A Sad Day

Tuesday, November 10th 5:30 am ( a very brutal day )…

The fresh new snow over Monday night bent over the electric fence that had been keeping the four horses contained in the pasture. That morning I discovered that there were three of them just outside the house and not in their pasture. How odd I thought. Now keep in mind these aren’t our horses, they are our neighbors; they’re just here for the hay. The sun had not fully come up over the horizon yet, so it was still very dark (around 5:15 am).

Then I remembered that the main gate was left wide open.

I thought, “Oh crap!…one of them escaped and is wandering around on the road some where”. Dread started to weigh on me.

I Immediately threw on a light jacket, a beanie hat, and boots. Then went outside to look for the missing horse. By this time, Kelly was waking up and I asked her if she could help me look for the missing horse on my way out the door.

The light outside was still very dim and I jumped on the 4-wheeler and zoomed out of the garage into the brisk 30 degree morning air.The missing horse was nowhere to be found…initially. Then I noticed a large dark shape near our property’s border.

What was racing through my mind was, “That can’t be the horse, maybe its just one of the bushes or something”.  I went to investigate and throttled the ATV more…as I got closer the dark shape grew closer and transformed into a horse laying down on his right side. Another thought raced through my mind, “He’s just laying down, trying to keep warm”. Hoping, that was the case.

What I discovered was not the case at all. It was one of the most gruesome things I had ever seen in my life…

Somehow, someway, the horse managed to get tangled up in the barb wire fence. The snow revealed the struggle. Then I saw the metal T-post sticking out about 4 inches through his back. My mouth was agape. Now, I’m not going to describe the gory details, gentle readers. But rest assured one does not prepare enough for that kind of gory sight, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

He had been dead for at least a couple hours. I took pictures, not because I wanted to show the world, but because for some reason I thought they might be useful to show the owners before any animals came to feast.

I drove up back to the house and I told tell Kelly who just got outside. This was her favorite horse, sadly. She didn’t take it well. I told her to call the owners. She also called our nearest neighbors who came at once to help us clean up the mess.

By this time, there were more people on the scene, including the owners. We managed to get the carcass off the fence post with my ATV’s winch and drug the poor thing about 1000 feet to the next gate leaving a huge blood trail in the fresh snow. The carcass didn’t stay long. Another neighbor wanted it for wolf bait and loaded it up on his flat bed truck and hauled it away about an hour later.

Everyone helped us repair the fence. The owners took it better than we did, and seemed to be used to this sort of thing. Our close neighbor and a long time horse owner said that she had seen lots of horse deaths in fences over the years, but this was the most gruesome one she had ever seen. This was my first one and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Luckily, I made sure Kelly never saw it because I didn’t want her to remember the horse in that way, but in the playful and gentle way that he once lived. I hope she can cope with other deaths that will happen on a farm from time to time because we are planning to get animals in the near future. Its just hard to see one die in that kind of way because you get attached to them over time even if they aren’t yours. Time will tell.

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About Todd

I'm a software engineer and I've been doing software development for a long time, over 19 years professionally for various companies and many more in my youth just for fun. I've had a long professional career. I'm always looking for other activities where i can learn new skills and discover the true meaning of life. I live for adventure, crafted whiskey, good cigars and remote places.

10 thoughts on “A Sad Day

    • Thanks Erin. I hope so too. I wasn’t as attached as Kelly was. I was more surprised by how it died than anything else. Yeah, I know. I’m an emotionless robot.

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  1. I’m so sorry about the horse, I wept as I read the news . I like you and Kelly hold a special place in my heart for the animals only time will help.

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  2. I had no idea how fragile horses were until my step mother started keeping some. They die from standing up the wrong way, or get sick if it gets cold and then hot too quickly. She had one die recently from running full speed into a tree and breaking its neck (apparently the sun blinded the horse and it didn’t see the tree).

    Hopefully there are no more tragedies like this out there. Did your boys see it?

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    • No, they didn’t see it. We wouldn’t let them leave the house. Having said that, in a farm environment there will be animal deaths and they need to understand that is part of running a farm etc. All in due time though.

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