So I’m gong to vent. As if the title of this doesn’t say that already.
Don’t want to hear it? Don’t read it. I will truly try to not go to profanity but I must say it’s really hard for me so this will be a sounding board post. Sorry in advance for this.
Lets start at the beginning.
We have recently experienced a VERY tragic loss. One of the horses at our small private barn (10 horses at total at a private barn) died last Thursday in a tragic unexplained event.
So to say I’m rocked would be to understating it.
I’ve been holding it in but I just saw a post on wordpress that really pissed me off in an unreasonable way. This person was talking about how easy their horse was to catch even though the main halter had gotten off, the secondary halter was still on and how willing this horse was to follow her when she grabbed the halter. My first thought was why the F*CK was this horse haltered at all times in the first place…stupid mother…….ergh! I was like really? How would you like to wear a hat at all times even when you are sleeping….hmmm sound annoying, even if it fit well do you think your head would be sore? GOOD, that’s gotta be what your horse feels like and worse for wearing a halter at all times. Most of this is stemming from a recent event but I had to get it out.
The ex-racehorse at our ranch, Wylie who was only 18 years old somehow did a maneuver that shattered his leg and cut thru an artery and cut more thru the skin… compound fracture that left him bleeding out in pain until the super awesome ranch owner noticed something was wrong in the field, he wasn’t out there with the rest of them running around and the horses seemed panicked she raced down there and found him covered in blood. broken and unable to get up.
The theory from the vet was he was alone when he did this, no other horse was around him or they would have been instantly covered in blood. I agree with this assessment considering all the blood on the boards of the outdoor arena which is where he did this. The outdoor and everything else is open to the horses at all times offering escape from all sides on a super big pasture and barn. The leg was shattered and when he tried to get up, he shattered his other leg too.
To me, I think the assessment is correct after seeing the scene of the accident. It doesn’t look like any of the other horses caused this considering the blood spray and how intense it was. They would have been instantly sprayed and weren’t. He looks to have spun and just crumbled.
After examining the bones with our friend, barn mate and barefoot trimmer who specializes in horse anatomy and dissection to help her understand the structures, she firmly believes he had spiral fractures which can happen to any horse strenuously worked at an early age (very common in race horses) and can fall apart ultimately at any given time from a weird tweak. She is sending the bone fragments to her mentor for confirmation but I’ve learned to 100% trust her opinion. She’s put more time & research in then most cardiac surgeons I know to her trade.
HIs owner is my friend. I know for a fact she didn’t push him into things he wasn’t ready for, she didn’t do things before conditioning or warming him up depending on the activity, he was mostly a trail horse that she knew the limits of and didn’t push him so I have a hard time believing this injury was in anyway her fault.
What I do believe is this poor horse was RUINED by the racing industry racing him as a 2 year old before he was fully formed pushing him, teaching him the exact opposite of what a horse should live like urging him to run from the herd, keeping him in a stall but feeding him basically jet fuel for horses (grain) in gigantic amounts while they are in their confining stalls. Only to be worked in the morning for intensive training.
The horse Wylie was honestly a social retard. He couldn’t cope well with other horses, his place in the herd and how to deal with a natural environment but he WAS adjusting….he was happy and easier to keep weight on and not being bullied in this herd, He even had a girlfriend named Jenny and they were inseparable.
Yet this poor horse just made one strange move and it set off in a domino effect everything that happened to this horse incorrectly caused by humans from his past and it fucking killed him.
One move……..because of us…humans shattered this horses body and future because we ruined him in an industry we consider normal because people like it and spend money on it.
That is heartbreaking to me. I know I didn’t cause it but I feel responsible because I’m a part of the reason (humans) pushing horses to do things they aren’t ready for. Horses are so willing to do whatever they can for us I get angry when people ask them without having the knowledge to condition and the common sense to get them ready for something we want them to do…why are we so focused on the goal that we are willing to ruin horses just because they are willing….that’s an ASSHOLE move in my opinion and just because the horses put up with it doesn’t mean we are RIGHT for doing it.
This horse suffered a horrifically traumatic and painful death because of humans. We need that to STOP. There are better ways of doing it and I prove it time after time working with wild horses so I KNOW THIS. So should everyone else.
The Nokota’s have taught me, we can connect, train and condition any horse without the huge crowd pleasing bucking fits most colt trainers say is normal. It doesn’t have to be this way! Just because it takes a bit longer doesn’t mean we can’t all do this! The reward is so much better.
I get so frustrated seeing people doing it the wrong way and telling all of us this is the way to do it when they have no idea how easily it can be done for the horse and at the same time build the trust it takes to make a great horse all ways around.
ANYTHING worth doing is worth doing well. Why don’t we apply this to our horses?
I always say, if you can’t wait for that with a living breathing being, instead of exploiting the horse, buy yourself a motorcycle. Horses are not machines, they deserve our respect and our PARTNERSHIP. If you aren’t willing to have that then you shouldn’t have a horse, you need to own a machine you can compete with.
I don’t understand this direction and I hope the better way, the new old way we do it now like we do with the Nokota’s…. it’s more mainstream soon enough to change the standard.
Nothing deserves this kind of disrespect just because they put up with it.
RIP Wylie. I’ll miss you lifting your lip up to me when we ask “can I see your tattoo?”