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Beware Attack Salt Blocks

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  • Beware Attack Salt Blocks

    Today, as usual on Saturdays, I pulled in with a fresh two round bales and drove up to the pasture gate. The horses, as always, immediately rushed to the gate on the other side and did their best brontosaurus interpretations, always hoping that THIS TIME, they will be able to reach clear across the truck to the bed and commence work on the new hay immediately.

    Nope. No escape in the plans for today. I dished up the morning grain, late (to their disgust) for this very reason, and headed in with buckets and lunge whip. All grain delivered into separated feed pans a good distance from the gate, and with horses happily munching and the coast apparently clear, I returned to swing the gate wide open and drive in.

    Just as I was driving steadily through the gate, one of the horses decided to go steal somebody else's pan, and the victim, instead of simply switching pans, saw me driving in with hay and decided to come try out the rolling buffet instead and be first in line. Here came that horse on a brisk trot, and with visions of the open gate dancing in my head, I hit the accelerator to get on through the gate so I could quickly jump out and close it.

    There is a formerly 50-pound salt block sitting to one side of the gate near the water trough, although it has gone on a diet and is now Mount Saltmore with various intricately sculpted designs and probably weighing in at 25 pounds. As I hit the accelerator suddenly, the truck slipped just a bit in the pawed-up mud just to the inside of the gate, and it slid sideways into the salt block with a front tire. Kerthunk! Ah well, we hit the salt block, I thought, still more concerned with the rapidly approaching horse. I quickly threw the truck into park once clear of the gate and jumped out to close it.


    What's that sound?


    Is it a snake?

    SSSSSSSSssssssssss s s s s s s s ....

    No, it's my driver's side tire, now suddenly, within a minute flat, a pancake.

    I cast irritated glances at Mount Saltmore, which had a fresh saltslide down one face and clear impact marks. It definitely gave as good as it got, though.

    With dress rehearsal to get to and no time to deal with this at present, I quickly unloaded the hay (thumpity-thump-thump), then drove the truck back out and parked it. I'll have to get the tire off and take it down to Walmart.

    I can hear it now.

    "I ran over a salt block."

    "A what?"

    "A salt block. Big salt block."

    Wonder if they've ever seen a post salt-block accident tire before. I just hope whatever that thing did, the tire is fixable. New tire really not in the budget.

    Beware of salt blocks. They apparently have teeth.

  • #2
    Now, that salt block story begs the question of how slick are your tires, really?
    Maybe it is time to get new ones, maybe?

    We use very aggressive mud tires in our farm pickup, the same they use in the military, just because of those assault blocks and bayonet mesquite thorns.

    We fix our own flats with plugs and once, while changing to new tires, the tire shop attendant, amazed, counted 111 plugs in one front tire alone.


    • Original Poster

      The tires were brand new last winter and have very low mileage, as I only use the truck for farm stuff and use the car mainly. They are in quite good condition. I normally switch into 4WD in the pasture but hadn't shifted yet, as I usually do that when taking off again to deliver round bales after stopping to close the gate. It was the sudden surge combined with not yet 4WD that made the truck slip.

      You just haven't seen my mud.


      • #4
        That is right, what we call here mud is probably dew where it rains properly.

        That kind of accident sounds rather terminal for that tire, a large hole I assume.


        • #5
          I was looking to buy a new salt block today at Tractor Supply... now I'm glad I didn't
          http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


          • #6
            DT, I am pretty sure we are twins separated at birth.

            I *am* adopted after all.

            I thought stuff like that only happened to ME.

            (and BOY do I know about the open-gate-trying-to-dump-round-bales saga... )
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


            • #7
              Better than my former barn owner, who has never, in over 30 years of riding, had a serious injury while riding.

              However, while cleaning a stall one day, she tripped over the salt block, fell and dislocated her shoulder. She still has to exercise it consistently to keep the muscling strong enough to keep the shoulder bone from slipping again.

              Maybe salt blocks should come with a "hazardous" label?
              If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
              Desmond Tutu


              • #8
                DT, I empathize with the disgust, frustration etc but must tell you, I love the way you write! Your description of the event had me ROFL.
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                  We fix our own flats with plugs and once, while changing to new tires, the tire shop attendant, amazed, counted 111 plugs in one front tire alone.
                  Wow! Impressive!

                  On the other side of the coin, there was a car accident in front of my house last week. Nobody was seriously hurt, but both cars were totalled.

                  The driver of one of the cars looked at his mangled vehicle and said sadly, "Those snow tires have less than 20 miles on them." Poor kid!


                  • Original Poster

                    The tire, unfortunately, is dead. The tire place commented on what good condition it was in other than the new hole punched in the inside sidewall.

                    Beware of salt blocks. They are truly vicious.

                    (Have you ever wondered what a horse person's horror movie would be like? Attack salt blocks that come to life and reposition themselves under your tires, extending a salt knife on the way by? The poltergeist who reopens gates that you double, triple, and quadruple checked were closed? The ghost horses that gallop around the house on nights of high wind and makes you wake up with your heart in your throat, thinking your herd is out?)


                    • #11
                      Don't forget the pitchforks coming to life and chasing you around the barn!


                      • #12
                        Damn- they SHOULD come with a warning!
                        I picked up feed this morinign and 4 of those little salt blocks. I carried them in my arms lovingly to the feed room and of course, as I stooped to put them down on top of a feed bin, one dropped onto my toe, causing me to straighten up suddenly and hit my head on the step ladder hanging on the wall, causing it to fall amid a great clatter. (and a bumped noggin).

                        Salt block-one, Cat-nothin'.
                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                        • #13
                          I think most horse people could be contenders for that Funniest Home Videos show, if we just had somebody to follow us around with a camera!


                          • #14
                            My toes shudder in fear at 2 things - Rico during tack up time at the trainers barn and me carrying a salt block.
                            Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                            Witherun Farm


                            • Original Poster

                              I'm just back from getting a new tire at Walmart - the local service fix-a-flat place that declared the old one dead had none its size.

                              So off I went to Walmart this morning with the tire from the truck in my car. Pulled into TLE at Walmart to find absolutely no line; maybe my luck's turning. I explained that I had a dead tire from my truck in my car, passed over the size info, and the cashier was doing the paperwork in the computer. Just then, a tire tech came back through from break, and she called out, "Go ahead and start getting a new tire mounted for her," and named the tire. I held out the keys, and the tech took them and said, "What are the keys to?"

                              "Little green Focus," I replied.

                              He nodded and took about 2 steps before SCREEEECHing to a halt (you could almost see the cartoon-style doubletake) and looking back at me. "You want me to put THAT on a FOCUS??????"

                              I'd love to watch them try.


                              • #16
                                Hahaha!! Priceless!

                                I was not attacked by a salt block, but one made me feel like an idiot the other day. Purchased a new little mineral block for my mare - was careful to get the right kind for the holder, because last time I got the thick kind, not the thin kind, and it didn't fit.

                                So I buy the thin kind, take it to the barn, and attempt to put it in the holder. It won't go. I shove on it for a while, decide that I might need tools for this, and put it down, to be dealt with later.

                                Later on I look at the salt block lying there and realize that it's tapered. It's thicker on one end than the other. I picked it up, put the narrower end into the holder, and shove. It goes right in.

                                I was not injured, but I might have been if I had gone for tools...

                                Adams Equine Wellness


                                • #17
                                  You just brought back an awful memory from my childhood, dressagetraks. Thanks a lot! When I was a kid, maybe 7 or 8, I went running full blast through the barn barefoot (no idea why, except I was a kid and that's what kids do) and kicked a salt block. I can still feel the pain just thinking about it. Almost lost the nail on my big toe.

                                  As I recall, didn't stop me from running through the barn. Just made me look out for salt blocks.