Close shave field accident. It could have been so much worse.

Landcruiser

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I had a real shaker a couple of hours ago. I went and said hi to the boys, who have free run of the yard whenever they are "in" - they have 2 open stables, and a 20x20 turnout area straight off the yard. I left them in the yard and wandered off down the closed off track to make sure the gate at the end was secure before letting them up it for a bit more space. 10 minutes later, came back, opened the gate off the turnout, and my old guy wandered off up the track. I went to give Tuga a nudge, thinking he was in one of the stables. Nope. Nor was he anywhere to be seen. Heart sinking moment...I spent a manic couple of minutes running round in absolute bafflement because the yard and turnout were completely normal and secure...but no horse.

I decided to check back up the track - maybe he had somehow slipped past me (he's 14.3 and built like a brick sh1thouse, so not likely) -apart from his being spirited up, I couldn't think of anything else! Then...I saw him. I thought he was dead. The completely immobile back end of a horse in the far corner of the turnout where it dips and runs off to a ditch in the adjacent field, properly down in the ditch with his front end invisible under the fence in the ditch, and the fence partly collapsed on him. When I got to him he was breathing like an old smoker, but apart from that totally still. It looked like he'd been having a roll, maybe rolled right over, and the dip (which has got quite muddy) had funnelled his head down under the fence and he'd slid down into the ditch (luckily dry at this end), his front half fully under the post and rail fence.

Cue crazy couple of minutes of me running for the house, interrupting OH who is WFH and son (college FH) "Get your wellies on! Bring a big hammer!!), before running back to poor Tuga to try to get a headcollar on him - tricky as he was at a skewed angle with his head squashed onto the ground in the ditch.

Anyway - long story short (and actually it was only a few seconds), I kept his head down while OH/son demolished the fence, and once the part resting on Tuga was gone he had a big old wriggle and managed to get himself out of there into the field. It took him precisely half a second to spot he was on green grass and get his head down eating...absolutely typical of him, lol. He was a bit dazed, but fine.

I don't think I will ever forget that picture of him, to all intents and purposes dead, head down in a ditch. All credit to him and his breed and his training though - both my lads are ex Uraguyan working criollos, and they both stand still if caught up in anything. This saved him from any injury I think, he seems absolutely fine, not a mark, and perfectly sound. There were no marks of a stuggle. He had slid in, probably tried to rise and brought the bottom rail down on himself, and thought "Damn it, I'm stuck." at which point he'd conserved his strength and just lay there calmly. He would probably have died quite quickly of suffocation had I not happened to be there.

My other lad caught his rug in a haynet one time, I found him just standing there with the haynet all snarled up. I reckon he'd been there several hours judging by the poos behind him, but again, the fact he'd just stood there saved him from any injury at all.

Anyway, I guess I've been lucky, reinforced the lesson if one was needed of how important it is to check on horses regularly. I had literally seen him 10 mins before, and it was a pure fluke I carried on up the track then came back through the yard so soon. On 99 days out of a hundred I'd have just headed back to the house after initially seeing the boys in the yard, and wouldn't have been back until at least a few hours later.
 

DabDab

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Crikey, yes they do know how to scare us don't they! I used to have a tb mare who was a nightmare for rolling too close to the fence and getting stuck under it. On a number of occasions I went up to find her stuck under the fence, one half one side, the other on the other side, waiting patiently for someone to rescue her 🤦. Goodness knows how long she was there on occasion
 

deb_l222

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Barnsley
Oh wow, what a scare!! Glad it all ended well.

I remember another livery’s horse getting their rug twisted around the front clip of the stable rug. No idea how long they had been trapped but that neddy also had the presence of mind just to stand still and await rescue. If they had struggled they could have easily strangled themselves.
 

J&S

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What a nasty shock, so glad you had help at hand to free him up. Extremely interested in the breed of horse you have, Criolla, and the fact that they are from Uraguy, did you get them brought over? I have read how clever and brave they are from Tshiffley's Ride.
 

windand rain

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25 November 2012
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Once had a youngster knock himself out on a fencepost unfortunately the fence was barbed wire which wrapped round him like a vice. It was fortunate he was unconscious as we managed to snip the wire away while he was lying on the floor. He barely had a scratch when he came round and stood up if he had struggled he would have been ripped to bits. Will add it wasnt my field I was looking after him while his owner was away He made a full recovery
 

asmp

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Half way through your (scary) post I remembered Tuga was a Criollo and wasn’t surprised that he just stayed still. Mine got cast in his stable once, luckily while I was standing outside the door, snd just lay there waiting to be rescued. Does seem to be something about the breed
 

Circe2

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20 June 2020
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105
So glad it went well in the end. What a horrible scare. I felt shaken just reading it - what a hideous panic you must have felt. Sending you virtual hugs and cups of tea!

One question though... can I have an Uruguayan working criollo too?! Deeply envious, as I imagine my leggy ISH x KWPN would have thrashed half his limbs off..

If you’re in the U.K., you must tell us the story of how you came to acquire these impressive beasts! 🤩
 

Landcruiser

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13 May 2011
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Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
What a nasty shock, so glad you had help at hand to free him up. Extremely interested in the breed of horse you have, Criolla, and the fact that they are from Uraguy, did you get them brought over? I have read how clever and brave they are from Tshiffley's Ride.
So glad it went well in the end. What a horrible scare. I felt shaken just reading it - what a hideous panic you must have felt. Sending you virtual hugs and cups of tea!

One question though... can I have an Uruguayan working criollo too?! Deeply envious, as I imagine my leggy ISH x KWPN would have thrashed half his limbs off..

If you’re in the U.K., you must tell us the story of how you came to acquire these impressive beasts! 🤩
Thank you! They really are a singular breed. There are a lot of criollo crosses in the UK playing polo, but not so many pure-breeds. My two both came over on the meat boat from Buenos Aires to Italy in 2007 - there used to be a couple of UK dealers who would buy any off the docks that looked like likely riding prospects and sell them to mugs people like me at vastly inflated prices, given the issues a lot of these "reject" horses had. The meat boat trade got stopped a year or two later, before that SA used to send about 1500 rejects per year over via horrible sea freight for the Italian meat markets. Some died, lots were injured enroute. Reject could just mean not meeting the (very strict) criollo breed standard, or it could mean old or otherwise knackered.
My first boy Pato turned out to be much older than billed, and had/has a multitude of issues and old scars and injuries - he's barely been sound since I bought him and he's been retired for years now. A terrible shame, because he's incredibly clever, incredibly brave, amazingly responsive to the slightest change of weight or pressure - riding him truly felt like being a centaur, he actually felt like a part of my body when he was going well. I don't think he ever spooked once, even the most terrifying new things he'd just freeze, stare, advance, stare some more, advance a bit more..and then go right up to for a sniff and a sneer - "Ah. Ok. Whatever." We once got charged by a herd of bullocks, and I felt him drop down and start to work them like a cutting horse, honestly, you could feel him thinking and watching them and reacting to them, wanting to work them.

He could also be very..opinionated...which is a big breed characteristic. I learned early on to work with him not against him. Fights could get ugly quickly, but if I allowed some autonomy, he was a true and brave partner. I think his scars come from endless beatings and fights with the gauchos - he would never have submitted to them willingly, and he is still a very tricky character to handle - he'll try to bite, kick, rear if you are trying to "do" something to him he doesn't agree with. He is the definition of "quirky." But he tolerates me, and as a companion to Tuga he's perfect because he's not bothered if he's left alone, he's pretty feral, unrugged, barefoot...very easy to deal with. He's probably in his late 20s now.

Tuga is a less typical criollo. He's not a fighter, in fact he's a great big nelly, and very compliant (hence there's not a mark on him). I bought him a year after Pat as a short lived share with a friend who soon lost interest so I bought her out - he was for sale locally but turned out to have come on the same transport in '07. He was very, very green, and used to self harm quite badly if asked to do anything outside his comfort zone, which most things were. He'd tear at his forelegs with his teeth, poor poor boy. It took a lot of work and patience and slow slow incremental work to get his confidence to the point it is now. These days he's very solid, but he's still capable of big spooks at stupid things. Solid as a rock in all traffic, he will jump out of his skin at a shiny leaf or a clump of flowers alongside a path. I can't remember the last time he self harmed. He has never, ever made any move to kick or bite, he is a vet's dream because he will stand like a rock for any treatment or investigation. He's been my TREC horse since 2013, travelling all over and doing pretty damn well nationally over the last few years at Levels 1 and 2.

I love both of these very different horses, and despite all the struggles and massively steep learning curve (first time owner with Pat, returning to riding after 30 years, doh!) they have sold themselves as a breed over the last dozen or so years. I really can't imagine having another breed tbh. They just..know how to look after themselves, and how to be horses. (What I mean by that I think comes from the fact that they will have been foaled in a herd and probably run with the herd unhandled until they were caught and broken as working horses at 3 or so, so they were truly wild horses growing up). They are known as one-person horses, which I would say Pat definitely is, Tuga less so. They are amazing riding horses. If they were a dog they'd be a working collie.
Can you tell I'm a fan, lol?
 

Circe2

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20 June 2020
Messages
105
Thank you! They really are a singular breed. There are a lot of criollo crosses in the UK playing polo, but not so many pure-breeds. My two both came over on the meat boat from Buenos Aires to Italy in 2007 - there used to be a couple of UK dealers who would buy any off the docks that looked like likely riding prospects and sell them to mugs people like me at vastly inflated prices, given the issues a lot of these "reject" horses had. The meat boat trade got stopped a year or two later, before that SA used to send about 1500 rejects per year over via horrible sea freight for the Italian meat markets. Some died, lots were injured enroute. Reject could just mean not meeting the (very strict) criollo breed standard, or it could mean old or otherwise knackered.
My first boy Pato turned out to be much older than billed, and had/has a multitude of issues and old scars and injuries - he's barely been sound since I bought him and he's been retired for years now. A terrible shame, because he's incredibly clever, incredibly brave, amazingly responsive to the slightest change of weight or pressure - riding him truly felt like being a centaur, he actually felt like a part of my body when he was going well. I don't think he ever spooked once, even the most terrifying new things he'd just freeze, stare, advance, stare some more, advance a bit more..and then go right up to for a sniff and a sneer - "Ah. Ok. Whatever." We once got charged by a herd of bullocks, and I felt him drop down and start to work them like a cutting horse, honestly, you could feel him thinking and watching them and reacting to them, wanting to work them.

He could also be very..opinionated...which is a big breed characteristic. I learned early on to work with him not against him. Fights could get ugly quickly, but if I allowed some autonomy, he was a true and brave partner. I think his scars come from endless beatings and fights with the gauchos - he would never have submitted to them willingly, and he is still a very tricky character to handle - he'll try to bite, kick, rear if you are trying to "do" something to him he doesn't agree with. He is the definition of "quirky." But he tolerates me, and as a companion to Tuga he's perfect because he's not bothered if he's left alone, he's pretty feral, unrugged, barefoot...very easy to deal with. He's probably in his late 20s now.

Tuga is a less typical criollo. He's not a fighter, in fact he's a great big nelly, and very compliant (hence there's not a mark on him). I bought him a year after Pat as a short lived share with a friend who soon lost interest so I bought her out - he was for sale locally but turned out to have come on the same transport in '07. He was very, very green, and used to self harm quite badly if asked to do anything outside his comfort zone, which most things were. He'd tear at his forelegs with his teeth, poor poor boy. It took a lot of work and patience and slow slow incremental work to get his confidence to the point it is now. These days he's very solid, but he's still capable of big spooks at stupid things. Solid as a rock in all traffic, he will jump out of his skin at a shiny leaf or a clump of flowers alongside a path. I can't remember the last time he self harmed. He has never, ever made any move to kick or bite, he is a vet's dream because he will stand like a rock for any treatment or investigation. He's been my TREC horse since 2013, travelling all over and doing pretty damn well nationally over the last few years at Levels 1 and 2.

I love both of these very different horses, and despite all the struggles and massively steep learning curve (first time owner with Pat, returning to riding after 30 years, doh!) they have sold themselves as a breed over the last dozen or so years. I really can't imagine having another breed tbh. They just..know how to look after themselves, and how to be horses. (What I mean by that I think comes from the fact that they will have been foaled in a herd and probably run with the herd unhandled until they were caught and broken as working horses at 3 or so, so they were truly wild horses growing up). They are known as one-person horses, which I would say Pat definitely is, Tuga less so. They are amazing riding horses. If they were a dog they'd be a working collie.
Can you tell I'm a fan, lol?
As you should be!

They both sound incredible and rather eccentric, like all the best horses are. A relief neither of them ended up in a sarnie! What a waste that would’ve been. I had no idea Italy imported meat horses from that far afield (makes sense that it’s now been banned) - I thought it was mostly European horses going down that sad path, plus the heavier breeds they breed for meat locally (like Italian heavy horses, which are beautiful, and it hurts my heart just a tad). I suppose the explanation is that these working horses haven’t been given medication/supplements to the same extent as a lot of our European horses have.

I’m a bit familiar with Criollos in general, having played a fair bit of polo and also took some time out to do some cattle droving in Argentina, in my younger years. Unfortunately, I find that the U.K. polo ponies have too much thoroughbred in them (often pure TB, just small) - obviously a perk on the field, but nothing like the sturdier but more dependable crosses you find in SA. I instantly fell in love with the criollos there - not “easy” animals, but like you said, working animals - intelligent, no-faff, driven. I wish I could’ve brought them all back home with me!

That said, my ISH x KWPN does have some of those characteristics, which is why I love him - he’s stubborn, very safe, not at all silly, but also very eccentric/keen to show you how he likes things done. He doesn’t overreact, but will show you exactly how he feels about something - I’m convinced it’s the ID in him. Unfortunately the TB side is probably what would make him try to wriggle out of a ditch like a cat in a bag..
 

Pinkvboots

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Sounds scary and I am glad your horse is ok it really could have been a lot worse, I went to look at an Arab colt Near Norfolk some years back and they had a Criollo horse there daughter did endurance with him.
 

Quigleyandme

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8 March 2018
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Just caught up with this post and my breathing has just about returned to normal. You are so right about the importance of checking them. There have been times when I’ve been tempted not to bother with the end of day checks but then I get the what ifs.
 

Baywonder

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26 November 2018
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1,331
Actually, this reminds me of an incident with my old boy.

It was winter, and one evening I went to his field to bring him in for the night. As I neared the gate I called him. Nothing. Called again. Still nothing. As my lad nearly always came to call, I thought it was a bit strange, but I assumed he was at the very far side of the field and had chosen to ignore me couldn't hear me.

I started walking across the field, still calling his name, when in the darkness I spotted him standing there, just looking at me. As I got closer to him, I realised his (canvas) NZ rug straps had broken, and the whole rug had worked forward and was hanging down in front of him like a big bib! Every time he tried to move, he just stood on the rug, so being the sensible sort he was, he just decided to stay there until I found him!

He wasn't hurt at all, and I am just thankful he didn't panic and go flying around the field!
 
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