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Challenges continue for Kim Stone at Alvord Ranch

Published: 5/19/2010
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By Kim Stone

I was on Cloud Nine with Indy!
I felt as though I was living the dream, my dream. Indy seemed to love what she was doing, and I loved doing it with her.
The following morning I caught Indy again. We would be moving another herd of cattle, this time we would  gather them from three different fields and head them into another. Indy and I were sent off on our own, since she could travel quickly for long distances without tiring.
I had so much fun with her! She covered the ground like she was born to do it. We gathered all the cattle and their calves and began heading toward the fence opening.
Jennifer gave me further instruction to take the lead and head for the rock jack at the far corner of the field. Indy went without question, I turned to look back and the calves were scattering like bunny rabbits!
Oh no!!
Jennifer said just keep going with the cows to the far corner. When I got there I didn’t know what to do with them. I just kept trotting Indy back and forth trying to keep the cows together. What to do, what to do….

I saw Martin trotting towards motioning me to meet him.. Uh, oh……I began telling Indy that I thought we might be getting ourselves into trouble, so I began to prepare myself for further instruction on how to fix the mess that Indy and I had created.
Martin had a big smile on his face…..what a relief. He said we were doing fine, just go open the gate and let them through. Indy was so awesome! I had falling even more in love with this amazing mare!

My throat was on fire, my head pounding, my voice gone! I think I had lost it sometime during the sand storm. I couldn’t even whisper. I decided that maybe I ought to try and catch a quick nap before we started working with the colts later today. Maybe I would feel better, except the blacksmith was coming to put shoes on Shinan.
Martin said to go rest and he would oversee the shoeing. I must’ve fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Someone was knocking on my door, in a fog I said come in, it was Martin.
He said there’s been an accident. Your mare went through the fence. She’s okay, I just wanted you to know. I will take care of her. You don’t need to come out.
Trying to wake myself up, I asked which mare, he said the one you were riding this morning. I was out the door as quick as flash. I was in no way prepared for what I was about to see.
Indy’s chest was hanging open. There was a huge gash on her left thigh, and her left foot looked detached when she tried to walk. There was blood everywhere.
Jen told me that they had already called the vet. He was on his way. I wanted to ask questions, but I couldn’t. My vocal chords weren’t working. My throat was so choked that I couldn’t even whisper.
How could this have happened?

Indy was tied to the gate as people were trying to stand her still to hose her off and see how much damage was done.
I felt sick.
I hadn’t even been here three days and my mare was badly hurt.
What was I thinking?
Whatever possessed me to think I could fit into the cowboy world?
I was quickly distracted when Heidi said, "Kim, they are starting the colts in a few minutes. Will you be bringing Phantom in?"
I nodded that I would.
The vet had Indy sedated. He was sewing her back together. Jennifer was wrapping her leg and told me there was nothing more that we could do.
It would become a waiting game to know if she would heal.
I was in a daze.
I watched as Martin worked with Phantom in the round corral. She was difficult and unwilling. He had roped a hind foot to try and help her sort out her lack of confidence. She was protesting loudly. I couldn’t watch any longer.
I needed to get some air – get some air. Here I was at the Alvord Ranch in the middle of a desert and I needed air.
I don’t know of a place where I could’ve gotten much more air than that.
Ranch life is not for the faint of heart. This is a rugged place. The strong survive. East Coast horses in the Western world: oil and water.

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5/19/2010 Sally Canney
Please keep us posted on how your horse is doing.
5/19/2010 MaryAnn
Hey Kim, I was so happy to see Indy at Martin Black's NH clinic, healthy and active as ever!
5/20/2010 Sharon
You and Indy are in my prayers. When things settle down, please let me know how she is. Keep your chin up and ask for God's help in the healing of your wonderful horse. Love you.
5/20/2010 Gena McGrath
Speedy healing.
5/23/2010 Susan
This is an excellent opportunity to educate people about safe and unsafe fencing for equines.
6/5/2010 Arlene Walker
Hope your horse will come through it all what a great adventure to go wrong.
4/28/2013 Peg McCreery
I spent a month at the Alvord, and yes, it isn't for the faint of heart. While there, another riders horse had her chest ripped open. My horse contracted strangles, because there was a huge outbreak through the young ranch horses that no one was told about. The mare that was shipped there was supposed to be vaccinated upon arrival, she was being shipped from Canada and started by martin, they hadn't vaccinated her even though there was plenty of vaccine in the walk in fridge. The first day, the VERY first day we were told we would be herding the bulls in. I feel fortunate to be alive considering I was there to LEARN about these things, not to do them upon arrival.. Very primitive care for horses, surprised I made the month considering I lost the top of a finger. And here's the big BUT.. was I unhappy about spending a large sum of money for the time there.. No, it was a once in a lifetime experience, and the primitive nature of the whole experience was pretty amazing, something about that place that drew me to it. I went with my nephew who was going through a very tough time after the loss of his mother to cancer. He left a different person, a huge growth experience for him that did not go without it's lumps. My horses made it unscathed except for the strangles..and I feel fortunate that is all they got. They called my horses the town horses, they didn't want to leave the barnyard with the others ( 50+) horses. My brother and husband also came for a week, they had great experiences, they still talk about it..

"Those who look down eventually get there" - Kip Rosenthal