Sunday, November 10, 2013

Horses Sometimes Get Loose

A fact of endurance riding is loose horses. Not at every ride, but at some rides, horses seem to get loose at an alarming rate. Happily, most horses are recovered within a few minutes or hours and most without serious injury.

However, there are those other stories. The ones where the horses are lost for weeks in the woods and maybe are never seen again. I read these stories and ache for those riders missing their equine friends.

My husband, Daniel, has been involved in many happy horse recoveries over the years, but I am usually in another place doing another thing. Usually riding.

Last weekend, at the Skymont endurance ride, nearly every popular containment system failed.

Several horses got loose from an electric corral on Friday morning, leading searchers on a merry chase down the road before a local person managed to corner and catch one of the horses. Fortunately, the other horses hung around until more help could arrive and catch all of them. Daniel ended up leading all 4 energetic horses back to camp from the back of a [motorized] mule.

Sometime overnight Friday night, another horse managed to get out of a metal corral system. He was caught not too far away. Meanwhile, his buddy snapped his high tie (unsure of the brand) and took off as well.

On Sabbath, another horse managed to slip his halter and lead other searchers on a merry chase down the pipeline for several hours. Yet another just walked away from the trailer he was tied to after apparently untying himself.

Oh, and don't think because it hasn't happened to you, it can't. One owner of one of the loose horses had said "I haven't had a loose horse in 30 years." What is that Proverb? Pride goeth before a fall?

Dozens of volunteers, including Daniel and me, spent many hours over 2 days covering miles and miles searching for Fougueux, a pretty chestnut wearing a green blanket. In the end, he was caught Sunday evening, just before dark, over 3 miles from ridecamp, down a steep grade. Amazingly, he seemed to be in great shape with very few obvious injuries.

All this excitement, caused me to think about my own horses getting loose. How would we find them? What if we didn't have dozens of volunteers to comb the woods? What if they weren't wearing a distinctive blanket that would aide hunters or other casual observers to point us in the right direction?

Anybody who knows me knows a couple things about me. One being, I'm a tech geek. I like tech. I like gadgets. I have a lot of them. So, I am turning to tech to help me locate one of my horses should they get loose.

Hunters have needed such technology for years to follow their hunting dogs or simply locate a dog that went too far afield. Why not use the same technology for horses?

So, join me after the break to discuss the Garmin Astro dog tracking system...for horses.

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