Monday, March 16, 2009

It's A HORSE, Stupid!

A big, strong, hair-trigger prey animal. Not a statue, not a stuffed toy, not an animated Disney character.

A two-year-old girl was kicked in the face by a horse at the Nebraska Horse Expo in Lincoln on Saturday.

Lincoln police are trying to find the horse's owner.

Okay, that might be useful information for completing the accident report, but just how else could it possibly be relevant?

Oh wait, the parents want to sue the horse owner.

In the comments following the article, someone posting as "Showmom" reports:
"The fact IS that there were workers at the doors trying to get people to go through another door that would allow them to get to the other barn withOUT going through the area where the exhibition horses were gathering. People were not being forced to go through that area... in fact there were some spectators who actually got physical with the door-people for telling them they COULDN'T go that way."
Based on over 45 years' experience with horses, primarily Thoroughbreds as racehorses, hunters, jumpers, and eventers, I have to place the responsibility for this accident squarely on the child's caretakers. I don't allow children around my horses, period. My horses aren't schoolies, they're not bombproof, they're not pushbutton, they're not deadheads. I don't care if the children are flippin' Maclay winners, I don't need the potential liability. People who are generous enough to volunteer their horses for a Horse Expo don't need it either. I've been to a few previous Nebraska Horse Expo events, and the staff members have always been very conscious of safety for the spectators, who are expected to be ignorant of proper behavior around horses.

I have an EvilPony™ who, unfortunately for me, is small and cute. That does NOT mean he's safe for children. I have repeatedly had to explain to idiots that, NO, I will NOT let them borrow/lease/buy Milton for their one-/two-/six-year-old or whatever offspring. The barn owner where he is boarded has a policy backed up by signed contracts that NOBODY is to mess with another boarder's horses, and neither the barn nor the horse owner is liable if somebody does and gets hurt. He also has policies regarding small children, and parents have to sign a contract stipulating exactly who is responsible if they are stupid enough to bring little kids around big horses and one gets hurt.

The parents are.

But accepting responsibility for one's behavior is not often seen these days. It's not the parents' fault the child got kicked. It's the horse's fault, the horse owner's fault, the event organizer's fault.

Everyone's fault except the people who brought the kid to the event, took her in close proximity to horses, didn't pick her up to get her away from steel-shod hooves, and didn't put themselves between big, nervous animals and their precious daughter.

Kind of like people who blame the guns and the law-abiding gun owners instead of the criminals for violent crime.


Laura said...

that poor child.

i pity her for her injuries, the inevitable terror she will forever associate with those big beauties, and her useless parents who evidently cannot take responsibility for themselves and their child.

Hecate said...

Today they're saying on the news that it was a miniature horse. Fortunately minis are typically left barefoot. There's a huge difference in the damage done by a shod versus unshod hoof.

Even a small mini is still a 400-500 pound critter. Milton is 36" tall and weighs in at about 600.

Supposedly the parents or whoever brought the child to the event asked if she could pet it. So they went out of their way to approach the animal. And you don't pet horses from behind.

The girl's aunt claims the family is experienced with horses. Doesn't mean it's GOOD experience.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

My experience with horses is limited to 2 days at the High Knoll scout camp in Virginia about 15 years ago, and even I know better than to approach a horse from behind (it's the very first thing we were taught). I seriously doubt that any owner/handler/trainer/etc., if they did give permission for a child to pet the horse, would allow that child to even get near a position to get kicked.

Either someone who had no business doing so gave 'permission', or they're lying through their teeth. I'm guessing it's the latter.

Anonymous said...

I one time made a living retraining spoiled saddle horses. All kinds of stupid human stories come to mind. Folks USED to know not to "frighten the horses in the street."

Now-a-days, folks seem to expect nothing bad can ever happen to them, because they're entitled - to what, they have no clue. And then the real world intrudes.

Just remember, in social interaction: Be polite, be professional, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

DouginSalcha said...

I know very little about horses; I've been one one maybe twice in my 60 years. I do, however, remember my Mother saying whenever we entered a store, "don't touch!"

That's a problem today. I do occasionally overhear a Dad or Mom utter the same instruction, "Don't touch!" but more often I watch as children pick and poke and play with everything on the display stand while their Mom ignores them to concentrate on whether the items being rung up are being rung up at the correct price.

There are some good and attentive parents now days but there are a lot who've abrogated their parental responsibilities as well.

Good post (and, I think, largely accurate)...

Hecate said...

From a comment on the Lincoln (NE) Journal-Star's article about the incident:

"We showed at the Event Center. London didn't get kicked by a miniature horse, she got kicked by a mule. London got kicked as a result of walking up behind and grabbing the back leg of the mule. Two nurses involved in the show immediately approached and tried to help London and the family told them to get away."

But the family still wants to sue the owner.

Mom is 18 years old and the child is two. Do the math.