Monday, June 23, 2008

Questions on Ghosts of Horses Past

There were lots of questions in the comments throughout the series, Ghosts of Horses Past I'm going to try and answer as many of them here as I can. If I missed any, please let me know so I can answer those as well.

I sometimes forget when I'm posting that I have readers from around the world. It's easy to go on with references known here in the states that leave those in other countries wondering what I'm talking about. That was the case with this question from GeckoMusings "What's DOT?" So for all my foreign readers, the Department of Transportation has the job of taking care of the highways, keeping them clear and running smoothly which includes moving broken down or wrecked vehicles off the roads.

Gecko's second question.......Have you ever written a book? gets a resounding no. I have a book started but have not gotten far. There is an outline and first chapter and that's it. It's not a horse book......but I hope to write those some day, if I can just get this first one done.

I have thought that I should write a book about the twins but have struggled with how I would format it. I think that it is beginning to take shape in my mind. An outline may not be far off.

DJ asked Who's the horse in this post? Kim guessed the mare is Phadra Rose but that is not correct. Faye is one of our broodmares and this is one of our Legs daughters. The horse pictured in part 3 is Scandalous Faith (but I had to look really close to be sure it wasn't Scandalous Rose because they look so much alike!) Kim asked "is she considered a gray mare?" The answer to that is yes.

For those non horsey folks who read my blog, a gray horse can be a horse of any color that looses color pigment, resulting in a gray or white looking horse. Faith is graying out from a chestnut color.

Beth from the Funny Farm "YIKES! And what did the owners of these horses have to say?" The woman who owned the horses was shocked by this whole thing. She had no idea that horses were capable of such violence, let alone it happening with her own stallion.

According to her, the stallion was a sweet, kind, quiet horse that had never shown any signs of aggression, not even in breeding. It just goes to show how important it is that we never forget that they are horses. Instinct is a powerful thing and can affect them in ways we just aren't prepared to deal with.

inkeq Question though, shouldn't there be separate stalls for stallions? Or not? I am not aware of any shows that separate stallions. Grey Horse Matters I'm still wondering why they would even stable a stallion next to a mare? Stabling is assigned based on the number of stalls required. I've worked as a barn manager many times and I never knew the sex of the horses of the stabling I was assigning. In all those years I only had one request to move a horse because it was a stallion.

As far as separating stallions from mares, I even haul mine together with no problems. They are used to being next to each other and are just fine. Legs may smell mares over the top of stall walls but he never talks to them or drops. He just visits with whatever horse puts their nose up over the wall.

I know of one other incident where a stallion tore the stall walls down but the owners were present and moved the horse to another stall. On another occasion, a stallion owner took the horse home because he felt the stabling was not adequate for his horse. However, those specific portable stalls are used at the big show in Scottsdale each February and many other horse events and have had some of the biggest named stallions in the Arabian industry housed in them.

Lori "Were there no other people around camping on the grounds?" There probably were people from the horse show camping on the grounds. The location of that area is far enough from the Pavilion that the nose would not have been heard.

"DJ" from Blog & Pony Show asked a couple of questions. She started off with "Love your boy Louie! Is this Scandalous Image or another one?" This is indeed Scandalous Image. We do not call him by the name "Image" because that was the name of the colt whose story is here

"Do you think the police could have handled things?" It never occurred to me to call the police. I guess I figured it was a horse show issue not a police matter and required horse people for a solution. I hadn't occurred to me that the security guard wouldn't be horse savvy until he was already involved.

Holly from dogsnhorses asked . "Did the owner ever find you and thank you?" I did speak with the owner several times during that show and at another show afterwards. They were very grateful.

Interestingly enough, they called the tack store I worked at during this time to have me bring down halters to show those horses with at a later show. I charged the halters against an account I set up for them. In the end they stiffed us for that charge which did not set too well with my boss. I guess they weren't as grateful as I thought.

Midlife Mom from Home on the Range "Where were the owners? Weren't they camped on the grounds somewhere or were they in a hotel off grounds?" I believe that the owners were in a hotel off grounds but not positive. Wherever they were, they weren't close enough to know what was going on until they arrived at the show the next morning.

Molly HolaMole' " I think/wonder if this shock condition is what we used to call "tie-up," or if that is another stress reaction." While this was answered in the comments, I think it's important to mention it here as well.

Shock and tying up are not the same. Shock in horses is pretty much like shock in humans, I think. The system cannot handle the stress of a traumatic incident, injury or illness and begins to shut down. If not properly treated shock can end in death.

Tying up on the other hand, while quite painful to the horse, does not cause death. It can be severely debilitating and, from a groom who has dealt with it, very disturbing.

In response to a comment about tying up, Original L from Me, Mira, and the Racehorse Dude said " I bet shock and electrolyte imbalance from sweating could lead to muscle cramps, though..." I believe this could be possible. However, I have heard that tying up seems to run in particular bloodlines and has more to do with how the systems of those horses deal with lactic acid. Feeding horses who tend to tie up baking soda as a regular part of their diet seems to relieve the symptoms.

One of the comments didn't ask a question but made reference to this vicious behavior in the animals that I have such passion about and I thought I should address that comment here. I don't believe that this type of behavior is isolated to Arabian horses.

I have heard lots of stories about other breeds of stallions savaging mares during breeding. In fact there were some famous thoroughbred stallions who routinely savaged mares during breeding. Despite those behaviors and the fact that thoroughbreds can only be breed live cover, these stallions continued to breed and savage many, many mares.

I don't know what "clicked" in that stallion that night to cause this behavior, just like I will never know what "clicked" in my gelding, Malachite, that caused him to attack my mare Scandalous. (see Down a Rocky Road) The only thing I know for sure is that it has to do with instinct and at this point in time we humans don't have enough information to understand the behavior.

This was a night that I will never forget. I hope that I never experience any such incident again but I know that in dealing with horses anything can happen. It's a good reminder to not take for granted the "nature" of these animals that I love so much.

The horse in this picture is Vee, Scandalous Love.

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  1. Ah, yes, Vee. The mother of the twins!

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions! :)

    Just one more. How's Andy's leg?

  2. thank you for taking the time to post answers to so many questions.

    I was surprised to see you say

    "She had no idea that horses were capable of such violence, let alone it happening with her own stallion."

    I am always (and sometimes unpleasantly) amazed that people don't think about how violent ALL animals can get. I think in this case, it was perhaps anxiety at being in a new place, or some other emotional issue that simply escalated. Had there been people around it would likely have never reached such a frenzy as someone would have gotten the horses settled and maybe seperated. Fortunately you were delayed enough that you got there before it got worse and you had the experience to handle the upset stallion safely.

  3. Ack! What happened at Regionals!?? Tell us! All week I've been imagining myself at our Regionals and wondering how you've been doing.

  4. Welcome home, MiKael. Seems like you were gone for a month while we suffered through that story. And, thank you for the clarification on tying up. That makes sense.

  5. Thanks for answering all the questions. That was some night and I hope no one ever has to experience it. As for the owners, I would have been so grateful to you, I would have given a reward of some kind to you and not stiffed you on the halters. Geez, some people.

  6. I have a gelding who was attacked by another gelding last week. A large chunk of my guy's neck was bitten off. The attack was witnessed by a couple people who report my guy was grazing. For sure reason, the other gelding got mad and attacked. They are horses. Stuff happens.

  7. dj, yes, Vee is the mother of the twins. Currently I am riding her trying to get her well started under saddle.

    I think it's interesting that when I began riding her again, she struggled with her balance some. She had no problem with her balance carrying a rider before her pregnancy with the twins so I can't help but wonder if this is related to that in some way.

    I will post an update on Andy's leg. He's due for a dressing change soon and then I'll get a chance to see it for myself.

    holly, it didn't surprise me that she was unaware that horses can be so violent. I see many people who don't think about those possibilities at all. They seem to think because their horse is trained that all the "wild" has gone out of them when nothing could be farther from the truth.

    dressagemom, regionals was a trip! And I am exhausted but will begin posting about them today, I think, if I can get the cobwebs out of my brain. I can't believe how tired I am.

    molly, it feels like I was gone for a month as well and looking at my house, you'd think it was twice that. lol

    grey horse, you're right about the people. That was really odd.

  8. Thanks for answering the questions! Oh and I defintely think you need to do a horse book-I know all your horsey bloggers would want one! You have a way with writing!!!
    BTW-I have a big Extreme Race coming up July 11-12th and I will be having to stall my mare for the first time and I am more than alittle concerned before the story and now I am not wanting to do it. I know things happen, but I have never left her alone. The only good thing is she will know at least 4 of the horses there, but one is a stallion, none other than her Dad! Already told hubby I will probably stay there with here! LOL!

  9. Thanks for answering the questions. I hope you all did well at regionals and that Andy's leg is healing well.

    I'm always amazed when people, who are horse people, don't remember that horses are animals and are actually ruled by instinct, not us. It's that human arrogance in the way again.

    There are times when I'll go to take one of my horses out and I'll stop and leave them alone. Sometimes it's just better to leave them to work through thier snit on their own and other times you do have to get in there and make them behave.

    I'm just glad that no one was hurt when those two horses went on thier rampage.

  10. kwdhorses, if it makes you feel any better, even with having lived through this, I am still pretty confident about leaving my horses in the stabling at horse shows. Of course, that is based on the the condition of the stalls I have left my horses in.

    I think this stall failure was a fluke. I think horses are far more likely to escape stalls through doorways than walls coming down. The doorway escapes happen because humans don't fasten them properly and the horses get out and wander around and visit but nothing bad happens......there's a mess in the aisleways with lots of poop in the aisleway. If hay is in the aisles, that can get trashed but the whole thing usually ends in added barn humor with the horse none the worse for wear.

    My guess is that your mare will be just fine and you'll both have a great time.

  11. Lady of chaos, I'm glad that there was no one hurt either. I think back on that night and think we were all very lucky.

  12. Welcome back MiKael.

    I just had to ask one question,How badly was the mare injured and the Stallion for that matter? I am assuming that they both survived the experience.

    Whenever I introduce new horses to a band I have my heart in my throat because you just never know what will happen. They are so unpredictable sometimes and it is normally when you least expect it.

    Whenever I shoot at a show I look at all the stalls and while some people live in their campers or extended trailers' living quarters on the site next to the stables, some dont, and I always wonder how they can happpily drive off down the road and leave their animals behind. I would be one of those who pitches a tent next to the barn LOL.

    Looking forward to the stories from this past week and the progress on Andy's leg.

  13. Lori, I posted all I know about the horses's condition on the last post of the series. Sorry, I have no other information than that.

  14. Horses are beautiful. Now and then, like all animals, you get one with a kink somewhere that either needs to be fixed or special care needs to given. Talk about abused...horses are among many animals totally neglected and abused as are dogs chained to their houses to die of starvation or thirst. Can you imagine?

    I reserve a place like that in hell for those kinds of people. I won't watch Animal Planet on television because I can't stand to see the animal abuse cases.

    Anyway... short fuse today. I read one of your other blogs which brought my abuse back in front.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog Brookville Daily Photo this morning. I hope you enjoyed my post today showing the honey bee and the hollyhock flower.

    I saw a special last night about the disappearance of honey bees and it is sad to think that most of the fruit, nuts and vegetables we eat would disappear with them. So governments are busy trying to find the culprit before it is too late and one huge problem is the use of insecticides.

    Anyway, I wanted you to know I was here to repay your visit and comment with one of my own. Kind of like "Kilroy" was here... remember those drawings everyone used to make?

    I enjoyed reading your blog post for today and I thought the photography was good too. Horses are special and your horses are great.