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Good chance my horse is alive because of his breakaway halter

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  • Good chance my horse is alive because of his breakaway halter

    My safety plug for the day. Sat. did a lameness exam on my riding horse and result is we are trying new $ shoes (Morisons ?) and pour in pads. Yesterday I hauled over to the farrier's--who is a nice man to redo feet on a Sunday.

    So my 15 year old, been there, done that thoroughbred is fine for the shoeing. Comes time to apply the pour in pads. For those who aren't familiar with these, you put a mesh between the hoof and the shoe and then after the shoes are on you stand the horse on a sticky styrafoam square and then insert the tube of liquid inbetween. The pressure of the horse standing causes the stuff to mix and set up and in 10 minutes you have a sealed in pad.

    Well my horse stood on the styrafoam pads and heard the crackle noise, realized something was stuck to his feet and he went ballistic. The cross ties were solid, and I question if I could have reached quick release snaps in time. I almost got my head smashed in as it was. He was rearing over backwards, striking out, out of his mind in panic. Halter tab broke (like it is designed to). I'm convinced if he hadn't had a breakaway on he would have snapped his spine, because he was going to end up upside down.

    We tried to do it again with me holding, and I have a sprained finger and very sore shoulder to show for it (yes, he got loose again). We have some work to do on desensitizing now, but that's a different thread. Farrier couldn't believe the "old man" was the horse that freaked--he's had two year olds at the track care less.

    My soapbox point is that I'm glad I had the fancy halter along, since we broke the first one, but I'm really glad I trailered over in the breakaway.
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Whoa scary. I'm so glad to hear that everyone lived through the experience, but take care of your sore finger and shoulder - ouch!

    Are you sure it wasn't the HEAT from the pour in? I've used Equipak and it gets damned hot. If a horse has thin soles, I would imagine they "might" be sensitive to it???????

    Even my old foundered pony who has 20mm of solar depth did NOT like Equipak one stinkin' bit.


    • Original Poster

      We didn't even make it to the point of actually applying the liquid. It was the styrafoam squares going on his feet that had him flipping out.
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        Thanks for sharing. What a good reminder. I hope your horse is OK.

        I'm a breakaway nut because I've experienced incidents like the one with your horse and the difference between scary and tragic oftens boils down to how easily the horse can break away, and what is left attached to them once they do.


        • #5
          Trottrot...my draft mare had to have those kinds of inserts on her front hooves for 3 cycles of shoes and we didn't do it that way. Because she can be a bit of a baby, he put the gel in by mixing it as he held the hoof up then we stood there, taking turns to hold the hoof till the gel set then let her lower her hoof onto a clean board. That may be the way to go with your boy as it doesn't really take all that long to set.

          Good luck and glad he is okay and hope you took ibuprofen and iced all your hurts and if they don't get well soon, go see the doc in case you fractured something.


          • #6
            I am a total advocate of break away halters. Or at least a leather halter (because those will break if under enough pressure). I have seen too many near tragic accidents that were only saved by a break away.

            Leather for every trailering, tieing, and turn out situation.
            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Belplosh View Post
              Trottrot...my draft mare had to have those kinds of inserts on her front hooves for 3 cycles of shoes and we didn't do it that way. Because she can be a bit of a baby, he put the gel in by mixing it as he held the hoof up then we stood there, taking turns to hold the hoof till the gel set then let her lower her hoof onto a clean board. That may be the way to go with your boy as it doesn't really take all that long to set.
              We've done this with Gringo in the past. Works well. Heck when we used Equipk on him we never applied the mesh stuff either... and the pad was still in 5-6 weeks later. Yes, the styrofoam can make some interesting noises... but try not using it next time. It may work out just fine for you.

              And so glad to hear that the safety tab broke... I know when Gringo freaks out, nothing ends up breaking, go figure.
              Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
              See G2's blog


              • #8
                YOur horse freaked out from standing on styrofoam? You say it was because it was stuck to his feet? Don't shoes stick to his feet?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Androcles View Post
                  YOur horse freaked out from standing on styrofoam? You say it was because it was stuck to his feet? Don't shoes stick to his feet?
                  Styrofoam crinkles and makes noises...shoes do not...have you not heard styrofoam before? Horses are flight or fight creatures, what may not alarm one horse may put another into a panic. My QH mare almost went over backwards last week when she came out of the shot the vet gave her to keep her calm while she was having her teeth floated. She has never done this before but this time, the apparatus in her mouth scared her...

                  OP...glad your boy is okay.


                  • #10
                    I have quick release snaps at both ends of the cross ties - the halter end and the ring end. I haven't had to use them in a panic yet. Do you think you could have gotten to them if they were attached to the rings?

                    Glad your horse is OK!


                    • #11
                      Was the halter one of those with just a little leather tab in it, or was the entire poll strap leather?

                      I've seen some really cute breakaway halters with just the little leather tab, but I wasn't sure if I'd trust them to work. I'd love to hear that they do work!
                      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


                      • #12
                        I use a Weaver 3/4" all-leather halter for doing anything "iffy" where I might have to rely on break away. I've had one break before in a panic sitaution in the horse trailer, which wasn't my horse's fault, but I'm dang sure glad that halter broke.


                        • #13
                          I've used the full leather crown breakaways and the 'tab' type. I kind of like the tabs better, but it's really 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Like a newbie, I never gave too much thought to it until one day when I was out of town and got a phone call about my horse. We had a round pen in the turnout field for introducing new horses to the herd and someone had taken their horse out and not shut the gate. My mare went to itch her face on the post and hung her halter up on the latch. Pulled the entire round pen about 20 feet apparently in her panic to get loose. Banged herself up quite a bit but nothing super serious and (thank goodness) the vet was onsite at the time, so was able to look her over right away. Person who left the gate open paid the bill too. I always put a breakaway on now. I know this is why some folks don't keep halters on in turnout too, but with nearly 30 horses to bring in/out daily, I don't think the barn staff would go for that, and I don't blame them.
                          OP, I'm so sorry to hear about the bad scare for your horse, and am glad it ended with no one serious hurt.


                          • #14
                            I'm glad the horse is all right and I hope you're feeling better soon! That must have been scary.

                            I agree that breakaway halters are incredible important! One of mine broke a (breakaway) halter in cross ties and I am SO GRATEFUL the halter broke.

                            I also think this should be a PSA for something else, too -- even if you have a steady eddie, quiet horse, it's not a good idea to have him/her crosstied for a "new" experience such as this. Whenever we do something new the first few times, I don't cross tie for this very reason.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                              Was the halter one of those with just a little leather tab in it, or was the entire poll strap leather?

                              I've seen some really cute breakaway halters with just the little leather tab, but I wasn't sure if I'd trust them to work. I'd love to hear that they do work!
                              The leather tab is what it was. It was the Flex Rider Padded Breakaway Halter from Dover. Actually from the insert catalogue with the cheaper price, to be exact. http://www.doversaddlery.com/flex-ri...1-0505/c2p/cs/

                              In retrospect, yes, it definitely would have been a better idea to have held the horse instead of having him in the cross ties! Another good idea is to have a piece of twine on one of the cross ties to break instead of the halter. Then the horse wouldn't have made it all the way to the road before being caught. I've seen the twine break before for others and it is not a bad idea. Sometimes you just can't get to the turtle snaps in time.

                              I don't know if a leather halter would have broken (a 3/4 probably would have, but mine is heavy and padded). This leather (the tab) is not nearly as thick. I know of a foal (not mine) that died last year with a leather halter on. Hung himself up on a post somehow--but the halter didn't break.
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/