Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lessons, continued...

So to recap from the previous post, we are now stranded at the stable on the corner. Be prepared, it's a long one...

There are a lot of people in the parking lot and courtyard milling around and trying to see what has happened. They are telling us we can't get through, that a helicopter is coming and the field is full of emergency vehicles. Some people are saying we could try to take the road back but I am adamant it's not a good idea, if the helicopter comes while we are on the turn, all I need is for the horses to spook. I have a healthy fear of getting dumped onto pavement and into traffic.

The boarders were very nice, they offered us to take our horses behind the main barn, maybe hose them and offer them water and keep them on crossties in the barn until the problem was resolved. We elected to dismount and find a quiet corner to hold them in where they couldn't see into the field. My horse has seen the medivac copter before. I was riding once in the polo ring and it landed across the street in the sports field in front of the high school. Monty didn't even give it a toss of the head.

The buzz was this rider's horse had simply stumbled as she was riding on the grass hill. The rider had gone over the horses head or shoulder and fallen off. She had a broken wrist (or wrists) and they thought she also had a mild concussion.

We were held "hostage" by the situation for about 30-40 minutes. Once the copter came and went, we ventured from behind the barn to the field. All the vehicles were gone except for a lone police car who's officer was talking with the woman who owns the stable. We quietly walked our horses off her property and directly to home. The horses had even had enough. Where they usually try to graze on the church lawn as we walk home, this time the two of them marched over the grass and down the road to our driveway.

E.W. and I were so relieved when we put the horses in their stalls. What a stressful ending to a nice ride. We decided to go have a nice refreshing sweet tea at McDonald's. While we were there, we thought maybe it would be a nice gesture to bring some big bags of fresh carrots to the stable owner and tell her to share with the boarders since they were so kind to us. So we went to the grocery store and bought 10 pounds of carrots.

We went back to the stable and met the owner. She was nice enough as we dropped off our gift. We said we hoped the woman was all right and that her horse was too and that her boarders were very kind to offer our horses water. The exchange seemed to be appreciated.

Well, it doesn't matter because as of yesterday evening there is a sign posted in our tackroom at our barn that the owner no longer is allowing access through her property. I don't know what transpired but obviously she called our barn management and told them her place is now off limits.

My friend and I can't think of anything we did wrong. My husband thinks it's mainly because of liability. But this woman has been holding horse shows on her property so obviously there's a risk with liability there from people outside her barn community. However, there are also release forms that must be signed before you can compete. Are there non-competition release forms a barn owner can have people from outside their property sign? I know the management at the barn I am at now is very concerned with this and has everyone sign releases. Since it is also a medical clinic, there can be horses coming and going and not always time to ascertain what the owner's experience is. So forms must be submitted.

I was so interested in riding over to compete in the dressage shows at that stable but now I'm not so sure I want to do it. Even if I pay an entry, I still feel like I'm not welcome.

What a stupid society we live in. I am old school. Unless someone maliciously attempts to cause me to fall from my horse, I assume responsibility of my skills in handling my horse if it should spook, buck, stumble, whatever. I always wear a helmet. I try very hard to be courteous, in control and respectful of my actions and my comments when I am on someone elses' terms. I just don't know.

So now my only options if I want to go trail ride is to use my horse trailer, which is more effort than I have time for and to try having my farrier shoe Monty with stud holes in his shoes, then I'll put road studs in and hope the extra grip enables him to handle the paved hill on the bend.


Chris said...

How frustrating! I think the carrot gesture was a lovely idea but agree with your husband that it's probably on account of liability that she's wanting to restrict access through her property.

At least with a horse show you can prepare for the event and as a property/business are gaining something from it - exposure, fees, etc.

To let people pass through the property whenever is perhaps extra liability that she's not willing to risk? Unfortunately with so many out there who don't take responsibility for their actions, it's better to protect oneself at times!

I'm sorry your trail riding has been stilted.

SolitaireMare said...

thanks chris!

My friend asked our office manager what the woman said when she called and they said she offered no explanation, just that she was restricting access. "sigh" Guess we'll just have to see if things change.

Meanwhile, I'll try adding the caulk holes to the shoes and working with road studs.

onthebit said...

That sinks! I have a feeling the conversation went along the lines of someone saying "Thank goodness those two trail riders didn't ride through when the helicopter came down" and someone else going "Yeah, that would have caused another accident and more helicopters to come" and that caused the manager or owner to think about being sued and that is why they are restricting access. And it seems odd that they called a helicopter for just a broken arm and concussion...I wonder what really happened. And I am bummed you are thinking about not doing the show...you have a lesson tonight and everything! Keep us posted.

Mrs Mom said...

I agree with the poster who said that LifeFlight is usually NOT called out for a mild concussion and a wrist fracture. Unless the horse rolled on her, and there was a possibility of spinal involvement, (either say neck or pelvic fracture,) or chest trauma from being rolled on, LifeFlight *probably* would have been grounded, and patient sent by land transport. Either way- I sure hope she recovers soon and is OK in the long run.

As to the stranded situation- might be a silly suggestion, since I dont know the road you are on, but is there a ditch or shoulder to dismount and walk in/ on?

NY is a tough place with the liability laws there.... I got quite a culture shock moving way south- there are group trail rides all over the place almost every weekend. NY? group ride? Prety much unheard of thanks to the insurance laws and crap there. The land owner might be facing something like that.... which sucks!

Mrs Mom said...

PS- the carrots were wicked sweet of you guys IMO!! :)

MrsAsta an old friend of Tally-ho said...

I remember years ago (70's & 80's) there was a trail along the outside of the stable that you are no longer able to pass through. It was narrow and between the chain link of the farm's paddocks and a white wood fence that protected the path from the road, but could be easily ridden through even with a western saddle and haybelly horses. I am sure it is probably grown over quite a bit now. (I haven't used it in some time myself) Maybe it is possible to have it cleared?? Since it was there and used quite frequently ( easily over 10 years)there should be some sort of law to have the town cooperate in making it accessible again. On a similar note..since the barn owner allowed her property to be used as a right of way for over ten years (and I know it was) according to New York State Law technically there is now an easement running with the property even if it were to change owners. Regardless of how she feels now she and the previous owners allowed it.
I wish you the best of luck and if you use the road please be careful, and know the location and it is very daunting

SolitaireMare said...

Greetings, mrsasta! Thanks for your comment!

Yes, that path along the bend is still there. I see pedestrians usng it to avoid the road. It is quite grown over and washed out, and the one time I tried to ride through there with Monty, the horses in the paddocks that back up to that chain link fence started running when they saw/heard my horse walking on the other side of the fence.

Monty got really uptight and there is one part that is very washed out where tree roots are exposed that refused to step over. I know when I'm fighting a loosing battle, so I turned around right there and went home.

So, my options are the road or another bypass.

I find it intriguing that you say in your name you are "an old friend of tally-ho". My first horse was named Tally-Ho, who I owned as a kid at West Hills Stables (now Sweet Hills). I respect your wish to be anonymous but if you know me and would like to discuss this privately, you can email me at my personal email: solitairemare@aol.com

I'm always interested in connecting with others who remember the horsey set around here "back in the day"!

Thanks!! :)