A Big Lesson Learned

Last week I was teaching a small private horsemanship lesson and the unthinkable happened.

One of my students was experiencing problems in getting her horse to connect with her and had finally found a small, tiny win with her horse.  She decided that was probably all she could hope for that day and decided to pack it in and simply continue to watch the rest of the lesson.

She tied her horse up to one of the arena posts and then positioned herself where she could watch the lesson.  Her horse was constantly pawing at the arena surface and before long had dug quite a hole. At which time, fearing the arena surface was getting pretty damaged I asked her to move her horse.  She removed her horse to outside of the arena on the grass and tied him to the arena fence.

I duly noted that the horse was tied rather long, but didn’t say anything as I felt she was feeling like she had been challenged enough for one day and may take another suggestion from me negatively.  So I shut up and let the horse be.

As the lesson was drawing to a close, all hell broke loose.

The horse that was tied up had somehow got his back leg through the lead rope and was now horribly stuck with his body twisted by the confines of the lead rope.  He was gasping for breath as the pressure on his nose was cutting off his nasal passages and every time he tried to move to release himself the pressure got worse.

Oh boy!  My student ran to his aid and immediately tried to release the knot on the lead rope.  It didn’t release.  I ran for a knife to cut him free.

Before I could get to them, my student had managed to untie the knot and somehow release her horse, by now the horse was sitting on his haunches in big trouble.

The ONLY saving grace to this story is that the horse didn’t panic, instead he tried to find the release like his owner had taught him to do over the years with all the horsemanship work they had done together.

The horse was very shaken, and suffered rope burns to the back leg that stepped through the lead.  That was one lucky horse!

To say my student learned a valuable lesson is a bit of an understatement.

She thought she was being kind by allowing the horse to pick at the grass around him and reach the flies off his legs.

She now realises that safety takes a priority over kindness.

Here is a picture of the knot that would have helped this horse (if it had been tied correctly) get out of trouble fast.  By the way the horse in the picture is the one who had the lucky escape last week!

Look forward to reading your comments or near miss stories 🙂


Quick Release Knot