When I was a young teen and knew no better, I walked right up behind a mare and she kicked me in the chest - hard enough to leave a hoof print on my shirt. I stood in the corral for a few minutes with the wind knocked out of me, not truly cognizant of the fact I had been inches away from broken ribs or a severe head injury. But it truly scared me, and I learned my lesson (the hard way) never to walk up behind a horse without speaking to it, and never from directly behind, in the horse's blind spot.
Now, when I'm teaching young people proper manners around horses (don't run and no sudden movements, keep your voices calm and steady, stay in close with your hand on their rump when you walk behind them, these are large animals and they can hurt you) I sound like a stern old fraidy-cat. In fact, my daughter used to chide me, "Mom, you have too many rules." But anyone who has been around horses for very long will get hurt at some point, and the rules come from not wishing those wrecks on other people.
But even after many years around horses, some of us who do know the rules make tiny mistakes that often cause a wreck, or a near-wreck. You know, those moments when you think - Man, that could have been bad.
When I was in my twenties, and I'd had horses for a long time at this point, I was holding my saddled mare outside on the lawn. I needed to run inside for a moment (just a moment, right?) to grab something. I've long since forgotten what it was that was so important, but there was no good place to tie my mare. (Yes, we all know the rules, right?) Always tie to something sturdy that the horse can't break, always tie high enough they can't get a leg over it, always tie short . . . well, knowing all this, and knowing that young women can be in a hurry to go riding, and knowing I had a good mare that never panicked, I tied her (just momentarily mind you) to the ring on the propane tank!
Of course I wasn't worried, because this was a good mare that never did anything wrong, so when I came back out with whatever it is that I grabbed, the mare had taken two steps backward and the propane tank was moving! I cannot tell you how many bad movie scenarios played through my mind in the next few seconds. All I know is that I walked quickly (with no sudden movements LOL) over to my mare, mumbling every soothing word I knew and quickly untied her. Whew! Disaster averted. Then I hit myself up the side of the head about seventeen thousand times, saying Stupid, stupid stupid! What was I thinking?? Well, obviously, I wasn't.
Fast forward many years later - to the present. Lots of caution used, many wrecks avoided, and now I have two sweet, charming donkeys in my barnyard, who never do anything wrong. On a pouring rain day (and I mean pouring buckets) I decide to brush the little darlings in their large stall. While I'm in there, I decide to dust them for lice. The lice powder is outside on a shelf in the aisleway. I go out the gate, close it briefly behind me, but I don't chain it because I am only five steps away from the shelf with the lice powder. (Are you catching my drift?) In those five steps, Mr. Big (named for his attitude, not his size) decides he is bored from the long days of rainy weather, and he should push open the gate and run outside. And he does!! (The little stinker.) Well, of course he's only going to go eat grass at the edge of the driveway, so I close and chain the stall door (so Mr. Chocolate won't get out) grab a halter off the peg, and walk out in the rain to catch sweet Mr. Big. No problem - not a big deal, right? Donkeys, like horses, are herd animals, and Mr. Big will not leave his buddy, Mr. Chocolate.
But Mr. Big decides he is really bored, and will dart down the driveway to see what is there. And what is there is a busy road where people drive 50 miles an hour. I madly dash through the rain back into the house, grab my car keys and prepare to follow Mr. Big up the road, and perhaps cut him off at the proverbial pass. But Mr. Big, thank God, decides it's too big a world out there and comes rushing back on his own. He trots right past me, going back up the drive-way, and I quick-like park my rig sideways, jump out and flail my arms at him. (At this point I am sopping wet, and I'm calling him a few choice names, also.)
Mr. Big allowed me to catch him after about ten minutes. I do not want to to say how wet we both are, or how big of a wreck that could have been, or what a squished donkey on the road out front might have looked like. I was so mad at Mr. Big I almost forgot to think - Why hadn't I latched the %$#*& gate?? But I DO NOT walk through that gate anymore without latching it behind me.
Ever had any Blunders, Wrecks, or Near-Wrecks that were actually Your Fault??