A few minutes before the breakout occurred, there had been two volleys of shotgun shots. Gunshots do not usually freak my horses out to the point of running THROUGH gates. But, the neighbor had been goose hunting, and went to retrieve the fallen geese using his 4 wheeler, towing a loud, rickety trailer. And went right past the dry lots on his way to get the geese. We think that the combination of so many loud shots followed by scary, loud trailer noises must have been the trigger.
The dry lot gates are hung so they cannot be lifted off the hinges.
Notice the pintles on the right are twisted out, the gate on the left is properly hung, and undamaged. The gate on the right the top hinge was bent a bit and twisted around, to the point where the gate popped out of the opening.
The path of escape is clear, everything is saturated right now (which is why they are in the dry lots) so this leaves tons of evidence.
Those are Neuf’s divots, the really deep and big ones.
We get to the back gate and see the classic skid marks, about 10 feet out from the gate. Not far enough out, another set of skid marks then go under the gate. It appears that Harry misjudged his stopping distance, slid, fell under the aisle gate, which then lifted THAT off the hinges, as it is NOT installed to prevent being lifted off the hinges…no livestock are ever out there! That is the second line of defense against escapes!
Neuf is much slower than Harry, apparently his skid happened when Harry crashed into and under the gate!
This is at least 100′ from the gate.
There are signs of a struggle with gate damage, likely where Harry was probably cast underneath until it lifted off the hinges.
The gate is bent now…
All the gates are re-hung, pintles twisted back the correct direction, the skid marks and divots will be there for a while! The neighbor who was hunting apologized, and he didn’t think it was the shots that set them off, and told us about the rickety cart he was pulling with his 4 wheeler, and while I had known they would be hunting, I had not expected this level of panic from the horses. So next year (it was the last day of the season) he will make sure to let me know and I won’t have my horses in the dry lots next to that field, I’ll probably close them up in the barn for the couple of hours they are actually hunting the geese.
Neuf is still very worried and staring over towards the field where the geese fell. Harry has a couple of minor scrapes on his legs, likely where he struggled under the gate and I’m thinking he might have been the one leading the charge through the first gate too. No swelling, no lost shoes, one more clip broke on that old Rambo Harry was wearing.
I have the best neighbors and live in a great neighborhood where there is a phone tree to figure out where an escaped horse belongs. One of our neighbors was in Richmond and getting calls and texts, but luckily her horse was wearing a green blanket, so she could rest easy!
Thanks to Robyn, Lara, Sharon, Martha, Adrienne, and Kathy for all the alerts!