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Hurt horse - cosmetic - feel sooo bad!!!

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  • Hurt horse - cosmetic - feel sooo bad!!!

    I take care of someone else's horse from time to time. He's a little funny sometimes, over-reacting, standing up, etc. We think he was abused by earlier owners.

    He was covered in mud yesterday, so I took him out and started vacuuming him. He's been vacuumed before, but not super regularly. He didn't flinch at the vacuum, had no issue with it.

    Everything was fine UNTIL I touched him with my free hand and this created a spark of static electricity.

    He FREAKED and started rearing, hitting the ceiling with his face a few times.

    He peeled off a lot of hair but thankfully missed the eyes and everything sensitive. And there was no blood. It just looks sad and he was so upset. He stood there blinking and flexing his jaw and I just died inside.

    I've been soooo upset about it. I feel like I abused the poor guy. I feel soooo bad. After we took care of him, I came home and started bawling as I told my fiance. (And, yes, I'm an adult.)
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

  • #2
    I would feel awful, too, but you didn't do anything deliberately to hurt him. He was standing fine so you didn't know he would react so violently. Just make a note of being very careful around his face from now on and make sure others know about his sensitivity.
    The best thing you can do to make amends with him is to work at desensitizing him around his face so that kind of thing doesn't happen again. I worked with my OTTB over his ears by holding my hand on the top of his neck behind his poll and giving him a peppermint with the other hand. Over 2 or 3 weeks we got to my resting my hand on his poll and scratching around his ears and under the top of his forelock while giving him a peppermint with the other hand. I can now rub his ears when he's eating his grain.
    Personally I think it is very nice that you care enough to feel bad. Some people would have smacked him for it.
    "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


    • #3
      It doesn't sound like she necessarily touched him on his face, but just touched him and shocked him, causing him to react in an upward fashion....

      OP, things happen and this too shall pass. We all hate it when something like this happens, but you will both live through it


      • #4
        The one thing I have learned in my years with horses is always expected the unexpected. I have a similiar type mare, who I have worked really hard to make her trust me, but there are times when she will kind of lose it for no major reason. I happens; you could not prevent static electricity and y'all are both lucky it wasn't worse.

        Try to look at it in the positive. Y'all are both fine and you can make it up to him with some treats and TLC.


        • #5
          Aw, I know you feel bad, I totally would too, but it was a complete accident. You can't control static.

          Bring him out lots of goodies, maybe brush his face off with an extra-soft face brush, just to make a good correlation between you grooming and his face, since it got bonked up a little.

          EDIT; Oh, and if you're worried about his owner, I'm sure she'll completely understand when you explain what happened. Especially if he has a history of being reactive. My mare is the same way; I wouldn't blame someone one bit if they were doing something routine, she panicked, and scraped her noggin.
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


          • Original Poster

            Thanks, all! It just helped to hear (aka read). I went bearing many treats today and he was happy to receive the love and attention. I'm sure he's sore but he doesn't hold a grudge. And no more vacuuming for him, no reason to risk more static electricity than needed!
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!