Murphy’s Law of Horsekeeping

If they can find a way to hurt themselves, they will. Billy got himself into trouble again. Went out to the pasture to bring him in for a little fun workout yesterday, and noticed he was favoring his right front leg. Couldn’t see what it was till we got in the barn, since I was leading him on the left side. Turns out his right elbow is about the size of a tennis ball, most likely from a pasturemate’s kick. Observation and some gentle probing suggest that nothing’s broken, just a really major bruise. He was walking, trotting, and rolling without paying too much attention to it, just favoring it a bit.

I have my own theory as to what happened. And if you could persuade horses to stop acting like horses (hah!) this kind of nonsense could be avoided. What I am referring to is the herd mentality. There is an automatic waterer at the end of the pasture near the barn. Hardly ever does a single horse break away from the herd to come for a drink just because he’s thirsty. Nope. They wait for the leader to decide that he’s thirsty, then all 20 of them follow him to the waterer. When they get there, they fight over it. Billy, being on the low end of the herd totem pole, probably got himself whacked for cutting in line. So he’s spending some time with just one other horse in a little corral just outside the barn door until he looks like he’s improved enough to at least duck away from oncoming hoofs. If he remembers, that is. Which may be asking too much.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
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6 Responses to Murphy’s Law of Horsekeeping

  1. Erin says:

    Alli I can totally relate…last Sunday was Farrier day and all went well..except Abby who is just too uppity to waste her precious time with a farrier….however all week..one after another horse is coming up lame! First Trigger…who I’ve never seen lame or limping..then Crystal..favoring her left front..and now I saw Cassanova gimping…what the heck is going on? I don’t see or feel any swelling, any tenderness..no heat..nothing! I am clueless what’s happening behind my back!!

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      Erin, I’m wondering if your farrier may have been a little bit too over-eager–maybe trimmed a little short or cut away too much sole and now the horses are a little sore. If so, all the horses will probably be good as new in a week or so.

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  2. jan says:

    Poor baby….what are you doing for it? Is the skin broken?

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      Jan, no skin broken, just a knobby protrusion on the elbow. There’s one spot he reacts to if you press on it, but nothing else. Just giving him anti-inflammatories and putting him out with another low-level horse for a few days. Billy’s such an oddball–he’s doing the same thing with the new horse that he does with Casino (the one in the main herd that he’s glued to at the hip!). He just follows the other horse wherever it goes. I told him when I saw his injury that if he’s looking to Casino to “protect” him he should give it up, considering Casino’s poor record of doing so!

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  3. Sue Steiner says:

    Oh silly boy! Glad its not anything serious! You know my horses do the same about getting a drink! Drives me crazy especially when I see the ones lower in the pecking order getting chased away before they choose to stop drinking. I worry they don’t get enough but like you said- the water is always available. Silly, silly horses!!

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  4. That is so true about horses. 😀 I went to fetch mine from the trainer’s place for a lesson day at work, and discovered she’d scraped up a hind leg pretty good. Nothing serious, just superficial, but still made me nervous that she’s just working her way up to major injuries. 😀 I’ve been really lucky with her though; she survived 10 years in the wild so she’s good at keeping herself healthy, and knock wood, we’ve never had a major vet call. Worst she’s had is an abscess in a hoof, and otherwise she’s never really been sick, even when she was directly exposed to horses with Strangles.

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