So the time came and I saddled up Spirit on Wednesday afternoon. We had a mild break in the weather. I decided to ride in the arena with the trainer at Bar W who was working with a young and skittish mare.
I had just closed the large overhead door behind me and was preparing to mount when.... I heard the most God awful inhuman noise ever. It was a cross between screaming, yowling, yelling and absolute terror!I pulled the reins back over his ears so I could hold Spirit, and looked around for the source of the noise. His eyes were big and his head was high. I looked behind me and saw the barn cat, Barney, attempting to scale the overhead door which was now in motion.
I don't know where he came from, but evidently he signaled the sensor and the door had reversed, and was now going up... and up... above my head, with him hanging by his paws which were now pinched in the door!
My instinct was to reach out and support him until help could come. I had one hand on the cat, one hand holding the reins. Spirit was so good to stand there without panicking. It could have been worse had he reared or turned and ran, as my attention was on the screaming and biting wildcat at the end of my left hand, and not on my horse.
The poor kitty went crazy with fear and I had to let go of Spirit so I could help the cat. He stood there for a moment, then turned neatly and trotted over to the other horse. The poor young mare totally freaked when all of the noise started, and ran through the mounting block, pulverizing it but luckily not getting hurt. Fortunately the trainer hadn't mounted yet, as she was a whirling dervish! By this point Spirit figured it was just another day in the neighborhood. What a gem of a horse. As I licked my wounds and headed for the hospital, Wendy had to deal with the young mare who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the end of the arena (and the exit) where all the commotion came from. She used Spirit to "pony" her out. What a champ, he walked right under that door like crazed things hanging from the roof are just another obstacle to go through.
We got the cat free. He had a swollen paw and was quite ashamed for a day or too, but doesn't appear to have serious damage. I on the other hand, spent the next four days back and forth to the hospital for intravenous IV in my "good" right hand (only scratched and a shallow bite on one finger) to treat the infection in the deep bite between my knuckles on my left. As of today, six days later, I am out of the sling, I have no more IV tube, and I can see my hand resembling a normal form again. Still can't lift or make a fist, but it's on the mend!
This is one desensitizing lesson I strongly encourage you NOT to try at home!