I use plastic "apple pickers" to pick out the shavings in the stalls. It is the handle that killed Helen. I had assumed the wound was from a gun shot and two members of law enforcement initially agreed with me. I was relieved to find out the truth that cleared anyone of killing a horse.
The ODNR did a partialnecropsy on Helen. They could not find an exit wound (which the first ODNR guy said he found) and there was no bullet inside. Since the ground is now frozen they were able to find blood drops which led to the smaller barn where they found a larger amount of blood and the apple picker handle, about 12 inches long.
I had used the apple picker the night before and left it outside the stall where evidently one of the horses (probably Mac, he is good at getting into things) pulled it into the stall area. The next day I found it outside their door, picked it up and took it into the barn, not realizing the end was broken. Of course by that time you all know what happened.
I take full responsibility. I fed in a hurry Monday night because of the cold, rain and winds and I should have taken my time to put things out of the horses' reach. We have all been battling the flu here and I just wanted to get chores over with and it cost that poor horse her life.
I can't say enough about how thoroughly this incident was investigated and I am happy that it was not a malicious act. The Sandusky County Sheriff's office and ODNR deserve a lot of credit for their relentless interest in solving this case. The hunters I have had a chance to talk to around here have beensympathetic and supportive.
Editor's note: Mrs. Beatty posted this in the Register's online forums and submitted it as a letter to the editor. This has been edited for space and timeliness.