Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Snow and Pie Gets in Trouble

We had a substantial snow last night - one of the few snows we've had this winter - I think we got 7 or 8 inches, and it was the heavy wet stuff.  But very pretty - it was clinging to the bushes and trees and when it was coming down it was falling in enormous fluffy clumps.

For some reason, Pie has become very nervous and even herd-bound lately.  If there's a sign the other horses are going in, or a horse leaves the pasture, he gets frantic and starts running.  This really isn't (wasn't) like him at all - he worries a lot now.  Part of this is that he has no turnout buddies and no really good place to get turned out other than his paddock - it's decent sized, about 50x100 feet, but not the same as a real turnout with buddies to play with.  Sometime this morning while he was in his paddock, something either scared or upset him and he began to run - his paddock was all torn up.  At some point he ran into his gate, lifting it off the hinges (most of the gates at this barn are hung wrong with both prongs pointing up, which allows gates to come off the hinges too easily, and the type of gate is perfect for trapping equine legs and feet - just plain unsafe).  When I stopped by the barn in the late morning, the gate was sideways, hanging from the latch, and Pie was staying well away from it.  He clearly had gotten his left front leg through the gate bars and in fighting to get free had gotten several cuts on his leg, including about a 4-inch one on the outside of his lower leg.  Thankfully, he's sound and no critical structures seem to be damaged, although I expect he's sore and there's a bit of swelling.  Poor, poor fellow - he must have been very scared, and he was plenty afraid of the gate area when I led him down to the barn, blowing and snorting as he passed through.

I put him in his stall for a bit to calm down - he was all sweated up under his blanket so I took that off.  Later I moved him to a lower paddock opposite Drifter so at least he'll be as close as possible to the other horses.

I'm counting the days until Drifter and Pie are out of here and off to Wisconsin . . .

20 comments:

  1. Most horses don't like solitary turn out; Beamer has become used to it but gets quite worried if he can't see the other horses. He hates being alone. I'd like to get him a donkey companion, but Ted won't hear of it.
    Poor Pie! Hope his upcoming boot camp gives him lots to think about.

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  2. Bless Pie's heart - he's had a rough go of it lately. I hope the training trip eases his mind.

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  3. Poor Pie -- just a few more days and he'll be outta there, right?

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  4. Poor Pie! Glad he is OK but scary!

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  5. Poor Pie. Gate and horse interactions always scare me - they can so easily be hurt. Glad the injuries weren't serious.
    I hope he feels better soon.

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  6. Hi Kate,

    A little bit off the topic, but your post reminded me how intricate horses are, just like humans. They have their good days and bad days and 'f-u' days and 'I love you' days. They are happy about things, and are upset about things, and oh will they let you know about it!

    I had a really nice visit with a horse that is special to me today, and it was nice to have done that and come back to read your posts.

    As always, love reading!

    http://thatwhichreallyis.blogspot.com

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  7. Why can't Pie have a turnout buddy?

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  8. So sorry that Pie got hurt and glad that it wasn't worse. Poor thing, it's so rough on a horse being stuck in solitary. I hope he heals quickly and that once he gets off to the trainers, that he can get turn out with others. That will ease his mind so much.

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  9. I wonder what's causing these changes in Pie? Do you think it still might be connected to the EPM? I'll be counting the days until he gets to Heather's too. He's been having a rough time, and hopefully, the change of environment will help. Sending good, calm energy to both of you.

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  10. Oh, Pie, you poor silly thing.

    This may be the silliest question ever, Kate, but how else could you hang a gate? You're talking about a gate that sits on two L-shaped screw-in brackets, right? I've always seen them set on the brackets, and I can't think of how you'd physically get the lower bracket screwed in, pointed down, and lined up on the bottom hinge piece. I've never seen a horse wreck a gate, but now that you mention it, yes, it's not very safe at all.

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  11. I hate that Pie has spent so much time seeming out of sorts the last few months. Here's to a great Wisconsin getaway for Pie and Drifter!

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  12. Lori - Pie has no turnout buddy since Drifter is the only other gelding (our barn doesn't turn geldings out with mares), and Drifter is also on solo turnout because he was mercilessly harrassing and chasing Pie.

    Kathleen - unfortunately, since he's only going to be there for about a month or so, he won't be turned out with other horses at the trainers (to avoid herd integration), but he will be out 24/7 in a paddock with other horses nearby at all times.

    Funder - you have to have help to do it, but the objective is to get the top bracket pointing down and the bottom one pointing up - you have to hang the gate as you're turning the top bracket into position. Takes some effort, but once done the gate can't be pulled off the hinges by a horse leaning on it.

    Melissa and Victoria - I'm not sure what's up with him. When I got him he was very mellow, in fact a bit slow. He's much more nervous and reactive now - part of it is excess energy because he's been off for the winter and has limited space to run, and part is "waking up" as he mentally and physically matures and part, I'm afraid, is a loss of confidence on his part due to my fall - he's pretty herd bound now. I'm hoping the training of him, and me with him, will set things straight.

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  13. Thanks, Kate! I'll try to do my next gate right.

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  14. Poor Pie. Glad he is okay. I have seen a couple nasty gate/fence injuries. It is easy to forget how dangerous these everyday yet necessary structures can be.

    Harley hates being alone, probably because he was solo for so many years before he found me.

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  15. I feel so sorry for Pie. Sounds like too much energy and no way to get rid of it except emotionally. Hope the change of environment and working conditions help him settle back down.

    My Toby is herd boss and sometimes he gets frantic if he can't see the other two horses. Sometimes not. I never can quite figure out what triggers the "worry reflex." Horse brains are far more complex than we realize, I think.

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  16. Why won't they turn a gelding out with a mare? In my experience that usually works really well. Minnie can't cope being on her own either, if I take Cassie out I have to stable Minnie for her own safety, she'll jump anything to follow us. I'd love to have a small companion pony, so that the one that stays behind doesn't have to be alone anymore.

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  17. I'm very glad Pie's injuries aren't serious. That mean old gate. I hope he heals quickly. And I hope he feels more relaxed being a little closer to Drifter.

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  18. Kate...I know that every barn has it's own rules, but I too have always run my horses together...30 years worth of mares and geldings side by side. To me it is quite natural, and a horse by itself brings about frustration, particularly when they see a group that they are not part of. They are herd animals. That alone, could explain his behavior. He's always on the outside looking in.

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  19. Poor Pie. I feel sorry for him being out solo. I wonder if Drifter and he were put in together if they couldn't just work it out between them, then each could have a buddy.

    We've always put our whole herd out together including the mares. They've worked it out. Dusty and Nate are inseparable. If we do have to separate someone into the side paddock because of injury or illness they become upset when the herd leaves and run the fence. We have to put a companion in with them to avoid this behavior.

    Hope the training trip goes well for both of them.

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