Incidentally, if this situation described below is "normal" for most horses, don't tell me and burst my bubble, ok? ;)
SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014
The day started out like our typical riding day; we went to the river, saw the wild horses, said good morning to them, took photos and then continued our ride.
After about an hour or so, we decided to ride to the Foxtail area from Coon Bluff. As we crossed Goldfield, we saw a fence had been put up, and the entrance is now blocked. We decided to ride around and resume our trail to Foxtail not knowing, however, there was a long section of wire fencing laying on the ground, not visible!!!
Of course, Sassy’s right front hoof got caught in this damn wire. I’m sure it frightened her, but in addition, I’m sure it was painful causing her to rear and raise her right leg in an effort to free herself from the damn wire. Consequently, I was going to be making an unplanned, early dismount either by jumping or falling, so I let go of the reins, let my right leg slide over Sassy’s back and slid down her left side. Fortunately the ground was a little soft, but the cactus I fell into wasn’t. The real problem, however, was that I had momentum from Sassy’s back being in the air, causing me to slide under her!!
Very interesting note, and I know there will be someone who won’t believe this. That’s ok, because it happened to me, and I have trouble believing it! I’m grateful my husband SAW this!
One second Sassy was up in the air, with her right leg being higher than her left one. When I slid under the front of her, I knew immediately those hooves were going to have to come down SOON, and I started to roll away. Sassy SAW me, and what she did is nothing less than AMAZING! She came down on her left leg, leaving her right leg IN the air, and she did not move a muscle until I was on my feet! ??
Should I repeat all that, or just let you re-read it like I’ve been re-playing it in my head since Saturday?
As I got on my feet, I picked up the reins so they wouldn’t tangle her back feet; I quickly got to her face and spoke quietly to her. Meanwhile, folks, her right leg was “hung up” on that DAMN WIRE, and it was still in the air! Not as high obviously because her other 3 legs were on the ground; it was, however, about as high as my waist, and I am 5’2” so you know that was uncomfortable for that horse.
I hope you’re reading this sitting down, because here’s the next unbelievable part. I looked Sassy in the eyes, put my nose on her nose and quietly told her I was going to take care of her, and asked her to please trust me. Honest to God, she understood what I said to her, and here’s how I know that’s true. I kept my right hand on her face, and I bent over a little bit and with my left hand, I gently started pulling the wire to the ground. Keep in mind this meant her foot, which was CAUGHT in this fencing, needed to go to the ground as well. That’s when I realized this fencing was still “strung” on both ends because there was absolutely no give to it. There was NO way that wire was going to release Sassy’s hoof without the wire being cut.
David had been holding onto Chase and keeping him out of the way and calm while I was dealing with Sassy. I then asked him to bring me the wire cutters, which he already had in his hands. He cut that fencing, and it “flew” out of Sassy’s hoof. (I will be uploading photos……)
As soon as her foot was released, she did back up quickly to get away from it, and I went with her. Again I spoke softly to her, asked her to “whoa,” which she did immediately. We stood there for a few minutes, and then I knelt down to observe her leg. Once again, that mare knew she could trust me, and she stood perfectly still, easily lifting her hoof for me. Thankfully, there was no serious injury. Nothing short of miraculous the way it turned out!
I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the cactus needles out of my clothes and legs, and I was a little sore the next day. I have a few bruises, but those are nothing compared to what I’m going to do to those who string this fencing wire across the desert with no regard for humans OR animals! I have pictures of the fencing that I will be uploading as well.
After removing the needles, and getting situated to ride her back to the trailer, I looked at Sassy and, yes, the tears welled up in my eyes. Out of every problem arises something good they say, right? Well, I believe I fully realized at that moment how much that mare loves me AND that she truly trusts me!! She loves me enough to completely STOP moving so as not to land on me, and my husband witnessed that. There have been 3 other times where Sassy has been careful and took care of me that I will write about, but this one was SO obvious, there was no mistaking that she did NOT want me to get hurt.
I admit I didn’t know how much she trusted me until this situation ~ and I am honored! She let me guide her leg from my waist-height down to the ground with that wire embedded in her pastern, and then she let me hold it there while David cut the wire fencing. My fear was that if she pulled backwards with that wire attached, she was going to rip tendons or worse.
I think it’s pretty instinctual for any horse to pull away if they get hung up on something; the fact that she calmly let me guide her speaks volumes (to me anyway) of her trust in me. For that I am so very thankful, and will not ever take that for granted!
The fact that she was abandoned, etc. and was a rescue was a challenge in the beginning; there’s no denying that! The fact, though, that she has allowed me to love her and has let her walls down enough now to love me back and trust me like she does, amazes me to no end. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful!
I love you, Sassy!