I hesitated writing about this today because I just didn’t see any benefit of relaying this sad story… Then Hubby suggested that there are several issues at play here and maybe knowing this story would help any of you who live in communities like this where horses are on roadways.
A well known horseman lives in an LA suburb. The suburb grew up around his little ranch. He was used to riding around his neighborhood and he continued to do so after it transformed into more of a city than a country area.
The new roads around his house were fitted with storm drains. The streets were paved. Cars whizzed by. But, this horseman still rode his horses around his neighborhood.
The horseman is 100 years old. His favorite horse was 24. This month, they were riding on the roads around his house and a car came whizzing by… The horse was startled and her shoes slipped on the metal grate of the storm drain which was covered by wet leaves. The old rider was thrown and the mare got her back legs caught in the storm drain. After 5 hours of veterinary care, the mare could not be saved due to extensive nerve damage in her back legs. The rider was OK.
The old man couldn’t contain his tears when he said that she was the best horse he had ever owned.
The car that whizzed by never stopped.
There is so much controversy… Metal shoes, horses on roads, storm drain safety, hard of hearing riders, speed bumps, lack of designated trails… the list goes on and on.
Truth is, this is a tragedy, pure and simple. The old guy should be able to ride his favorite horse. The old guy probably thought shoes were the best thing for his mare. Any 100 year old person will be hard of hearing. Storm drains are not made for safety. Cities don’t want to designate land for trails. Drivers are very ignorant to horses. Some drivers are idiots.
You can read the news story via this link.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that this old guy is not stopped by the loss of his horse. He has others. The good news is that he can still ride and care for his horses at 100 years old. The good news is that his vet worked for 5 hours to save his mare. The good news is that this community is in uproar over the accident. The good news is that this story made it into the LA Times.
WATCH THE VIDEO
This video which was part of the news story is not sad. Actually, it is kindof inspirational. It shows this old guys mucking stalls, haltering his mule, loving on his Paint and tying up the mule for a photo opportunity with the videographer.
As Hubby said, “I hope I’m that active at 100!”
My basic thoughts are that this accident was tragic and I’m disgusted that the driver got away. I, personally, hate to ride on paved roads but I think that 100 year old guys should be able to ride on roads safely. I think that idiots in cars who think all horses are like Trigger are ignorant and ought to be schooled.
I think storm drains are awfully dangerous and I never walk on them, let alone ride over them — eeesh, they give me the willies.
I think this guy is an inspiration in that he is still smiling, he is still mucking and he’s still riding.
People are now talking about modifying storm drains in this county. Huge arguments are ensuing over this. Other people are pushing for mandated riding trails. Mothers are talking about how this horse could have been one of their kids…
So, this story is tragic, I agree. But, I am choosing to think that this horse gave her life so that perhaps her buddy could have another year or two of better riding circumstances. Or that maybe she gave her life so that her buddy could be an inspiration to others. Or, maybe she gave her life for nothing… Maybe she just died because of a stupid series of mishaps.
But, since we always have the choice of how we perceive our lives, I choose to believe that she gave her life so that a light could be shined on some issues and on her longtime, benevolent owner.
And, I choose to believe that the guy driving the car will get his sooner than later… Anyone that rude and insensitive and foolish must piss off a lot of people — often. So, that person will have a miserable existence. Maybe that person will be doomed to live 100 years in his miserable life, never to know that kindness of “the best horse a guy has ever had….”
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!