Horses with Broken Legs

Raffles ~ Broken Leg

Raffles broke his leg at 23 years of age!

James Dean had a very keen personal interest in Skowronek's son, Raffles, for he and Mrs. Dean never left the little horse's side for 16 long weeks when the game old stud lay in a sling with a broken hind leg in January 1949. They nursed him through colic, cramps and skin eruptions as he stood helpless. They watched him waste away from top condition to emaciation, and waited fearfully when the cast was finally removed. So it's understandable that they visit the Payne's at every opportunity, correspond regularly regarding Raffles condition, and were happy that he staged a comeback and had such a good home.

"He has the greatest stamina and recuperative powers of any horse I've ever seen," said Dean when he visited at the Payne ranch. "And look at the beautiful, wide head, the deep jaw and that gay way about him, his long forearm and broad back. No wonder he has ability to sire horses with tremendous quarters."

Dean was frankly unabashed at claiming Raffles is one of modern horsedom's greatest personalities.

An insatiable desire to develop such bloodlines led Mrs Payne (Oct. 1949) to buy the ailing old stallion Raffles, with no assurance that a broken leg had properly knitted or that he was in breeding condition . Despite his extreme age and highly questionable virility, Raffles immediately interested Mrs. Payne when she heard he was to go on the block in a dispersal sale. She flew from California to the Roger A. Selby stud at Portsmouth, Ohio, to see him, bought him at competitive bidding and chartered an express car to bring him home. Today she feels repaid a thousand fold, for Raffles continued breeding sound and was feeling fine after his ordeal.

Info from - (

(On my horses ~ Tony, Jamaal El Shai, Con and Fizz's and Pedigree)

Raffles at 24 years of age
Looks like he healed OK

Everyone has heard that age old saying that ~

"If a horse breaks his leg then he must be shot."

This statement has never been the only alternative for all broken legs. Here are a few stories about horses who have broken their legs, most of whom are famous stallions. I have also included other serious injuries such as broken hips, dislocated hocks, and even a donkey with an artificial leg!. I have more stories and photos of others who have broken legs that I will be adding.
It is true in this throw away society it is probably much cheaper to just put them down and get a new horse, or as I have even heard send them to the killers and have a little money for the next one but I would never even consider not at least trying to do whatever I can for my companions. Of course there is the strong possibility that they will never be completely sound or even usable. Chances are they will not be usable for at least a year. Paying board on a horse for that long without being able to use them is not an economically sound idea if it (the horse) is just an IT to you. But if your horse is part of your life and your good friend........

Ranger ~ Broke 3 Legs!

In 1766!

Ranger, later known as Lindsay's Arabian
was shipped on board a British frigate, the captain in sympathy for the horse
allowed him to range for exercise while they were docked at a port in a large but enclosed lumber yard.
In a spirit of playfulness the horse ascended one of the piles of lumber and fell, breaking 3 of his legs.

Prior to the Revolution there was in Connecticut a noted imported horse called Ranger, later known as Lindsay's Arabian, that was brought to the colony in 1766, when four years old. He is described as a light grey or white horse, of the most perfect form and symmetry, above 15 hands high, possessing high and gallant temper, which gave him a lofty and commanding carriage and appearance.
The history of this horse is interesting. He was presented by the Emperor of Morocco to the commander of a British frigate for some important service rendered by the latter to the son of the emperor, whose stables contained some of the finest blooded horses from the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian desert. The horse was shipped on board the frigate with the expectation of obtaining a great price for him if safely landed in England. For some reason the vessel crossed to the West Indies on the way home, where, being obligated to remain for some time, the captain in sympathy for the horse allowed him to range for exercise in a large but enclosed lumber yard. In a spirit of playfulness the horse ascended one of the piles of lumber and fell, breaking three of his legs.

Veterinary science and surgery was not perfected to any extent at that time and even today it is almost the universal practice to put to death a horse that has the misfortune to break one leg, much less three. In the same harbor, however, at the time there happened to be an old acquaintance of the British captain from New England to whom the horse was offered as an animal of inestimable value, if he could be cured. The Yankee captain's boyhood training in economy and frugality would not permit him to see the horse destroyed without an attempt to save his life. He accepted the gift of the horse and brought him on board his New England vessel. He had him secured in canvas belt slings and very carefully set and bound his broken legs. The horse was finally landed in Connecticut, his young bones having knitted satisfactorily during the slow voyage northward on the sailing vessel.

General George Washington had his attention attracted to the superiority of the horses ridden by the Connecticut cavalry when he took command of the Continental Army at Boston, 1777-1778. Calling General Harry Lee (Light Horse Harry Lee) of the American cavalry into conference, he found that these horses were the sons and the daughters of Ranger. Captain Lindsay was there upon sent to Connecticut to purchase Ranger, and the horse which survived three broken legs was taken to Virginia where he was afterward known as the Lindsay Arabian. General Washington, in the meantime, obtained one of the stallion's fine sons for his personal mount.

The horse that General Israel Putnam rode when he galloped down a hundred steps at Greenwich, Conn., to escape the British, was a full brother to Washington's charger. The artist's conception of Putnam's daring exploit is found to this day in most school histories of the founding of the United States.

As Washington was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed more than two hundred pounds it is evident that the famous charger, (half Arabian), son of Ranger (Lindsay's Arabian), must have been a weight-carrier. After the revolution, General Washington directed that the services of Lindsay's Arabian be extensively used on his blooded mares at Mount Vernon. The four famous grey stallions that drew Martha Washington's coach to Philadelphia, the first capital, when congress convened, were bred on the Washington plantation and were half-bred Arabian sons of Lindsay's Arabian.

Info from: - ( )

Hanad ~ Broken Leg

In 1946 Hanad, at the age of 24, found his last owner. John and Alice Payne drove to Texas to buy Hanad and bring him to their ranch in Whittier, Calif. They found that he had sustained a broken front leg at some point during his Texas sojourn. To buy him Alice Payne had to exercise her full powers of persuasion, but in the end she was successful.

Hanad was quite old by this time, having very few stud seasons left to him. Despite the handicap of age, he managed to sire as many foals during his second stay in California as he had during his first.

Hanad and *Nuri Pasha are the oldest animals with progeny in Volume VII of the studbook, yet *Nuri Pasha has only one foal to Hanad's 13. Hanad was not immune to time, but he still managed to impress those who saw him. Following is Mrs. Milton V. Thompson's account of Hanad in old age:
"We traveled 5,000 miles to see old Hanad, *Raseyn and *Aziza at Payne's...It was worth it.

"Hanad is a terrific, bombastic horse, 27 years old, who snorts fire and brimstone with every breath out of those beautiful "picture" nostrils of his. When Alice Payne brought this proud beauty out of the barn he was prancing high, wide and handsome, with that broken right front leg going just as high as the good legs. He is 14.2 - a rich, dark chestnut."

"Where he broke his leg nobody seems to know. He was once one of the famous trick horses at Kelloggs, as the picture in the studbook shows him jumping rope."

"He was once sold for $10,000, years ago, and his history has been vague since. Right now Hanad is enjoying a wave of popularity in the West, rivaling anything he knew at his peak as a dressage horse. And no wonder."

"He is a very prepotent old guy- I picked out unknown colts as Hanad colts when they were his grandchildren. The Hanad colts are at a premium."

"In fact, we saw none for sale. Everyone wants one, including Milton and Virginia T., and his colts are spoken for when the mare is bred. People just seem to be waking up to what a great horse he is."

Hanad died on Nov. 6, 1949, at the Payne Ranch. He was 27. He got a lifetime total of 57 foals, a respectable figure in a time when Arabians were something of a rarity.

(On Tony's Pedigree)


Stader Reduction Splint

Back in August 1937.

Dr Otto Stader, at the University of Pennsylvania's
School of Veterinary Medicine, demonstrates a new
mechanical bone setting device for horses. It's called the
Stader Reduction Splint, but what it means is that no longer
will it be so often necessary to put down equine sufferers of broken legs.

Information found at ~


Tony ~ Broken Leg

Tony, my Arab broke his leg when he was 6 and he was 31 years old on April 16, 2001. While he was an insane maniac he was smart enough to know when to be still and heal. He stood in his stall for a year. We wrapped his good leg for added support and the rest was left to heal. He was given butte for pain. After a while he could be hand walked but it was almost a year before he was turned out.

Superman ~ Broken Leg

Superman - My friends horse was kicked in his front leg and snapped the bone like a toothpick. His story was written up in a Vet. Journal as one of the few older horses to survive such a break. I wish I had a copy of the article. He stood in a stall for almost a year as did my Tony. He is also doing well at a ripe old age.

Rescue Pony ~ Broken Leg

My friends fostered a couple of rescue ponies - A pony stallion with a broken leg had healed but it never grew back together - the leg just dangled -he had not been handled and was very wild and very fast even with the dangling leg. They unbelievably found a home for him as a teaser on a stud farm.

Rescue Pony ~ Halter Imbedded in Skull

Another rescue pony from the same herd was also fostered by my friends - She was left in the pasture that she was rescued from as a foal wearing a small nylon halter, as the pony grew the skull grew around the halter and had to be surgically removed.

Please remember that nylon halters should not be left on a horse turned out to pasture. They will not break when a horse gets hung up on something, even safe pastures can have something to get caught on including another horse. You say impossible? No, it is not I know from experience. See below what can happen with a safe cotton breakaway halter. As a rule I never leave halters on horses.

Blackjack - Torn Tendon

My Miniature Stallion, Blackjack, was turned out with my horses, Thunder had on a safe cotton halter on that would come apart with pressure. One of those put together with squeeze clamps. He was playing with Thunder and got his leg caught in Thunders halter. The halter did not give way but at least crazy Thunder stood with his head to the ground until the neighbors discovered them. They called their brother who had horses to come and help. They had even more trouble because our guard dogs would not let them in. Finally they got the halter cut off and came running when we got home. Blackjack suffered a serious torn tendon but he did heal well enough to do something crazy enough to dislocate his hook. See that story below.

Blackjack - Dislocated Hook

My Miniature Stallion came in with his leg dangling. The Emergency vet came out and said ~ yep, it broken and headed for his truck to get a shot to put him down! My regular vet, Dr Siegrist, would have known better than to even suggest to me that I should even think about putting him down. After explaining that of course I would do everything I could to save him he was very helpful. He told me that it was a very bad break, but he made a splint for him so that we could take him to the Illinois Equine Hospital. My husband sat in the trailer with him helping to hold him up. I am very lucky to be located fairly close to a very highly regarded Equine Hospital.

When we finally got to the Hospital they took x-rays and could find nothing wrong, so they took another series of x-rays from different views, and on the final x-ray they found it. It was not broken but severely dislocated which could be even worse than a break. Doctor Phillips said he might need surgery but that a cast for 6 weeks might allow it to mend even though he made it clear he still might need surgery. We went home with a cast to stand in a stall and wait.

We returned in six weeks and he stood like a little gentleman, perfectly still while they cut the cast off of him. The cast did the trick and surgery was not necessary ~ He was very lucky.

I began to wonder if he could have unsound legs but my vet assured me that his legs were just fine and he heals remarkably well ~ He is just a crazy little stallion.

Artificial Legs

I also recently saw a pony with an artificial leg! It was on the news!
For larger animals, such as horses, elk and elephants, having all four legs appears to be more crucial.
Primrose, a young female donkey, for example, could barely move after she lost one of her legs to infection. Now she walks with a plastic limb and her owner, a storyteller, hopes to take her on tour to area hospitals in Colorado as a role model for child amputees.

And Yes that is a rooster with 2 artificial legs!

Mr. Chicken lost both his legs to frostbite during a severe winter storm in Michigan in 1997.
Veterinarian, Tim England took in the legless animal and arranged for two acrylic legs and
feet to be made for him. According to England the rooster's prosthetic feet "looked kind of
like snowshoes" and curved slightly upward at the tips to avoid tripping.



El Sareei~ Broken Hip

(On Jamaal El Shia's Pedigree)

Jeremiah ~ Broken Hip

The Friesian Stallion, Jeremiah who was also reported to have broken his hip.
(On my friend's Part Friesian Horse's Pedigree ~ Matiese)

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