Long Road Ahead

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by Minidreamz0581, Oct 8, 2019.

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk by donating:

Tags:
  1. Oct 8, 2019 #1

    Minidreamz0581

    Minidreamz0581

    Minidreamz0581

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    50
    Hi all,

    I just wanted to give you all an update on what is happening with Coady and I. I hadn’t been able to drive him for awhile due to time constraints, weather (my asthma and I don’t like the heat and humidity...) and injuries from accidents (bucked off of a horse that I was riding for a friend, sitting at a stop sign on a motorcycle and an 80 year old woman came around the turn in my lane and smashed into my front tire. Had to go the the hospital for xrays for both).

    Coady was diagnosed with a collapsing trachea, so when he pulls too much going uphill (we’re in PA so there are a lot of hills!) or works too fast for too long, his breathing switches to this horrible gasping honking noise and he has trouble catching his breath. The vet suggested driving him with a check, and when I finally got to test that theory a few weeks ago it seemed to help. One week and two days ago, I took him for another drive and was really enjoying being able to get out there with my boy again. Unfortunately...things went very wrong.

    Our driveway is a two part hill...the first half is a steep straight part which ends in a small flat spot. The second part is two less steep twisty turns. I usually walk behind the cart for the straight part, then get back in the cart at the flat spot and drive the rest of the way up. We were on the 2nd and final turn and I was patting Coady on the rump because he was being a good boy when for reasons unknown to me, my cart flipped over backwards. Poor Coady was spooked and I was laying on the ground trying to hold onto the lines, but he was pulling me across the asphalt and I had to let him go. He flew down over the very steep grassy hill in a direct route down to the straight part of the driveway. I found out later that he also went down over the hill on that side of the driveway and took out a small tree before coming back up toward the asphalt and crashing the cart and getting it stuck on a large tree.

    As soon as he took off down the hill, I got to my feet and took off running down the driveway. I heard the horrible snap and crash of the cart breaking, but I didn’t know if it was the cart or one of Coady’s legs. All of the noise that I had been hearing switched to an eerie silence. I was terrified that I was going to go around the turn and find him on his side, badly injured or worse. When I saw him I was relieved that he was on his hooves, but he was trembling and he had blood dripping out of his mouth. Because I use one of the grooming collars and leave it on while we drive, I ripped that harness off of him to free him from the vehicle and took his bridle off. His bit was covered in blood and he had more still dripping out of his mouth. I called my hubby (who was thankfully off that day) and asked him to come get what was left of the cart and harness in the truck while I got Coady to the barn to asses his injuries.

    Long story short, he thankfully was not as badly injured as I thought. His poor little muzzle was all cut up, and the bleeding came from a surprisingly small cut on his tongue. I’m going to try to figure out how to post a video so I can show you my little guy’s route. It’s an absolute miracle that he wasn’t injured worse. A part of the hill that he went down was a roughly 7 foot drop that’s almost a straight incline. The drop deposited him right on the steep part of our paved driveway that I’ve seen many deer slip and fall in. I am SO glad that I put his Equine Fusion boots on him that day. 3 out of 4 of those boots were in the same place that I had put them that morning, and the 4th was only slightly turned. I truly believe that if he hadn’t had his boots on he would’ve fallen when he hit the slick paved driveway and quite possibly broken a leg. I’m so grateful for those boots...they were expensive (I boot him on all 4) but worth every cent as I am convinced that they saved my boy’s life.

    The harness is only damaged in one place...the breeching disconnected from the backstrap, which Mindy explained is designed to happen in an accident. I’m grateful to the Amish harnessmakers who thought of that! That break let Coady be a little farther away from the cart so it didn’t hit him. (It hit him once in the right hind and he had a small cut...I think that happened when it flipped initially) The cart is absolutely destroyed. The singletree snapped basically in half, the welding that fastened one of the shafts to the frame snapped and spokes on both wheels are broken. No shame for it...that’s quite a crash. I do not want to villainize the brand of cart so I will not disclose it here. If you would like to know feel free to PM me. I do not blame the accident on the cart...it was a freak accident. We’ve driven up that same hill with the same setup numerous times without a problem. I have no idea what went wrong this time. Although I do not blame the cart for the accident, I’ll most likely not get another like it. I’m going to just stick with the type of cart that I’m more familiar and comfortable with.

    Coady has thankfully recovered from all of his physical injuries. Mentally is a different story. We’ve been doing all sorts of desensitizing since the accident...loud music, crinkly feed bags, horse eating plastic bags...you name it. I’ve ground driven him several times and much to my surprise he has driven beautifully. However...he has understandably become VERY suspicious about anything that comes up behind him. I can crackle an empty feed bag behind his butt all day, but I took him for a walk and a car came up behind us and he got a little spooked. Then my mom who was walking her dog with us accidentally kicked some gravel behind him and the poor little guy almost ran me over trying to get away from it. I have wheeled my other cart around him and he adjusted to it pretty quickly, but when I wheeled it up as though I was going to hook it to him he was very tense and scared. My hubby works at Home Depot so I had him get the the materials for a travois like Mindy uses so I can try to work with him with that and see how he does.

    To be honest, he’s always been high strung and very forward when being driven, and with his breathing problem I was considering looking for a different horse for driving anyway and just taking Coady on little hikes in the halter on some of the horse friendly hiking trails around here anyway. After an accident this traumatic I have serious doubts that he’ll ever be safe to drive again, or even safe to hook to the cart. I have to try though. I have to give him the opportunity to tell me if he wants to do this anymore. If I see that he truly cannot do this safely or happily anymore, then hiking pony it is and I’ll get a new mini for driving. I don’t want to just give up on my guy though...I need to give him a fair chance. He is ground driving beautifully for me...we’ll see if he can be confident with something dragging behind him again.

    So that’s what’s going on with Coady and I. I should start logging our ground driving minutes so I can still be a part of the driving group :) I’ve learned a lot from this experience. No matter how safe your cart is or seems, always be vigilant as accidents can happen. Double and triple check your equipment before every drive. Be grateful for every driving minute and every mile that you log with your horse. Finally, always take the time to give them an extra hug and cookie, because I could’ve very easily lost my boy and you can’t go back in time and give them those hugs and treats. That’s all for now...stay safe everyone
     
    MindySchroder and plaid mare like this.
  2. Oct 8, 2019 #2

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    7,496
    Likes Received:
    3,454
    Location:
    Southwest Oklahoma
    I couldn't possible "like" your post; it is too traumatic.
    I think with the trachea problem, you might want to look for another driving horse, even if Coady recovers enough to drive again. Poor guy.
    I had something happen to me many years ago with Dapper Dan. I dropped a rein, and got out of the cart to pick up the rein, holding the other in my hand. He decided to take off and of course I lost the other rein. His route was on flat land, fortunately not like your hills, but through a wooded spot and lots of boulders. He finally got stopped by crashing into a large boulder and the cart wedged. When I finally got there, he was wild-eyed and panting, but unharmed. The harness was broken, but I managed to get him loose and use it to ground drive him home; I wanted to ground drive him so he would end up on a positive note. It was a half-mile, so he was fairly calm by the time we got home. Went back later for the cart. He recovered from the adventure and wasn't too traumatized--he is a tough cookie. The cart, my wooden Jerald, had two broken floor boards. I ordered new ones from Jerald and we were good.
    Our misadventure was nowhere near as drastic as yours. Watching one's horse and cart take off is almost cause for a heart attack.
     
  3. Oct 8, 2019 #3

    Cayuse

    Cayuse

    Cayuse

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,966
    Likes Received:
    1,483
    Location:
    New England
    I am so very glad that you are both OK. I had a hard time reading your post, my thoughts kept racing ahead thinking of the possible outcomes. Please be careful if you decide to drive him again, OK? (I know that you will be, but I just had to say it.)
     
    plaid mare likes this.
  4. Oct 9, 2019 #4

    Minidreamz0581

    Minidreamz0581

    Minidreamz0581

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thank you Marsha. I agree, and no matter what I’m probably going to keep an eye out for another driving horse, or possibly a driving donkey! I’m don’t have as much donkey experience as horse experience, but I’ve always wanted to drive a mini donkey. The live Nativity options would just be a bonus ;) I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through watching your horse take off with the cart as well...it’s absolutely terrifying. Watching any horse get loose and bolt is scary, but it’s much worse when they are attached to a cart.

    Thanks Cayuse...I’ll be very careful. We’re hopefully going to work with the travois for the first time today, and if he does well with a few weeks of travois training sessions I decided that I’ll take him out to the barn where my TWH is boarded to hook him to the cart for the first time. They have an arena which would be a confined area rather than chancing him taking off and going who knows where at our place. We have too many trees and too many hills.
     
    plaid mare likes this.
  5. Oct 9, 2019 #5

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    7,496
    Likes Received:
    3,454
    Location:
    Southwest Oklahoma
    Good luck with him today.
    Hope you find a good donkey. A local guy works with donkeys and mules. They are mostly wild or neglected when he gets them. He believes he has a better rapport with them than horses; they are so different. He really enjoys them.
     
    plaid mare likes this.
  6. Oct 11, 2019 at 9:01 AM #6

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

    MHT Supporter MHT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2019
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    King George Va
    My farrier has mules only. He has no mini's, but has several driving teams. He plows with some, shows with others. They're much different than horses, but he swears by them . He is almost eighty, and still works full time. I am so sorry about your accident. I am thankful you and your horse are okay. I don't know anyone on this forum well, as I am fairly new, but I read the posts, and follow along with the conversations, sometimes adding tidbits.I don't drive yet. This is a cautionary tale,for me so I did like your post. I am nervous about the cart, and what can go wrong. Your story helps people like me be aware of the dangers ahead of time. Thank-you for sharing this!
     
  7. Oct 11, 2019 at 6:12 PM #7

    MindySchroder

    MindySchroder

    MindySchroder

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    310
    Location:
    Montana
    I'm glad to hear that Coady is ground driving well. That was such a traumatic accident. Isn't it amazing how forgiving and understanding they can be?

    I am looking forward to seeing what kind of equine you choose to be your next driving partner!
     
    plaid mare likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white