Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guy Fawkes Rounds 2 and 3

After the drama of Thursday night I decided that it would be best to stay with the horses to make sure everything went ok. I even managed to persuade my partner to come and keep me company.

Everything was quiet, we had just finished eating tea, it was getting late. Surely by 9.30 people would have started letting off fireworks if they were going too. We were contemplating calling it a night. Then all hell broke loose. We had fireworks coming from several directions. One place was only about 50 metres away from Fox’s paddock. In the flashes, I saw his head come up and he started to run. I ran over to try and calm him. It must have been awful for him as he was confined in a small area for his leg. He was trapped, nowhere to go. So he started charging the fence.

When he had crashed into it a few times, I panicked. I was on the wrong side of the fence trying to keep him away from it. Stupid I know, but I wasn’t about to stand by and watch my horse go through a fence. He managed to get through the tape that kept him enclosed. He was running around in the dark. I couldn’t see him. Then he started coming at the fence again. By this time I was crying, and so, so afraid. It’s hard to describe the terror I was feeling. I was still trying to get in his way, to keep him away from the fence. My partner was trying to undo the fence so Fox could get into the relative safety of the post and rail arena.

He charged again and knocked me down. I saw stars and felt bits of tooth in my mouth. Apparently I said ‘Shit, shit, my tooth’s gone, I’m all fucked up.’ Stupid, stupid me. The knock and my partner sorted me out and I grabbed a standard and jumped to the other side of the fence. I ran up and down waving my arms and the standard shouting back, back, back whenever he came close. My partner managed to get the fence undone and opened the gate of the arena.
Now Fox wouldn’t come through. I herded him through the gap and into the arena. His little pony friend ducked under his tape and went through with him. Fireworks kept coming and they kept running. They did stay away from the fence though so I figured they would be safe. Then the car lights started to die. My partner ran to try and turn the car on before it went flat but too late. I tried to check the horses but couldn’t see anything except for moving shapes. I completely broke down and sobbed and sobbed.

We had to try and push start the car. After a couple of failed efforts we got it going. The horses had settled a bit and there were no more fireworks. I was exhausted and my partner wanted to get me home.

At home in the light I saw my tooth wasn’t too bad, about a third of the bottom was gone and it wasn’t one of the front ones so I was very relieved. I collapsed into a chair. Then I saw my hand. It was covered in blood. I looked at my partner and said ‘that’s not my blood.’

So we went back. Using a torch we had collected on the way I could see Fox’s white sock was red. I tried not to have another meltdown. He wouldn’t let anyone close but I got close enough to see a huge at least handsized wound on his chest/shoulder. It was mostly superficial with a big flap of skin hanging down. There were however, a couple of deep bits. I held it together and tried to ascertain the seriousness of it. It wasn’t bleeding anymore, looked pretty clean and the deep bits weren’t too deep. He also wasn’t going to let me or anyone anywhere near him. There was nothing I could do to help him. It was the most awful feeling leaving him there like that.

It was after midnight when we got home. I spent a sleepless night tossing and turning. I went out first thing in the morning and called the vet. She couldn’t make it till 9.30 so I waited and waited and made Fox as comfortable as I could. We had his pony friend in the next pen to keep him company but he was still very nervous and jumping at everything.

The vet finally arrived. We had a bit of an audience by this time, all the other people who have horses there had turned up. If you didn’t already know, Fox hates vets. With a passion. Poor lady couldn’t get anywhere near him with a needle. She gave me an oral sedative to give him. It took forty very long minutes to work. Vet tried again to get near him. Nope, he wasn’t having a bar of it. Out came the deer stick. An intramuscular injection isn’t as effective as a IV injection but it was all that could be done. He got a quick jab in the neck. When he was nice and sleepy she tried to inject the area with a local. But no, Fox wasn’t having any of that. So another intramuscular injection with the deer stick. He still wouldn’t let her inject any local into the area. We managed to tie him tight and get a dose in IV. He was so, so sleepy. The vet said that this should make him go down. But no, I, apparently, have a super horse. He swayed a bit but mostly just ate. We waited some more and nothing. We gave him another IV stick. ‘This should definitely bring him down,’ the vet said. No it didn’t. He swayed a bit and looked sleepy but carried on eating. Fox had now had a large dose of oral sedative and four times the normal dose of the other sedative and nothing. The vet decided to bring out the big guns. Diazapam and Ketamine. That dropped him. Rather hard too. He rolled around and his eyes were filled with panic. It was horrible.

We had to prop him up as he had landed on the wrong side. The vet got down to business, cleaned everything up and started stitching. He needed internal stitches as well as stitches for the big flap. She was just on her last stitch when Fox tried to get up. We managed to keep him still enough for her to finish. In half the normal time, Fox was trying to stand. There was nothing we could do to keep him down an longer. But he hadn’t got full control over his muscles yet and fell and flailed and twisted himself into hideous positions. It was so bad I could hardly watch. It took a long, long time for him to gain enough control to stand.

Once he had control over himself, everyone left. It was just me and my poor horsie. I felt very alone and very frightened. I didn’t know how to keep him safe. We had at least another night of fireworks.

Late in the afternoon I finally felt safe enough to leave him for an hour. I tried to rest but I was so anxious. I couldn’t decide where he would be safer. The round pen, which is small and enclosed which may freak him out but safe with nice high walls, or the arena where he could run all he wanted and be with his pony friend but low walls. I finally decided on the arena. It was his anxiety at being away from other horses that did it for me. So I went back and moved him into the arena, gave him water and hay and moved his friend in with him. I left again to try and have some food.

After not being able to eat anything, we went back at 8.30. I had planned on giving him another dose of oral sedative but fireworks started just as I was about to get out of the car. It wasn’t even dark yet. They ran a bit, then it slowed down to a trot and finally a huddle in the corner of the arena with some other horses from across the fence. We waited until the fireworks had pretty much finished before we left with the horses all safe and sound.

It’s now Thursday and we have had fireworks every single night. I put them back in the arena on Sunday night just in case. They will go back in there this weekend as well. We are expecting more.

Fox won’t go back into the paddock he was injured in. He is now living behind his pony friend which is a pain getting in and out of but he feels safe there. I’m looking for new grazing. My partner who has only been there once before and didn’t get out of the car, started pointing out how badly made this place is. What Fox hurt himself on, a bolt that was used to make the arena and left sticking out, was an accident waiting to happen. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. All the bolts are cut off now but there are so many more hazards. Some of them aren’t that noticeable, but I am on high alert and don’t feel safe there. I am even considering going back to where I was before I’m that desperate to get out!

Fox is healing well. His wound is getting cold hosed three times a day and he is finally eating his antibiotics after they are mixed with apples and carrots and lots of molasses. Very bad for him but better than him getting an infection.

I do have photos but I haven’t even looked at them. I don’t know that anyone else would want to see them either but I’ll post them if anyone requests.

My tooth is all fixed too. Thanks ACC.


  1. Wow! What an ordeal. I'm lucky that my horse is broke to gun and cannon fire, she doesn't react to fireworks much or at all. I'm really really glad to hear you are OK.

    I'm definatley NOT trying to minimize what you went through or how he reacted, but do consider that horses will feed off of how you are feeling at the time. Although, reading your story, it sounded like he was pretty upset even before things went south! so it probably was just the very scary fireworks situation.

    Take care of yourself and keep us posted!

  2. Wow. I am so glad we don't have Guy Fawkes here, although the rodeo that was held across the road last weekend freaked my horses out.

    Fox sounds like a super super horse to have that much sedative and not go down!

  3. Totally agree with you Mel. It feels really shit to know that though I didn't cause the accident, I definitely contributed to it. Trying not to dwell but take the lesson learned.

    Veronica, the vet said she had never seen anything like it.

  4. Jeez... glad you're okay and all fixed up yourself!

    That, well, sounds horrible. At least he was 'better' with his buddy the next few nights. I've seen horses that fight sedation like that and it's rough. If they're spun up already when you get it in though, it can't take a full hold. Taht's why he got up so soon. Burned right through it. I hope you find somehwere safer for him! Good luck and stay safe!