|The damaged car a horse ran into, with Leggs in the background|
In short, several horses (>10) all from the same barn were corralled together in a single, large pen with electric fence. Friday evening the horses escaped the pen and were loose, galloping in an open field. Our campsite and our two horse pens were on the edge of this field. Though it was dark, I noticed the loose horses and we soon realized it was dangerous and escalating. I was about to go out and help catch some loose horses, which might have been ok if it was just one. But Kenny realized this was more serious and dangerous than one loose horse. Kenny prompted me to take Jazz (TWH mare) in hand, while he took Leggs (MFT mare) in hand and we got them out of the horse pens while Bobbie stayed in the LQ. One minute after we removed them from the pens, a horse ran into the car next to our pens (see picture), in the process spooking an adjacent horse that was tied to a trailer, who then pulled back hard from the trailer and was now loose; this horse was found later in the field with a broken neck. The horse that ran into the car was very badly injured and now was standing in one of our pens. Kenny got a hold of it until others came to take it to the vets. Bobbie was able to clear out the back of the trailer so we could load our horses. This all happened in 5 minutes! I learned that the safest (and by that I mean safer) places for your horses are in-hand (it helps if they respect/trust you and have been trained with good ground manners) and inside your trailer, meaning good trailer loading skills are a must! How you set-up your ride camp in relationship to those around you can be critical and building in safety blocks is important.
|Our rig setup with the 3-side Protection Rule for my tent|
The ride went on as planned and all of the horses were accounted for by Saturday afternoon. The ride manager, vets and volunteers did an excellent job treating and transporting horses. Despite a crazy start I had great rides on Saturday and Sunday, which I’ll post about next. This post is only meant to give my account of the incident and if you’d like to learn more about best horse containment practices there is currently discussion going on now on the AERC facebook group.