Sunday, 14 November 2010


I had my post all planned but then something has happened today which I need to share to help me calm down.
We went to church this morning and had to pick up a few bits afterwards. By the time we got home it was really cold and overcast so I decided I wasn't going to go on the long hack with the others. I'd decided just to lunge Barnaby and then get some jobs done.
So while everyone was tacking up, I put Barney's lunge gear on, then helped everyone else to mount up and get them on their way. Once they were safely out of sight, I got Barnaby out and took him to the arena.
He lunged quite well at first, but was unusually over stressed about being on his own. In the end I let him off the lunge line and he ran up and down a bit, but when he realised there were no other horses around, he came to me, and we did join-up. It was the most fantastic thing. In the end I was running round the arena, with him running next to me, and we were jumping the fences side by side. It was fabulous. I was changing direction and he was running round after me, just superb.
Then I took him back to his stable, where he got quite stressed again, but I left him with his tea and went back to the arena to get my lunge whip.
When I came back, Barnaby was standing there, straddled over his stable door, where he'd tried to jump out and only got half way. The stable door is quite high, obviously, as it's designed to keep him in, so it was cutting into his belly as he stood there, stuck.
It took a while to sink in, it just looked like he was standing motionless out of his stable. He looked at me in shock.
I went in to ring Mr O to see how far away he was as obviously I needed him back straight away. His mobile rang on the bed upstairs. I couldn't think who else could help me so in absolute desperation I dialed 999.
I asked for the fire brigade and was put through and explained my dilemma. I told them I felt really stupid for ringing but couldn't think what else to do. She took all my details and said they were on their way.
I stayed with Barnaby and just talked calmly to him, then decided to ring the vet, as I could see blood and hair on the floor. I decided to use Mr O's phone to ring, but then couldn't get a signal. I went indoors to use the house phone, but it was completely dead. What on earth was going on? This was supposed to be so simple. I had to leave Barnaby and walk about to get a signal, to try again on the mobile. This time I got through but the voice message said they were closed and gave me a mobile number to ring. I ran inside, grabbed a pen and paper, ran back outside, dialed the vet again and this time managed to write the emergency number down.
I got through to the emergency vet, and explained the situation and she said she would come out asap, so I went back to Barnaby.
I have to tell you I wasn't entirely calm and was desperate for Mr O to come back. I had to pull myself together, because when I was upset Barnaby kept struggling to get his back legs over the door, so I kept talking to him soothingly, saying, 'Someone will come, I promise, someone will come.' I just wanted to cry and cry. My poor baby.
Every so often he tried to struggle, and at one point, sparks were flying off his shoes and going backwards into the stable. I thought, 'Marvellous, now I'm going to set light to the stable as well!' I think I'd lost it a bit by then.
I tried to ring Missis but she didn't answer. I couldn't believe it. Didn't anyone think to take a phone?
I went out onto the road to see if I could see them coming back, where to my joy, I could see a blue light flashing in the distance. I waved them in and they pulled up onto the drive. There must have been about seven men, some in a rescue vehicle and some in a landrover. They came in and looked at Barnaby. They assessed the situation and decided they would put a sling on him, hoist him up and take the stable door off its hinges and slide it out from underneath him.
I decided to try Pongo's mobile, and finally, he actually answered. I just said I'd called the fire brigade and hung up. Then I realised how ridiculous that was and rang back and said, "It's not a fire, it's Barnaby." They were quite near to home by then and Mr O put Zak straight into trot and shot home.
I have never been so relieved to see him. I held Zak, explained what had happened and he ran into the stables. He was shocked at the sight that greeted him, but went straight into action. I think Barnaby was relieved to see him, too and relaxed.
The firemen were worried that if they took the door down Barnaby would run straight off, but Mr O said he'd hold him and he'd be fine, so they went to work undoing the hinges. The firemen got the door loose, tilted it (at Mr O's insistence) and slowly pulled it out. Barnaby was calm, and once he realised he could put his legs down, he walked gingerly forwards into Zak's stables.
At this point we decided to bring the other horses in and once Barnaby saw Zak he calmed down.
As you can imagine, I thanked the firemen profusely. It turned out they are Derbyshire Animal Rescue Service, and frankly, words cannot express my gratitude to them. They did their 'think nothing of it,' routine and left. I could have hugged them quite honestly. They did ask if I was going to be alright, actually.
Then, of course, all I wanted to know was whether Barnaby was injured. He had some blood on his face, a cut on his knee, and a cut near his nether regions (which had been resting on the stable door the whole time, poor boy!) but no other obvious wounds, but I was worried about internal injuries, too.
Soon the vet arrived and checked him all over. She listened to his heart and said it was fine. We got him out of the stable and Mr O trotted him up. He was sound, bless God. We swapped him and Zak back to their own stables, as Pongo had swiftly re-attached the stable door. He was very uppity but very gradually calmed down, so I gave him his tea.
The vet left me with some antibiotics and some anti-inflammatories, and said that basically he'd been very fortunate to have come off so light. She said he could easily have broken a leg or anything.
Eventually everything calmed down, and I put Barnaby in his stable rug on just kept hugging him. Then I did the thing that really cheered him up - I went and got him a banana. I have discovered very recently that he absolutely loves them. He scoffed the whole thing, then seemed to calm down properly.
By now I'd had a hot cup of tea to calm me down and felt I could safely leave him and come indoors. I was fine until half way through dinner then I just burst into tears. I'm sure you know by now that Barnaby means everything to me. He has given me such confidence this year and I just love his character and his whole outlook on life, and this is the last thing that I want to happen to him.
Sleep well my sweet boy, although I think you're going to be slightly sore in the morning. And so am I and I have four stables to muck out. Never mind, I am just glad he is okay, it could have been so much worse.
Mrs O.


  1. I'm so pleased that everything was ok in the end. It must have been so distressing for all of you
    Margaret :o)

  2. What a terrible ordeal - you did the right thing phone the fire brigade - what else could you have done. I'm glad your boy is OK, sounds like it could have been a whole lot worse. Try not to dwell on it too much. Michelle x
    (p.s. - have sent you an email, but seems to be playing up. Let me know if it doesn't come through)

  3. Oh, my goodness, I was in tears reading this. How scary for you. But you did all the right things and calling the fire brigade turned out to be the best--what angels!!

    How frustrating for you to make all those calls to get no answer from the people you needed. But clearly Barnaby knew you were trying to help as he stayed pretty calm most of the time.

    Poor boy! He must have been really frantic to try to climb/jump out like that. I too would be really worried that he'd have hurt himself a lot more, but it's a tribute to his intelligence that he didn't struggle more.

    I am sure he will be sore, bless his heart.

    You did everything you could do with brilliant presence of mind considering the circumstances. Barnaby is a lucky boy to have such a wonderful mom in time of crisis.

    Hugs an plenty for you both. Wish I could come over to give you some in person. I'm so happy it had such a good ending....aside from your well deserved tears.

  4. Oh Autumn, what a horrible experience I dont suppose you will be leaving him on his own with the top door open when the rest are out, it just goes to show even the best of animals can miss company.
    I do hope hes not to stiff and sore today, it must have been a dreadful shock to you both, but Im glad hes reasonably ok take care With love and hugs Shirleyxxxx

  5. Scary!....You did well to contain the whole event as you did.But the issue hasnt been solved, sorry to do this to you, but he has become "buddie sour" as the Americans say!

    the answer would be, if the horses are stalled together, for long periods, to let one out at a time. gradually lead each one to the field, leaving time gaps between each horse going out.
    This will be an anxious time for them, but by doing this they will learn that, no matter what happens, they will not be seperated for long. The horses need to taught that seperation is not a bad thing.
    So, gradually let each horse be away from the others, and then when you are ready, re introduce them. It takes a little time, but works.
    At least Barnaby was safe, after his ordeal, my poor Ben, he wasnt so lucky. He decided that he wouldnt be left behind, and walked straight through the stable door, smashing the hinges to bits, and splintering the wooden door. Ben was a Shire horse! Big bold and incredibly beautiful. We were unable to save him.
    So when I have horses inside, I teach them that being on there own isnt a time to panic. You did really well, there are a lot that would not have coped. Very well done!xx

  6. What a horrifying experience for you and Barnaby! So glad you're both ok though it will take time to heal the emotional wounds you've both taken.
    How smart you were to think of calling the firemen, I don't know who I would have thought of!

  7. What a saga! I am so glad that he didn't hurt himself more than he did . . . and I certainly understand bursting into tears after the pressure was off! My God, you must have been beside yourself the whole time.

  8. Just stopped over from Cheyanne Chronicles. I'm so glad that all turned out as well as it did. I have a pretty soft spot in my heart for a good horse.


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