Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Hack and a Loose Horse

The weather in Northwestern BC has been exceptionally uncharacteristic - I can't remember the last time it rained, and the creeping temperatures have made everyone (including myself) sluggish and subdued.

I can't complain, though. The weather has brought about the opportunity to ride in the arena a full month ahead of schedule, and I've been taking every opportunity I can to get ourselves out and about to start working on our fitness. I signed Annie and I up for two clinics this month, so the ball is certainly rolling and I'm excited!! One of the two day clinics is with our favorite instructor - Anthony, who I primarily rode with most of last year (for a grand total of 7 lessons!). And the other is a Dressage clinic with Derek Huget (I rode with him last January before Annie went for training. I fell off in my first lesson due to a loose girth and have been seeking redemption ever since... now is my chance, haha!).

The very best of frands!
That all being said, life has a funny way of getting busy, so Annie got an unscheduled 5 days off. Which, used to stress me out to no end (we have a schedule and need to stick to it!!!!), but now I kinda just roll with it. There is no reason we need to have structured ride times and days, especially when life outside of horses can get hectic at the drop of a hat.

So while I was missing saddle time, I didn't really stress about it. It is what it is - we make things fit when and where we can! I did manage to squeeze a quick ride on Annie after class last Thursday night and ponied Spud to get his 3x a week cardio in. In addition to wearing a grazing muzzle 90% of the time, he's already starting to look much better. We'll keep plugging away at it, and the whole ponying thing has gotten much better as I continue to take him.

We did a quick 3km loop (40min), alternating walking and trotting. Annie was great, although she felt kind of... meh? I'm not sure if she needs another adjustment or if she was just having an off day, but her movement didn't feel as snappy and purposeful. It kind of just felt like (and I'm over exaggerating here), a blind horse stumbling along a rocky trail. She didn't trip or stumble once, but it just lacked the feeling of purpose and the intention of going forwards towards something. I noted it and allowed her to stretch down and out during the trot sets, which she seemed to appreciate.

It looks cold and miserable, but the sun was just behind the trees!
As we headed home and were just about to round the corner of our street, we ran into two other riders - one was V with Geronimo and the other is a young girl who just got her first horse. V had rode over to this girls house to hand-walk with her to get this girls horse familiar with the area and sights and sounds. Supposedly she hasn't ridden him before, which seems questionable to me (esp for someone who is new to horses), but I just kinda shrugged like "not my horse, not my problem". Annie wigged out a bit, finding it to be the most interesting thing in the world to come upon other horses. It's seldom we do, but since the horse population has grown in the last year, we've run into quite a few horses this year already on our hacks, haha!

I popped off, said hello and introduced myself to the young girl. V and I chatted quickly before I meandered on my way, coercing Annie back to the barn because she was very concerned about where her new friends had gone. I finished untacking, picking poo, and a few other chores before heading home.

As I was driving home I kept getting notifications on my phone, so I stopped and opened them. There is a private Facebook group for the rural subdivision and someone had posted about a "loose brown horse". My gut reaction was that it was Spud ("I thought I had locked the barn door?" "How did they get out?!"). As I scrolled on the comments, another post popped up, "horse wearing saddle, no rider..."

I knew exactly who it was and turned around at one of the pull outs and doubled back to the subdivision. I knew V had been riding Geronimo, but had gotten off to walk with the young girl and her new horse.

When I got into the subdivision, my first priority was to see if V had made it home or not. I was concerned she may have fallen and been concussed somewhere on the roadways. As I drove to her house, I did a quick scan for a riderless horse, but saw none. Geronimo wasn't necessarily high on the priority list though.

You can see V and the other girl wayyyyy off in
the distance in this picture!
I pulled up the driveway and slammed my truck into park, jumped out and rounded the corner of the house to see V and her husband standing by the horse pen with Geronimo. Apparently, V went to re-mount after walking the girl home and Geronimo flailed/ spooked/ bolted and dumped V on the neighbor's lawn before galloping the entire way home. The neighbor had driven V home at the same time V's husband looked out his window to see Geronimo standing at the gate.

Thankfully, V is mostly OK. She's going to be quite sore and I imagine Geronimo will be too, but I feel less sorry for him in this instance!

Of the entire situation, what floored me the most was that of all these people posting on Facebook about a loose horse, not one person cared to check to see if the rider was OK. No one walked outside to check ditches by their house, no one bothered to make a few phone calls. Half of the people commenting weren't sure if the horse had been contained yet or if it was still loose... It wasn't until after I had replied back stating someone had fallen and was thankfully OK that people seemed to care. It actually really made me angry, and I was so glad I was in a position where I was able to drive back out and double check. I guess non-horsey people don't get it, but it was kind of a bummer that no one really seemed to put two and two together (horse is wearing a saddle... maaaaybe someone fell off?).

A lesson though, because I have a feeling a few residents of the area realized just how serious it could have been.

14 comments:

  1. Eek! That's scary! So glad everyone is okay. It's always surprising to me how oblivious non-horse people are...

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    1. I really couldn't fathom how they didn't put two and two together, but looking through the comments here and in person conversations in regards to this situation, I guess it's relatively common. Which is sad.

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  2. Non-horse people not thinking about the PEOPLE involved with the HORSE and how it could be a BAD THING to see a riderless horse with no rider in site drive me batty. I'm glad everyone is okay and that you were able to double-check!

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    1. It amazes me, to be honest!!

      And yah, I am glad it all worked out in the end. Scary though.

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  3. I think it's a non horse people thing - they've done that here too and there was a sad situation where someone well meaning put the loose horse in a stall at the fairgrounds and didn't tell anyone...meanwhile owner was just a short distance away on a trail and had to wait quite awhile before someone came across her and called for help - no one knew she was missing! Glad everyone is OK!

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    1. HOW?! How do these people NOT put two and two together?!

      When I had commented "rider was thrown from her horse and the horse took off", I had a billion alerts from people asking "OMG is the rider ok!?" "Where did she fall off?!" "Did the rider get home??" Like uhm... you guys could've walked outside and seen for yourself!

      The lady who initially posted it had wrote, "So sorry, my son told me the horse ran past the driveway, I didn't think to go check for a rider".

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  4. That is scary. And why I always ride with a cell phone. I am not surprised that the non-horse people didn't understand that it was potentially a dangerous situation.

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    1. She had a cell phone, but it was in her saddle bags... I always keep mine on my person for the exact reason of a runaway horse.

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  5. Yikes! Glad your friend is ok. Also glad if she had to get dumped it was at least on the lawn and not the road.
    Hope Annie is feeling ok. Maybe the warmer weather is making her a big sluggish.

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    1. Yah, I'm glad too! It could have been so much worse.

      Spoiler alert: she was feeling better for our next ride :)

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  6. oh man, naughty ponies! definitely a relief your friend is alright even if a bit banged up. it's hard to believe, but also completely true, that people who don't have any horse experience are simply not likely to think through all the possible outcomes of any given situation, even if it seems obvious to us. that's really only a skill you learn through practice and experience.

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    1. SUPER naughty!!
      Yes, I think the takeaway here was that a lot of people learned just how dangerous the situation could have been. So hopefully IF it ever happens again, people will be more willing to be proactive vs reactive.

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  7. holy cow i am so glad your friend is okay and the horse is okay (naughty horse!) people are stupid...i said it in my post and said it again.

    i had someone text me that Remus was dead in the field once (He was asleep) and also that a horse was loose so it was mine (no mine were in the barn). None of them were wearing saddles tho LOL

    Glad you are getting so much riding time in!! And Spud is going too :)

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    1. oh my gosh, haha. non-horsey people are so odd... I mean I understand that we can't expect them to know everything, but a little common sense goes a long way!!

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