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My Horse Fell On The Ice.......HUGE Warning

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#1 Marty


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 12:14 AM

I have had two horses in the past get injured from slipping on the ice. I was new in this State and not used to knowing about horses + ice+ snow beings from Florida. After all, you see plenty of TV commercials with people are riding and galloping through the snow, right?
So I learned my lesson well.

Two days ago the snow was melting enough where you could see the ground through what was left of the snow. No ice in sight and the temps were in the high 30's so I let my horses out for a good run. Mistake. One of the minis slipped on a left over patch of ice behind the barn that I didn't spot in time and another one who followed behind did also. They were ok and didn't fall or anything but that was a broken leg or a stifle wreck looking for a place to happen so that was my cue to get everyone back inside which I did.

Sonny my big quarter horse didn't want to go out in the first place. I practically had to drag him out. He has a great sense of self preservation and that white stuff on the ground doesn't appeal to him. He would live in a stall 24-7 if I let him. I forced him out thinking he needed to exercise and get his old bones moving about. So it was time to get Sonny in. He comes in last. I called him and he came trotting to me and then picked up that slow lope of his and then went into a full gallop. I got out of his way in a hurry and as I opened the gate really wide I slipped on another patch of ice that I didn't notice was even there when I put him out. As Sonny came storming in there was no way to stop him it happened so fast as he went through the gateway, he skidded on the ice and went down and fell on his side hitting hard. Half of his body was outside the gate and the other half was inside. His back leg went through the cattle panel there up above his hock and his foot and ankle through another square and his body all stretched out. He lifted his head struggling to get up and I held it down talking to him for fear he would bring down the entire panel and tear his leg off at the same time. It was a miracle that he managed to calm himself and as he got up, his legs somehow slipped out of that cattle panel without one scratch on it. I only had to help guide his other hoof through for him which was still hung up. I have said before those panels are no good because in a case like this, there is no give to those squares like there is in field fencing where you could move them with your bare hands if you had to. If I had to leave him alone and run for bolt cutters this could have gone south in a hurry. He was also wearing his winter blanket which kept him from tearing up his body on the ground.

Sonny got to his feet on his own, very shaken but picked up his slow jog and went right into the barn without a hitch in his step. He stuck his head in his feeder and proceed to eat his dinner while I went over him with a fine tooth comb. Again, not a scratch to be found but I knew he would be sore for a couple of days. He turned to me with a mouth full of food as if to ask "What the heck just happened to me out there".....I tell you I was shaking myself for a good 45 minutes and drank about 3 cups of hot tea when I came in.

Everyone here lets their horses out to play in the snow right? Ok I don't know how you do it but these little left over patches of ice that are left overs are near impossible to see without going over every last inch of ground.

My big old man is sore today as I expected but it looks like I'm going to end up having to hand walk a lot of horses till winter is over. I'd rather do that and clean stalls ten times a day than ever see a horse fall on the ice again.

This has been a public service announcement. :wub

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#2 Blackwater Farm

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 12:38 AM

My gelding pulled a Bambi on the ice last year and ever since then I have been really careful when I let him out. I have never had a problem with any of the big ones they seem to stomp right through whatever ice we do get down here. But it didnt occur to me that the mini was a lot lighter than my 1100 lb paint horse and that he might not quite be able to break through(I was having trouble breaking through, it had snowed then rained and then frozen). He let out a good buck and all four legs went out from under him and he slid on his belly/side across the pasture. He didnt get hurt thank God! I think back on it now and it's kinda funny cause it makes me think of Bambi when he first walked on ice!

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#3 Minimor


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:41 AM

Well, I have found that when horses are outside all of the time, they are more sensible about ice & such. They get more regular exercise & don't have the pent up energy. They know where the ice is and they remember it, so don't get kiting around and charge onto the ice. This fall one of our paddocks had a big puddle in it (too much rain, ground was saturated so we had this "lake" out there) at time of freeze up. There are two weanling colts in that paddock & we were concerned that they might venture onto the ice & get into trouble. But, they knew--even after we had a pretty good snow cover they stayed off that ice. Apparently they realized that they would still go through the snow & slip on the ice--there were tracks all over that paddock, except where the ice started. The snow covering the ice was pristine for the longest time. Now that the snow has settled some and there is even more of it (a couple feet on the level) they do go all over the corral, even on the icy part, but with that much settled snow on it the footing is as good there as anywhere. Had they been kept stalled a lot and then got turned out for a run in the snow, yes, I'm quite sure that they would have charged across the ice, not realizing that it was there under the snow cover, and they would have surely fallen.

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#4 Taylor Richelle

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:21 AM

So glad your boy is alright Marty! That must have been horrifying! :shocked I am a nervous wreck when I put mine out even if there is just a little patch of ice. My first Mini (Josh) his breeder had a beautiful little mare a couple years ago who went out, slipped on the ice. and hurt herself and had to be put down. :No-Sad I am always so worried something like that is going to happen to mine.

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#5 Suzie


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 06:59 AM

So glad you and the horses are okay! I know exactly what you mean. We have the same way here. We get a warmup and then a re-freeze in this area and major ice. My 21 year old mare went down hard a few weeks ago and I was like you,--- major heart attack time. She got up and went on but I am sure she was sore for a few days. My 31 year old Quarter horse has more sense than me-he stays in his outside stall and walks gingerly outside when he does go out. The donkeys say "forget it"-donkeys are not dumb.

We have a lot of older horses here and me and my husband are no spring chickens either. I have a broken hip, broken wrist and bum knee to prove I don't have enough sense to stay off the ice and snow, so I don't push my horses outside either. I am always amazed at the more northern people with their horses outside, but perhaps it we got snow and stayed snowy, it would be different. Here we get snow, it melts and we get ice and that icy ground here is like concrete-I can say from personal experience.

Everyone stay safe this winter. Looks like a long one from my point of view.
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#6 Riverrose28


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

Most of my guys will stay in the run in sheds if the ground is too ice covered, but I do put my older arabs in the barn. Several years ago all the local farmers had to go help the cattle farmer down the road get a cow & calf off of a frozen pond. The cow went down and broke her pelvis. They think she went down close to the edge and slid out further into the middle, and the calf followed. She had to be put down. That is why I put my old arabs in their stalls when we have alot of ice, and we fenced off our little pond.

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#7 targetsmom


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 08:37 AM

Ice is really scary to me and we get plenty of it in Connecticut between snow storms. I use a combination of gates/fencing to keep the minis off the ice, turning them out most of the time so they don't store up energy, and spreading wet bedding over the worst of the ice. We are expecting 10-20" of snow tonight so they should be able to run around plenty tomorrow!

My big horse has studded shoes so he does pretty well, but he gets confined to a small area too if the ice is bad.

What we humans use is those rubber grippers with the red "cleats" that pull over our boots so that we can walk on the ice.


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#8 wingnut


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:31 AM

{{{ Marty & Sonny }}}

Glad to hear things worked out okay in the end. That had to be so hard to witness!
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#9 Reble


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for the update, yes every year I have at least one slip on the ice and are sore for a day or two.. try so hard not to have this happen, but they get to playing and someone ends up hurt.. Some days I just hold my breath, when I see them run and buck, here in Ontario is hard to keep them in all winter, we have snow and ice all winter long. We put the old bedding stuff out over the ice spots but as you say do not see it all. Keeping my fingers crossed no one has slipped on ice so far..
So glad your Sonny is OK. :wub


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#10 ~Lisa~


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Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:58 AM

Glad he is ok!!

If I did not let my horses out in show/ice we would not ever have horses out ok well not for weeks at a time. Now we do not usually get ice like you guys have now inches thick although w hen snow gets packed and starts to melt it does turn to ice.

The horses seem to be pretty careful and do not go running thru it in fact they all seem to test the ground as they come out of the barn every morning

Here the only one who seems to fall on it ALL THE TIME is Raven who for whatever reason needs to test a patch of ice- fall on her but and then get up and do the exact same thing the next day.. teenagers :RollEyes LOL

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