True (but sad) horse story:
About 20 years ago, the family
was in Banff, Alberta, and we decided to go on a day-long trail ride. We found a stable that offered guided tours through the nearby mountains, including a stop for lunch cooked and eaten outdoors.
Getting horses for the wife and me was pretty easy, but they had a bit of trouble finding a horse small enough for my son, who was then 8. But they managed to find a suitable beast, named Bob, and we set off with about six couples, two cowboys leading the way, and a packhorse carrying lunch.
After an hour or so, we crossed a road and followed the side of it for a while, most of us avoiding some rather large puddles. Bob, however, stepped in one and to his evident and noisy dismay found that it was a sinkhole about four feet deep.
My son had alertly jumped off when Bob went in the hole, so he was fine. Bob, on the other hand, was stuck, his forefeet on the edge of the hole and rest of him in the muddy water
The cowboys pulled Bob's saddle off, one of them got behind and pushed, the other pulled from the front, and after some effort they got Bob out of the hole. He had some scratches on his legs but appeared otherwise okay. So we saddled up and carried on.
A few minutes later, we were back in the woods -- lovely deciduous forest with sunlight dappling through. Then Bob started to stagger. My son jumped off again. Bob lurched down the hill, banging off trees, and fell kicking on his side.
One of the cowboys said quietly to the other: "Would you please take the guests a bit further down the trail?"
A bit further down the trail, my son turned to his mother, an equestrienne of some years standing, and asked how she thought Bob was doing. Her reply: "I think Bob is toast." She said he had probably suffered internal injuries, was bleeding internally, and was being given an injection to put him out of his misery.
And so it was. Eventually, they brought another horse up for my son, this one much bigger, so that his wee legs stuck out. He was. by this time, rather nervous about riding any more, but there was no choice.
After a while, we we stopped at a clearing for lunch. Climbing off my animal and stretching, I commented to the other guests:
"Man, I'm so hungry I could eat a horse ... and I know exactly where there is one."
Oddly, they all moved away from me.