When I started this blog I set the byline as ‘Writing about horses’. And I do write about horses and ponies, just not in here, which leads to a bit of confusion. So, Here’s to the horse.
Just as summer was hitting the high mark this year, we suffered a bit of a setback here at Silver Wings. As I prepared for the next show, determined to have Oberone ready for that pesky trail class, I messed up. My horse, like many others, likes to play with toys. But in the absence of safe toys, he will play with whatever he can find. In this case, his feeder. And it resulted in a pretty bad injury.
Over the years, I’ve been known to anchor my feed buckets in a pickup tire. A tire makes a pretty good feeding system because it keeps the horse’s head in a natural position for eating, it’s portable and yet heavy enough to stay where you put it, and it’s the perfect size for a sixteen inch Foretex or metal feed pan. I’ve never had trouble with them – until now.
Usually Oberone will nose his tire under the fence so he can check under it to see if he dropped a crumb on the ground. It’s an odd behavior, I’ve never had a horse move these things before, but I figured it was safe enough. Then one day I found the tire in the middle of his pen. Okay, that was different. I shoved it back where it belonged and finished my chores, which included Oberone’s workout.
He was really getting good at the ‘gate’ obstacle.
The next day I found the tire in the middle of his area again, and the feeding pan at the other end. So he’s decided to take the pan out and toss it around. I was mildly curious about how he was moving the tire, but I’d already seen him nudge it with his muzzle. Still not worried.
Next day, same thing. Only this time I decided to hang around and catch him in the act. Amusing. After he finished his feed and then his hay, he went back to the tire-feeder and dragged the pan out from the rim, tossing it in the air. He followed it and stepped on it a few time. When he got tired of that game, he proceeded to paw the tire. He hooked his left front hoof in the rim, lifted that heavy tire off the ground and hobbled on three legs, dragging it across the corral.
I about fell out. I called my husband to watch this bizarre new trick. Unbelievable.
As soon as I finished the project I was working on, I planned to remove that blasted tire.
Only I got busy with something else, then something else again. I never did get that tire out of the pen. Nor did I get to the feed store to purchase a different type of feed bucket. Oh well. I’ll get to it tomorrow, first thing.
Welcome Murphy’s Law.
The next morning, Oberone was lame. Not just a little bit. He’d nearly broken his leg. From the hoof mark on the inside of the tire (you know, where the air goes!), and from the abrasion on his cannon bone, I’d guess that the tire flipped on him, trapping his leg and nearly twisting his foot off.
There are simply no words to describe the feelings of shame, grief, and anger.
The leg wasn’t broken, thankfully, just very badly bruised and sprained. I knew what to do, and did it. I also knew how long it would take to heal. The rest of the summer. I missed the show we were preparing for, and might miss the next one as well.
Come to think of it, this isn’t the first time that idiot has hurt his leg. Uh, scratch that. This isn’t the first time his idiot owner has left a booby trap for him. Let’s not do that anymore.
If you figure you need to do something – do not put it off, do it.
Procrastination is not your friend.
If anything can happen, it will happen.
Trust your instinct and then do what that stinkin’ thing tells you to do.
And about a dozen more clichés I don’t have time to list.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining.
This accident became the springboard for my next Black Pony series book. The story has been bubbling around in the back of my mind for a few weeks, and finally it is started. As yet untitled, my main character loses the use of her horse the exact same way, but her interest is drawn to the wild horses in the Tonto National Forest outside of Phoenix, Arizona.
My new story has its roots in my first book, THE BLACK PONY. Carla Jenkins rides a dark brown Mustang named Legend. She has promised to tell the story to Annie. Carla’s story takes place about two years before she meets Annie, but you will recognize many of the characters.
If you would like to brush up on the story, check out THE BLACK PONY on Amazon.
To learn more about the wild horses in Arizona, check out the Salt River Wild Horses.