Katie Schuur

My Son Got Lazy And Almost Killed My Horse Today.

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My son learned a huge lesson today: LISTEN to what Mom has always told you.

We are currently under a winter storm warning with snow expected to hit Oklahoma within the next 24 hours. So when I woke up this morning I asked my 15 year old son to groom the horses and blanket Tuff and Sky. He has done this a million times, and I didn't feel that he needed to be supervised. A little time goes by, I'm sitting on the couch in my robe and then I hear my son SCREAMING for me in the back yard. "MOM! MOM! MOM!". I run to the back yard to find Tuff is strangling himself on a lead rope that my son simply clipped around his neck without a halter tied to a tree, panicking, falling to the ground and strangling/hanging himself the more and more he panicked. I race to the tree he's tied to to pull the quick-release knot, only to find my son didn't tie a quick release knot. [shocked] Since the lead rope was simply clipped around his neck, the harder he pulled the more he was strangling himself. [shocked] I yelled at my son to bring me a knife NOW!!! He ran in a panic into the kitchen, yanked a knife out of the carving block and bolted back outside. He cut that lead rope with one single panicked swipe, releasing all pressure on Tuff.

Tuff simply walked 2 feet away and started grazing. I then turned to my son, and I can only imagine the evil look I had to have given him at the time because he immediately started crying and apologizing. I said "How many times have I told you NEVER to lead a horse by simply throwing the lead rope around his neck?"

Answer: "I know, I know!!! I'm so sorry!"

I continue: " And then you TIE HIM LIKE THAT!!!! Without a quick-release knot on top of it!!!!"

Answer: "I only wanted to tie him there for a second long enough for me to get his halter".

This was one of the scariest situations I've ever seen. I was watching my horse kill himself, due to the absolute negligence of his handler. My son knew better. He knew to always use a halter. He knew to always tie a quick-release knot. But to his own admission - he got lazy.

I had to make sure Tuff didn't have any type of internal injuries, so that's why I had Dr. Pitts stop by give him a look-over. And guess who gets to pay the vet bill out of his allowance money?? Dr. Pitts said he should be okay (thank goodness) but to continue to monitor him for the next few hours just in case.

Tuff is doing fine tonight. He ate and drank his food without any problems at all. If you looked at him you'd never know it happened. But I know it happened..... So I had my son watch over Tuff for the better part of 5 hours this evening out in the barn, conveniently right about the same time the super-bowl was on t.v. - I mean after all, it was Dr.'s orders. This was a hard and scary lesson for my son to learn, and an experience that I'm sure he won't soon forget in the many years ahead that he'll be around horses. I learned a few lessons today as well as a parent.

Edited by Rollin_after_a_bath

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Good job mom....especially the part of holding him accountable for the consequences of his actions (pay the vet bill/watch Tuff).

Thank God your horse is ok and that your son learned a valuable lesson.

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Oh how scary! Glad he's OK and I'm sure your son has learned a HUGE lesson!

I often lead short distances with a rope or string around the neck but never in a slip knot type of thing (which it would be with the lead rope clipped to itself) and never tie that way! I did tie Jake once for a couple of minutes (with a halter on) to our utility trailer and he managed to hook the rope under a piece of it and pull the trailer about 20'! He stopped when I yelled "WHOA!" from about 40' away and waited for me to get him loose but still scared the crap out of me! Won't do THAT again!

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Good job mom....especially the part of holding him accountable for the consequences of his actions (pay the vet bill/watch Tuff).

Ditto....

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I'm glad he's okay....but take it easy on your son. His own reaction to what he did would indicated to me that he is punishing himself really well and I do not think you need to add to it.

He got the message....and I am sure we have our own tales (especially if we were around or owned horses as kids/young adults) that were just as bad or dangerous and it is sticking in our heads until this day.

I know I do...hand fulls of them. Some my Dad does not even know about...I went thru those by myself and it was bad enough for me to never need words to tell me I would never do "that" again.

as much as my Dad was hard on me...he did have a way of letting me go thru certain bad moments without words on it.....

Like the time I insisted on opening a gate on a horse that I was repeatedly warned that I must get off this horse to go thru...he is not like my other one and will not tolerate me leaning over and unlatching it....but....hard headed me was going to do it anyway and...blamo!...I landed back first into the barbed wire connected to it...took the fence down with me and had to get 26 stitches in different places....still have the scars to remind me....Dad said nothing.

Or the time I kept stretching the water hose around the backsides of the different horses I would bathe and was warned that one day a horse is going to object and you'll be sorry...only I "forgot" b/c I was in a hurry and this little mare flipped herself over trying to get away from the hose on her butt...never felt that before, I guess, that caused he to pop the lead rope and for her to get all scraped up trying to scramble herself up onto the cement...then we had to catch her. Dad never said a word...just shook his head and called the vet...I was inconsolable...a basket case. To this day...the hose is always used with lots of slack...lots....

What about ya'll...any close calls that "fixed" you for good? I bet this one will forever fix this young man. I see a boy grown into a father and scolding his young-one on tying a horse by the neck...what do you think?

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I can't think of any real close calls for myself, but my trainer tells everyone of a big lesson that he learned, about tying horses up tight and not with a lot of slack. He had a mare and colt, tied the mare up, but loose enough that she could graze. He came back 10 minutes later to find a dead colt. The colt had gotten tangled in the rope and it wrapped around his neck. He was 14, and now he's about 50 and still gets emotional when talking about it.

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I don't know TPL ... I think I respectfully disagree. I think the punishment (pay the bill and watch the horse) is pretty minor reprimanding, all things considered. I think it's just and fitting.

And the deal you related with the hose and the horses? I had to laugh, sorry. ALL our horses, if they spook or act/react to things like that? They get it MORE, until they get over it. You never know if you are out riding sometime and a branch, a rope, anything gets up against the horse in places you never dreamed about. We always do a LOT with things like hoses and ropes on horses legs so if something does happen, like they get caught in wire or something, they STOP and don't panic!

Sorry ... off topic a bit there! :)

I'm glad to see a parent choosing a fitting punishment and chore for the "crime" committed!

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I'm so glad everyone's OK! [Huggy] Your son sounds like a good egg who made one of those childhood mistakes. I agree that this will probably be a lifetime learning experience for him.

I once tied my Mini gelding to a sawhorse so I could run in the house to pee. Yes, I knew it was stupid, but I trusted that horse. It's so easy to get complacent as a kid if we deal with horses regularly. (Heck, it's not hard to do as an adult.) The mini spooked just as I came back out the door and took off dragging the saw horse in terror. In the end, he was fine. I was terrified and traumatized. It was an excellent learning experience. To this day, I'm very, very careful about where and how I choose to tie a horse.

I hadn't thought of it, but that event (combined with some other ugly tieing wrecks I've seen) probably had an impact on how what I planned as a simple hitching post turned into "The Wall of Patience". I kept imagining ways tied horses could get hurt. I kept changing and adding until it ended up looking like this:

NikkiWall.jpg

Heck of a hitching post, huh?

[ROTFL]

Edited by ExtraHannah

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I'm so glad everyone is okay! The horse could have been hurt, you or your son could have been hurt trying to free the horse....so many, many things that could have happen, but luckily didn't. And there were some valuable lessons learned.

In addition to the obvious: halters and quick release knots - there is always the "know exactly where your barn knife is" - in this case, it saved a life or two.

I don't think I've seen pics of Tuff since he was a little guy and you rescued him. Do you have any new ones? I'd love to see him!

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Not commenting on the incident except to say that I teach all my horses to tie with a rope around their necks, I do it while they are wearing a halter (double tied with the halter lead a little longer) Some horses really react to it, others don't think anything of it. I also train using a rope around the neck so they give to that pressure as well. It's good for many reasons, one being in case your halter breaks, and so the horse accepts one more form of restraint.

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I'm so glad everyone is okay! The horse could have been hurt, you or your son could have been hurt trying to free the horse....so many, many things that could have happen, but luckily didn't. And there were some valuable lessons learned.

In addition to the obvious: halters and quick release knots - there is always the "know exactly where your barn knife is" - in this case, it saved a life or two.

I don't think I've seen pics of Tuff since he was a little guy and you rescued him. Do you have any new ones? I'd love to see him!

This incident may have only lasted a couple minutes at the most, but it seemed like it took forever to free him, LOL! Each time he would fall to the ground, stand back up again and fall to the ground again, all the while with the slip-knot SOOOO tight around his neck - my biggest fear was that he was going to break his neck.

Reinnin - I think it's pretty interesting that you teach your horses to tie with a rope around their necks, but I doubt it was with a slip-knot/noose that was double-knotted to a tree (at least I hope not).

As far as new pictures of Tuff, I haven't taken any within the past week or so, but I have these to share:

Sky and Tuff a couple weeks ago during the recent snowstorm:

100_0644.jpg

Tuff as a yearling (approximately 13 months old in this photo) a few weeks ago before all the really nasty weather kept coming in waves, LOL!:

100_0174.jpg

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Rollin: I know I would have freaked out too. I understand that kind of fear when a horse is loosing control and then has the potential to really hurt itself.

However.......I have raised two teenage boys and know that no matter how much you think they understand something, there is room for eror since they still don't have all the life experience that we do. They generally do look for shortcuts especially if it is something they are not particularly interested doing at the time. Teenagers are classic for the thought process of "It won't happen to me."

I say the fear you described he had was the best teacher of the situation. Kudos to you for making him follow through with the care of the horse.

I do give your son credit for going out and trying to do what you asked of him. Some would not even do that. Glad your horse is OK.

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Wow, he's really grown into a strikingly handsome fellow, hasn't he?! He is just beautiful!

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I'm glad all is well. [Huggy] Very scary situation indeed. I don't think you were too hard on him. I think you did exactly what I would do. It teaches him a lot, and he learned a very valuable lesson, he won't forget. Yes, he's punishing himself as well, but that comes with the territory. I think it helps ensure he won't repeat that mistake again. You did good mom. I just LOVE your ponies. :happy0203:

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I'm so glad everyone's OK! [Huggy] Your son sounds like a good egg who made one of those childhood mistakes. I agree that this will probably be a lifetime learning experience for him.

I once tied my Mini gelding to a sawhorse so I could run in the house to pee. Yes, I knew it was stupid, but I trusted that horse. It's so easy to get complacent as a kid if we deal with horses regularly. (Heck, it's not hard to do as an adult.) The mini spooked just as I came back out the door and took off dragging the saw horse in terror. In the end, he was fine. I was terrified and traumatized. It was an excellent learning experience. To this day, I'm very, very careful about where and how I choose to tie a horse.

I hadn't thought of it, but that event (combined with some other ugly tieing wrecks I've seen) probably had an impact on how what I planned as a simple hitching post turned into "The Wall of Patience". I kept imagining ways tied horses could get hurt. I kept changing and adding until it ended up looking like this:

NikkiWall.jpg

Heck of a hitching post, huh?

[ROTFL]

LOVE your wall of patience!!!

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I'm probably going to get flammed, but it's something I really want to stay;

It's not his horse is it? I know on a lot farms the animals aren't just one persons, their everybody's, but he was doing a chore for you (if it's your animal). :/

I mean, dont get me wrong my reaction would probably be the same, but you should think about who's horse it was regardless. Although it was a very careless mistake. I mean it in the most respectful way.

I mean, I blew up because my uncle let a guy use my horse and he tied him too lose and my horse went to graze, lifted his head back up, the rope got caught behind his ears and finally slid down and slit his nose open when he pulled back.

Edited by dudelover4eva

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I'm probably going to get flammed, but it's something I really want to stay;

It's not his horse is it? I know on a lot farms the animals aren't just one persons, their everybody's, but he was doing a chore for you (if it's your animal). :/

I mean, dont get me wrong my reaction would probably be the same, but you should think about who's horse it was regardless. Although it was a very careless mistake. I mean it in the most respectful way.

I mean, I blew up because my uncle let a guy use my horse and he tied him too lose and my horse went to graze, lifted his head back up, the rope got caught behind his ears and finally slid down and slit his nose open when he pulled back.

I see where you're going with this.

Personally, I think since the son is a minor, and probably has chores, and this may be one of them, he still needs to be responsible for his actions. 15 is old enough to take on the responsibility of these types of things and from what the OP said, he *knows* better, which is all the more reason for the punishment.

JMHO ...

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I see where you're going with this.

Personally, I think since the son is a minor, and probably has chores, and this may be one of them, he still needs to be responsible for his actions. 15 is old enough to take on the responsibility of these types of things and from what the OP said, he *knows* better, which is all the more reason for the punishment.

JMHO ...

I see what your saying and I guess didn't really see this side of it. I know that I would be very upset if my uncle (barn owner) decided to just be lazy let my horse out in traffic instead of closing the gate (really not all that different) or something along those lines.

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I see where you're going with this.

Personally, I think since the son is a minor, and probably has chores, and this may be one of them, he still needs to be responsible for his actions. 15 is old enough to take on the responsibility of these types of things and from what the OP said, he *knows* better, which is all the more reason for the punishment.

JMHO ...

Exactly Andi. My son is 15, and has been handling and caring for our horses for many, many years. He definitely knows better, because over and over again he's heard me "preach" about what to do and what not to do, and as of lately I've been cut-off mid-speach with an eye roll and a "I know, I know, blah blah blah". So when this happened I felt I had every right to get angry with him. I did not punish him in anger. I did not punish him AT ALL in my opinion. I don't really punish my kids, I only ask that they are responsible for their own actions. It was his mistake which lead to the vet call, he should have to pay for it. The vet recommended the horse be monitored - he should have to monitor the horse. Now if I made him pay for the vet and watch over the horse AND ground him for a week - THAT in my opinion would be excessive. Regardless of who's horse it actually IS - if I was boarding my horses at a barn and the BO made a mistake which injured my horse and resulted in a vet call you can bet that BO would be footing the bill. It's just a matter of responsibility.

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IMO, it doesn't matter whose horse it is.

Families who live in a home should age-appropriately share ALL of the upkeep/chores relating to keeping that household, family, daily-responsibilites (pets) and property running smoothly. The kid had chores, those chores involved caring for the family horses and he made a huge blunder while trying to take a shortcut he had been told was unacceptable due to safety concerns.

He got first-hand knowledge of WHY his Mom has been telling him all this stuff.

It is one thing to be told why we do the things we do the way we do them ... quite another when you experience it and have the magnitude of the issue brought home in such a dramatic, traumatic and personal way.

I bet it's gonna be a while before she gets an eye-roll outta him...

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Andi...I just love the way you can disagree so sweetly...you are such a nice person...it is hard to have nothing but respect for you.. [bat Eyelashes]

As far as the pressure thing...I totally agree...today, that is what I do.

But back in 1980ish...when I was a pre-teen withall the "shortcuts" and no real time skills....the warning was more than necessary...my dad was a trader, breeder etc. Horses came in and out constantly...and he had a flat rule for me and others that was supposed to cover the bases...for just such a moment as that one.

But I totally agree...totally.... [Huggy]

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How scary, I am glad it turned out to be a simple learning experience and not a tragedy. I think you did good too, mom. Taking shortcuts is not a good thing and is a bad habit to develop.

My kids and the folks that I supervise at work get worse punishment for taking a shortcut than they do for making a bad descision. If they know what to do and chose to do something else it makes me really angry. I think that if more parents had your attitude I wouldn't have to deal with this at work so much!

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Glad it turned out OK. I had the same experience, after which I could lead that colt with a piece of dental floss draped on his neck, and tie him with sewing thread. [Duh]

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My mother would have had me hung and skinned. Thank god nobody was hurt and that your son had enough sense to realize a bad situation and call for help!

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Not commenting on the incident except to say that I teach all my horses to tie with a rope around their necks, I do it while they are wearing a halter (double tied with the halter lead a little longer) Some horses really react to it, others don't think anything of it. I also train using a rope around the neck so they give to that pressure as well. It's good for many reasons, one being in case your halter breaks, and so the horse accepts one more form of restraint.

when I heard someone tell me thier horses were collar broke, I thought they misspoke,meant halter broke

until i actually saw what they were talking about.

they do make collars for horses, I've seen the amish use them, tie their horses with the collar....I seen a few people at our local shows, that have them used them...

we can lead our horses with the rope around their neck as well, by looping it, we never hooked /tied them with it while around their necks...

I also agree with the OP ,how she handle the situation with her son...He was responsible for the consequences...

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