In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him – Part 2


Why TLH was in Radio Silence for four days (sorry);

  1. Hudson is fine.
  2. I’m fine.
  3. We need some backstory. Bear with me?

One of the best things my mother ever told me:

A person’s worst qualities are usually their best qualities, magnified.

She said, “It’ll help you understand people. And forgive them.” Pause. She couldn’t resist adding: “And Jane? It’ll help you figure out your own annoying qualities.”

Thanks, Mom.

(i.e.   You might appreciate a person’s expression of gratitude for showing her how to use a button on her cell phone, but want to strangle her the next day when you receive your third thank you call, thank you text, and thank you note shoved through the mail slot.  It might make you wonder: “Geeze, is THIS what she expects ME to do if I ask her to move a blanket for me when my arms are full??” FYI: No. Wouldn’t even cross my mind.)

Drive-by Day was one of Hudson’s best qualities magnified.

Hudson has Super-Hero hearing.  He can hear a butterfly land on a cherry blossom in Japan, while chewing in a moving trailer. His hearing has alerted me to many a potential ‘situation’, and we’ve avoided disaster.

Loud, unfamiliar, noise is the only thing I know of that scares him. He’s smart, and learned to dismiss his fear when he’s figured out what it is.  I can ride him next to a working backhoe, bucket lifted, with dirt shaking out. He knows what noises to expect.

As we know, Hudson has a Death-Penalty-Is-Too-Good-For-Them hatred of weed whackers. But he’s not afraid of them.

The day before The Big Melt Down, I rode him on the access road, between 2 weed whackers. On the buckle. Granted his lip was curled, and one eye cocked at me in disdain, but we walked right through.

He’s SO good.

I still wasn’t  worried when he knocked the trash over. Dumping trash is Hudson-speak for come now.  Problem: things that are urgent to him might not be urgent to me. His entitlement to post-ride cookies, for instance.

I rolled my eyes when I realized he was alerting me to weed whackers. I look at him.  He’s not afraid. He just hates them. But he doesn’t knock over the trash often. So I pay attention. While shoveling...ewwwww…what WAS that….back into the trash can.

Whackers are coming closer. I look at him.  Still good.  Not afraid.

Suddenly, it was just as Hudson described:

KaPOW, Zing….POP pop pop pop pop

It sounded exactly like rapid gun fire.

I unsnapped him before he had a chance to do much…except grow a hundred feet tall and find his inner stallion.

Apparently, the nylon line from the weed whackers was catching the small drainage pebbles under the edge of the barn, and ricocheting them against the wall and off the tin roof.

Hudson was Out. Of. His. Mind.

I didn’t want to kill him because he was afraid.  I wanted to kill him because I was afraid FOR him. Shed row style barn = lower ceilings.  He’s a tall horse. Correction. He was a tall rearing horse.

Thank God I’d once owned an OTTB with only 90 days of retraining.  When Hudson went up, I knew to yank him down sideways, so when he went up again, he’d miss splitting his head open on the support beam.  Most of his rearing and spinning was on the rubber mats. But the only exit was the cement barn aisle. I did not want a rearing, spinning, bolting horse scrambling on cement.

Solution? I tried to make him walk (and feel less trapped) by spiraling us forward. Fine on dirt, not fine on cement. Instant scrambling. Sparks from his shoes striking. SO not a teachable moment.  (No moment is “teachable” when the horse is out of their mind.)

I got us pointed toward the exit, and let Hudson haul me down the aisle. It’s true.  I was acting as a drag, and waterskiing!  But it kept him from going faster than a trot, and he didn’t go down.

If you ever come across a lead rope with panic snap (hard to find) BUY IT. It’s the first thing I searched for when I got Hudson, despite his Least Likely To Need It status. I believe it saved him.

He was completely unharmed, which is a major miracle. Once he calmed down, I worked him out lightly, to get the acid moving out of his muscles and prevent soreness. Gave him some Bute, in case. (Horse Aspirin, for the non-horsey)

The next day: misery. All the muscle micro-shifts of a panicked horse, plus balancing in terror on a slippery surface, and acting as a Formula One speed boat for me, left him so stiff and achey that walking was ouchy. Even with a complete rub down.  I got off and ponied him instead (Thanks, Dinero!).  He’s needed Bute, hand walking or ponying, rest, and massage for many days to get back to normal.

I’ve need lots of little paper umbrellas to get back to normal. And neck massages.  Who knew waterskiing was so hard on your neck?

15 thoughts on “In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him – Part 2

  1. Poor Hudson, I’m glad he survived his ordeal or the drive by shooting. There ought to be law that anyone with a weed whacker needs to check the barn first to find out what damage they can cause. Happened to me once when I was in the stall wrapping Eric’s legs. Idiot started whacking right outside his window on the back barn wall. Glad you both survived the trauma of the pebbles and hope you’re both getting massages.

  2. Panicked horse, tiny space, cement aisle, low ceilings? Yeah you are a fantastic horsewoman for making sure that neither of you were hurt. Despite his panic state, Hudson trusts you, which I am sure helped a lot too. Hope he’s feeling back to his old self by now. Poor guy.

    1. I can report, as of yesterday afternoon, Hudson was not only back to his normal Let’s-GO-Already self, but tossing his mane, prancing in what would be a piaffe were it not bareback, and flirting with Ginger, the mare we were riding with! Laurie and I cracked up. He’s showing off, Ginger is pinning her ears. True love.

  3. all I can say is that was a major ‘oh crap, this ain’t gonna end well’ that somehow did end well. At least – if you count nothing broken or bleeding. I know Hudson is receiving an extra rub or two, but sneek another in for me, please.
    As for yourself, in addition to neck massage, go for one or two full body massages, they will help the neck muscles stay relaxed, and that is vital to getting full benefit. As for the many tiny umbrellas? Old grape juice is a good cure, as are ice cubes with some nice unadulterated adult liquids.

  4. So glad you are both okay! I had one of those landscaping moments last year with Freedom when someone dumped a loader full of pea gravel right outside the barn while I had him on cross ties. I wasn’t aware, until then, that he could piaffe. He was on velcro x-ties and could have bolted but he was trying to be good. Of course, I couldn’t get them to stop dumping the gravel because they couldn’t hear me!

    1. My ears pricked up…velcro cross ties? That’s new to me. I’ll be digging through my horse supply catalogues. Good boy, Freedom! He turned lemons into lemonade. (Piaffe!)

      That’s the problem with noise induced terrors – you can’t yell at people to stop – because they can’t hear you. 😦

  5. And now let’s talk about someone who wouldn’t INSTANTLY jerk the weedwhacker away (and release the powerswitch) when the FIRST pebble hit — a BARN? With PREY animals in it?

    Glad neither of you were seriously injured.

    1. Therein lies one of those unforeseen issues: it seems perfectly acceptable to hire gardeners to work around the property when all the horses are contained. If you are not someone who usually weed whacks or mows, you might not realize that stuff gets thrown up.

      Of course, that is why I turned around and marched out into the “gunfire”. To make it stop! LOL. (No way could they have heard me shouting, and it would have undone Hudson even more, if I’d tried.)

      I think it’s such a no-brainer for us, that we can’t even go there, to remember it’s not a no-brainer for a non-horse person. And, surprisingly, in a barn full of horses in stalls, Hudson was the only one who freaked out. Of course, with a tin roof, stalled horses are used to hail hitting and making an awful racket?
      And thanks 🙂
      I’m glad too!

  6. wow scary! its so terrifying to be near a humongous animal that is panicking at that level! especially when you are desperate to prevent injury to him AND you! nice save : )

    1. Even when Hudson had completely lost his head, I have to say, he never once tried to run me over. It’s so deeply ingrained in him, that, thankfully, I don’t think it crossed his mind. Years of consistent messages and good training by Bella really helped.

      Lily called me from the barn later in the day, worried: “What happened down here? There’s black skid marks and hoof prints all over the rubber mats next to your tack room! Did a horse go down?”

      Thank God, no. 🙂

      1. I’m seriously thinking there must be some way to test when purchasing a horse if they are that type, who even with their mind completely blown will not hurt you. My guy is the same way, and it’s definitely a priceless trait!

        (Read: OMG there’s a huge fire across the street, we can feel the heat, and there are flames in sight. Must keep Mom safe from it!)

  7. Wow – that sure was scary! So glad neither of you was hurt and sorry for the aches. I hate all types of motorized lawn care equipment for exactly these reasons. And this morning on the trail, there was the guy on his bike, riding way too fast, with horribly squeaky brakes – Pie didn’t think much of that but we both survived.

    1. Glad you survived! Bikes and horses on the same trail can create very dicey situations all around. When everyone is considerate, it works well.

      Yeah, we’re okay with normal noises, but throwing stuff? Not so much!

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