke its neck in an Equi-Ciser type machine rather than on the track-type hot-walking machine that is widely known in North America as a "walker".
So was the horse loose in the machine or was he tied? Just curious, guess it really doesn't matter. It's just terrible.
From the description I thought it was one of those where the horse is not tied. The walker has separate compartments and the horse walks around in its own area, with panels keeping it in. That way the horse's head can move freely in its natural position. I know someone who uses one like this for that reason and yes, because it's thought to be safer. If you've ever seen one, you'd know it was definitely a freak accident: how could a horse ever get its head between the panel and the outside wall? Sadly, freak accidents happen sometimes anyway. So sad.
The ones I have seen have had rubber on them to give, and also were electric to give them a shock if they got near it. At first I thought the horse was on a normal walker and stuck its head in the v part of the arm that it was tied to. I could see that happening.