AllAroundQH asked in PetsHorses · 9 years ago

"Common" horse accident or not? Worst horse accident you've witnessed/known of?

This past weekend I was at an AQHA show and there was a major tragedy with a horse. I didn't see it happen (though I saw the horse within a few minutes of the accident), but supposedly the horse was tied in the wash rack. Something happened and the horse spooked and pulled back, but his feet (shoes) got stuck in the metal grate over the drain (or something like that). He flipped over backwards, hit his head, and was killed instantly. Our stalls were a few rows behind the wash rack. I heard the announcer call for a vet in the wash rack, but assumed that it was a case of colic or dehydration or something (since it was a long weekend show in the middle of summer). I walked by the wash rack on the way to the bathroom just a minute later and saw the horse on the ground, though at the time I still thought that the horse was just down, but still alive. It shook me up a lot (and a lot of other people, too) because it was just a freak accident that could have happened to anyone. I mean, this was a calm horse (they'd shown him in a very impressive bridleless WP class the night before, and he was ridden by a youth rider), presumably well behaved/mannered, and the facility was seemingly safe. We can all blame someone for something (the way he was tied, whatever spooked him, the faultiness of the metal drain, whatever) but when it comes down to it it WAS just an accident--and look what happened. It was scary. There was nothing that could be done because he died instantly (and from what I was told, the youth rider was the one with him when it happened).

First question--have you ever heard of a horse being killed from this sort of incident? Obviously, it can happen. What scares me is that I've heard of it happening before--a girl I knew through horses had witnessed a horse flipping over in crossties and doing the same thing. It's not something I want to think about--it's something I want to see as only happening because someone did something stupid, but that isn't always the case.

Second question, what's the worst horse accident (involving a horse injury, not a rider) you've witnessed or been "close" to?


PaintHorseLover - it was the Battle Arena in Tunica, MS at the Liberty Circuit show. They have QH shows there all the time, and I know they have h/j shows...not sure if APHA ever has anything there. It's a super nice facility, and the wash rack I used had a drain, but it seemed smooth--not like anything a horse could get caught on. Of course, that was just what I was told; the horse may not have ever gotten stuck. Needless to say, I was scared to tie my horse to anything for the rest of the weekend! I never crosstie him for that reason--he doesn't stand well in crossties (not sure why) and it makes me nervous. He normally ties well though when he's tied normally, but I'm sure this horse did too.

We have a mare who flipped over a pasture fence/gate and nearly impaled herself on a post. She was lucky and escaped with just some small cuts from the post and then a major knee injury (which requires lots of maintenance, but wasn't life threatening), but I know it can be really dangerous.

Update 2:

My Horse Slides on Glitter - Why not? I realize it isn't a "happy" question or something we want to think about, but this stuff happens. Maybe someone reading these stories is realizing that something they're doing is potentially dangerous (a loose stud chain, an uncapped T-post, an ill-fitting tie down). It might mean one less horse gets hurt. And my initial purpose in asking it was simple curiousity. That doesn't mean I want accidents to happen, or that I enjoy them--but I wanted to know what sort of accidents have happened and why.

20 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Wow, that sounds like a freak accident.

    I've seen a few bad accidents...hmmm....the worst...

    We were behind a group of people on a rim trail around a box canyon waiting to get to a suitable place to pass. We came to place where the trail widened and were preparing to move ahead of them when one of the horses in the other group started to panic and back up. The girl couldn't get the horse stopped and bailed off right before the horse hit a slick creek bed at the edge of the rim, lost its footing and slid off the edge down to the floor of the box canyon below killing him instantly. We never did find out what spooked the horse but the rider thought it had been stung by something. Very sad.

    The worst rider accident was at a horse rental I worked at years ago. Another guide had brought a friend to ride and she was insisting on riding a horse that wasn't trained yet and had injured several people including the stable owner. The stable owner immediately forbade it of course but after he left she got on the horse anyway (the mare was tacked up, I was supposed to work with her that day). The horse bolted and started bucking like she always did but I hadn't tightened the saddle all the way (I was only going to be line driving her under saddle, not riding). The saddle rolled, the girl fell off landing on her head on the paved driveway. The mare doubled back and ran over her. We called the medic immediately but they pronounced the girl dead at the scene, she had multiple broken bones, a fractured skull and a broken neck. Very sad and very preventable.

  • 9 years ago

    I was at a 4-H show just watching last year because my barn is the host barn in our area. But a girl with a gorgeous chestnut had put a stud chain on him the wrong way or something along those lines and when her horse started to rear and flip out the girl just pulled right back. Everyone knows the horse will win. The worst part is, when he flipped there was something to break his fall. The hood of a truck. Oh my god it was one of the scariest things I've ever seen and I'm getting goosebumps just writing about it. You could have heard a pin drop that's how dead silent it got after the sound of him hitting the truck. He got up afterward and apparently WAS IN RIDING CONDITION! I'm sorry but that's too traumatic of an experience for my horse to go through to be expected to compete afterward.

  • Laura
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Probably the worst one I've seen is at my old stable when a nervous, flighty horse was taken out during a lesson to be worked with in the round pen at the far end of the arena. He spooked at a bird and threw his rider against the fence and preceded to run in circles around the pen. Other horses became nervous and started rearing up, and one of the horse handlers was kicked in the upper legs and went straight down while other horses were running through the arena. It was literally chaos, the fence boards were kicked and the girls in the lesson were crying. It took forever to get the horses to calm down. This was a beginner's lesson, by the way. Another accident that I've recently been in was I was cantering the horse I used to lease away from a jump, when he tripped over a ground pole and fell and rolled and I literally flew over his head and landed hard. The horse ended up fine, miraculously.

  • 9 years ago

    Well, I haven't really witnessed bad horse accidents. But at the barn that I ride at, a horse flipped herself over in the cross ties because she spooked. I've also witnessed a horse spooking while tied that tripped on a mat that was near him in the process, and he flipped over too. In both accidents, the horses were okay, though. I have never heard of an incident like you're talking about happening though. I agree with you that these types of accidents are freak accidents that no one really can prepare for. and especially if it was a youth rider with the horse.

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  • Angie
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    That's horrible :( The poor girl who was with him, and the owners...

    I've been lucky enough to never have witnessed too horrible of an accident...The worst I've seen in person really, was at the Oregon Morgan Classic, in Bend, Oregon. My friends mom was showing her gelding in a pleasure driving class, and something spooked him coming into the arena. He bolted, and somehow managed to slam the buggy into the brick wall, bend one of the shafts, and scrape his leg. Horse and driver both were fine, just shook up. So really it wasn't that bad at all. Just scary.

    The only other thing I can think of is finding my neighbors horse dead in the middle of their driveway. They had him turned out in the pasture with a halter on, and from the way it was around his neck, I can only assume that he got caught on something, slipped the halter back to where it could strangle him, and then got through the fence and slipped in the driveway or somethin. He was an older horse, but still really healthy.

  • 9 years ago

    Actually, a horse flipping over and killing itself isnt that uncommon. When they flip, if they hit their poll, the least that will happen is they will knock themselves silly. And the work case, well, I think you have already described it...

    Now, the worst I have seen? Obviously, I have seen breakdowns on the track since I own and breed racehorses. The worst one we had happen was a yearling filly got caught in a storm with some of the other yearling, Well, they took off running 3 wide through a gate that was only about 2 wide. She took a post into the hip and was laid open 16 inches up and down and 25 inches front and back. This was right in the flank area so she also took a huge chip out of her hip bone. We flushed her for a while with the hose while the local vet looked at her and wanted to put her down. We said no so the vet called the ag college about 2 hours away. We loaded her up and a couple of us rode in the trailer taking turns holding old towels on her to try and keep the bleeding to a minimum. They sewed her up in the middle of the night and gave her 2 different transfusions but she ended up pulling through.

    She still has a huge scar in her flank on the right side. It is sunk in really deep and you can see the bone chip through her skin. It is about the size of a silver dollar. The best part is she is one of the top 3 riding horses on our farm and is now 9 yo. It was a hell of a vet bill but well worth every penny of it.

  • omg, that's horrible. that's why i really hate cross ties. i've heard of SO many cases...personal cases, of "Someone who knows someone", where the horse has flipped over on cross ties and has been seriously injured or killed. my horse's past owner told me my horse does not stand tied, and i'd need to cross tie him. no way in hell. i taught him to stand tied.

    I don't have any true fluke accident stories, but i have a story along the same lines. i get to the barn one evening..a little later, like 7 or 8 pm, and i hear an unfamiliar call. i'm at the barn way too much, so i can recognize almost all of the horse's neighing, so it was weird. i looked around the corner into the shed, and it was one of the mares who NEVER talks (why i didn't recognize it). i couldn't figure out what her problem was. well she started to walk to me, and she's limping worse than i've ever seen a horse limp. i look at her hind leg, and she's GUSHING blood. poor thing was calling for help. So i got her out, called the barn owner, who called the vet. We had no idea where she could have gotten such a major laceration. turns out she was kicked-and kicked hard enough/just the right angle to get a piece of hoof the size of my palm lodged in her leg, along with a couple other small fragments of hoof. it was was so deep, she needed 2 sets of stitches. it's just scary to think, what if i hadn't gone to the barn so late that day. my barn owner is oblivious, and the owners never come out. if she didn't bleed to death, she could have gotten an infection if no one checked on her (which like i said, they don't). It's something that could happen to any horse...i just watched my horse get kicked today. whatever horse did it had to have kicked her just right.

    oh, another short story. i know a horse who tried to jump a fence, and DID become impaled, he came at the gate at a weird angle though, so he didn't suffur from any major injuries. i think they did have to remove the gate though, to get him out...

  • A couple years back i was tacking up my horse to prepare for a short ride around the property when everyone heard a large boom and several small crashes I dropped everything(not having reached her stall yet to tack her) and ran outside to see a boarders Thoroughbred break through the electric fencing and run into the concrete shower area of the barn where he slipped on the wet mats and cracked his head. He didn't die instantly but it was inevitable because there was so much blood. The barn owner called Bobbie's(horse) owner and the vet to hurry out and i stayed with Bobbie the entire time. He didnt seem panicked but he couldve had brain damage i guess. I talked to him until his owner(a 19 year old college student) got there and was in hysterics. It was only two weekends ago that her and Bobbie won first place in both dressage and jumping. Even then i sat with both of them and the vet came out, made a quick assessment and humanely euthanized Bobbie. That was really horrible for me to see. We never did find out what freaked Bobbie out and caused him to break the fencing we assumed it was an animal or something but didnt find anything. Even though Bobbie wasnt my horse, like alot of people in this section, i grew attatched to him seeing him everyday at the barn and it was definitely sad for a couple weeks not having him around anymore.

    But yes, ive heard of freak things like this happening. My best friend and her horse jumped cross country and he caught his legs just right and fell on his neck and it snapped.

    Things happen that are out of our control and that we can't see coming. Horses are fight or flight creatures so when they choose flight, they try to get away and sometimes we make it so they cant with things like cross ties and such. There isnt anything we can do to change the horses instincts, they will always have a part of them that will choose flight when spooked. Sometimes its time for them to go.

  • Caz
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    I was watching the Melbourne Cup a few yrs ago and an english filly broke down during the run they zoomed in on her for a split second to find out what had happened and then it flashed to a different camera... not quick enough for me to realize she'd snapped her foot off at the fetlock and was still slowing down in a canter and running on it with her hoof hanging on by the skin and tendons and the rest flapping about beside it as she was putting her weight on the split bone... I've got goosebumps now thinking of her. She was only 3. I grew up working at a racing stable and in my oppinion she shouldnt have been running in the cup to win it... as an experience without pushing her to see how she fared the distance I can understand but it was cruel to ask her to give her best over 2 mile (3.2km) as a 3 yr old and it cost her life... not worth it no matter what the glory. Better to finish last with a complete horse. They announced she had been put down after all the glory in the winner's ring. I just hope they did it quick enough I wouldve preferred to see her shot on the track to save her another painful step but of course they musnt upset the racegoers and she hobbled away to be killed in private instead... further cruelty. It really hit home to me only 2 minutes prior she'd been a beautiful animal in peak condition with her whole life before her. I think her name may have been "3 flags" something along those lines. Another incident closer to home one of the horses I looked after at the stable never came home from the races one day...he had a heartattack it was devastating he was the trainers daughter's favourite. The only horse that they'd lost in 18 yrs of training flat gallopers. His box remained empty for ages out of respect. The downside of racing is not glorious like the winners circle.

  • 9 years ago

    Wow. I've heard of horses being seriously injured in that type of injury(rearing and flipping over) and then put down from the injury, but never killed from the actual injury. That's the thing about horses, accident DO happen, we can't control them no matter how much we wish we could.

    I've seen quite a few horrible injuries, and heard about many, many others.

    A foal that was a few days old, with his mother in the pasture, he was all happy trying out his newly discovered legs, then slipped into the fence, broke threw the fence(in the cold PVC shatters VERY easy) and impaled himself on a dead tree branch. That branch when in one side and out the other, He screamed and screamed. Not knowing what happened, I go over figuring his mom ran away from him, or won't let him eat or something. I just about passed out. Living four hours away from the closest vet, we had no option but to put him down right there then take him off and bury him.

    The next would be my neighbor's loose horse, running up and down the dirt road, ran into our neighbor's yard, to get with his horses and they had a cattle gird. He went to jump over the cattle grid and didn't make it. He got a front leg stuck in the cattle grid and it caused a compound fracture. (broken with the bone showing) He didn't die, but was put down.

    The last, I didn't witness, but I've herd the horror stories. A couple years ago, a yearling mustang from the Youth and Yearlings program got loose and ran out into the street and was hit by a logger truck. That yearling supposedly was thrown about 50 feet and died on impact.

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