Never a Dull Moment
Ironman and I woke to a frantic clatter. It came from the horse paddocks: the unmistakable sound of an equine and a fence panel in the midst of an undesirable encounter.
We were out of bed and into our clothes in twenty seconds. Like firefighters, we didn’t need to say a word. Just leap into coats and boots and hustle calmly out into the chill gray of first light.
The clanging had stopped. My gaze fell first on Consolation, then Sandstorm, then Ripple and Acey. All okay. We topped the hill and opened the gate…and found Aaruba. The sight of him was at once astonishing and terrifying.
He seemed to have attempted a double-barrel kick through a 12-gauge fence panel. Both hind legs were caught up in the third and fourth rungs, so that he stood on trembling forelegs with his hindquarters “sitting” on the upright panel. His legs tangled between the rungs such that both stifles and hocks were fully flexed.
He couldn’t move. Thankfully, he didn’t try. He merely looked at us with big, beseeching eyes. Help me? Of course…but how?
Ironman managed to get behind Aaruba and tilt one cannon enough that the fetlock and hoof were no longer looped over the third rung, but Aaruba’s hock was still jammed between rungs three and four. He didn’t know the foot was free.
We got on his opposite side and threw all our strength against his butt, shoving him toward the freed leg until he stepped down at last. This eased the strain on his forehand, but also wrenched the other hind leg, still trapped, even higher. Now what??
It seemed Aaruba’s hind end would need to lift up in order for his weight on the panel to slacken enough that we could guide him free. But “up” wasn’t a possiblity, at least without the help of heavy machinery that I do not own.
Thankfully, Aaruba solved the problem. He pivoted gently toward the trapped leg, which enabled his hip to flex upward and sideways, giving me the slack I needed to lift his hoof over the rung and free.
He took a couple tentative steps, then walked the length of the paddock and back. Sound as a dollar.
Of course, he was still jacked up on aldrenaline. We gave him some hay to help him settle, wondering how much the legs would swell and stiffen. They looked pretty battered, but all the cuts proved superficial — mostly just swaths of hide scraped off.
After a good hose-down and disinfecting session, he trotted gaily around the round corral like the invincible beast he thinks he is. Still sound, very little swelling, not a flinch after the first touch of cold water. All the same, I’m sure he’ll he’s bruised and sore enough to deserve some extra handgrazing time. Poor guy.