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“A $250,000 Straight Egyptian Arabian horse [Juno, as above] is fighting to recover after she was struck by a stray bullet fired from a high-powered rifle,” reports. “Juno, the top breeding mare at Thornewood Farm, had lost ‘a tremendous amount of blood’ by the time co-owner Lisa Cifrese reached her. The white horse had flicked the wound with her tail and ‘like a paintbrush, it was painting her body red.’ The 6-year-old mare was in a pasture near a run-in shed when she was hit. Thornewood attorney John R. Lanza said on July 16 that multiple bullets have since been found that pierced the metal shed wall. Police and private investigations have led authorities to believe that the shooting was accidental.” Correction, the shooting was . . .

a negligent discharge. In other words, the target shooters would not – should not – have injured the horse if they’d followed the oft-neglected fourth safety rule: be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

This story highlights an important aspect of that rule: you need to be sure of what could be beyond your target. Cognizant that conditions can change. To wit:

Thornewood Farm is owned by Cifrese and Richard Geha. On the day of the shooting Cifrese was working with a couple of horses in another area of the farm. She said she heard shots, but wasn’t concerned.

She did think it was unusual when she saw her pastured horses running, including Juno. “Our horses have heard gun shots before,” she said, and normally don’t get frightened.

She has since come to the conclusion that the bullets hitting the metal shed siding sent the horses running straight into danger.

“They know the run-in shed as protection. It’s dry when it’s raining, it’s warm when it’s cold. That’s where their food is. But this day it was not protection,” Cifrese said. “The shed was in the direct line of fire. The horses ran to it.”

In other words, the shooters couldn’t see what was inside the shed, or what could go into the shed. While I understand the emotional attachment people have towards horses – I used to be an owner myself – it’s important to note that a child could have entered the shed unseen. In short, be situationally aware at all times when shooting.

Anyway, the police are matching the bullet to the rifles confiscated from the shooters. So we’ll hold off on sending out the IGOTD hardware. Suffice it to say, they all deserve the award for their irresponsible behavior, which we’ll keep condemning until we’re hoarse.

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  1. Those responsible should reinforce the run in shed with steel armor plates to help prevent a similar incident in the future.

      • It may not be cheap but it would likely be cheaper than having to pay for a $250,000 dollar horse numerous times and the range could limit the calibers to those that the plating is designed to stop.

    • Those responsible are idiots and deserve to lose their RKBA.

      The only thing that prevented if from being a human rather than a horse is dumb luck.

      No sympathy for here.

    • “Dirt. best damn bullet stopper there is” (Bert, from “Tremors”)

      Whoever was running the range shouldn’t have been doing so without sufficient berms between the stationary targets and the unintended ones.

      I have a great side lawn – about 200 yards deep; would make a wonderful home range. Unfortunately there’s an elementary school about a quarter mile past the end of my property. Even with a berm I wouldn’t chance it. One man the next town over ended the life of one of his neighbors while shooting at HIS home range. No berms.

      I also find it curious that, although many people who comment on this website take great offense to police officers killing family pets, a lot of posts to THIS article ridicule and make jokes about the furor over a wounded (worth more than I paid for my home) horse. A bit of a double standard, isn’t it?

    • I work in telecom. One of the jobs I was on was out in the northeastern corner of New Mexico, by Clovis. We were installing equipment all over the place, including several small cabinets out in the middle of nowhere. One of these cabinets had been shot at and the door, the equipment rack inside and the back wall of this cabinet had a series of holes through them. The path of the bullet had traveled right through where the cables would have been, running up the side of the rack. This was old damage by the time I came along, but at the time, this must have shut down telephone and internet service to any farm houses past this cabinet, including 911 service.

      The moral of the story is don’t shoot at things that aren’t yours. This incident with the horses is a straight up lapse in following the 4 rules.

  2. “A $250,000 Straight Egyptian Arabian horse…”

    How much are the LGBT Arabian horses going for these days?

  3. That is about 20 miles from where I grew up. There is still a few really nice farms left in the northeast corner of NJ. I feel bad for the horse and hope it recovers. I was surprised that the police identified the shooters. I remember when I was a kid almost 50 years ago, there was a fella that had an orange blanket for his pastured horse with giant letters on the side spelling “HORSE” so it would not be shot as a deer come hunting season. Seems some folks from the city came out to the country to hunt and shot his previous horse, mistaking it for a deer.

    • I remember one year way back when in Upstate NY, some morons from the City shot a Shetland Pony in the owner’s front yard and brought their trophy in to the Check Stand to be weighed. They were arrested, but the pony was duly noted on the station’s tote board that I saw later in the day.

      • Almost as bad the guy way upstate who shot a donkey over a salt lick (illegal here) with a BOW!

        I’m pretty comfortable bowhunting, with that said I won’t take a shot over 30 yards maaaaybe 40 yards with these new super fast bows. You need to be real blind and or dumb to mistake a donkey for a deer at that range.

      • Must be something about NY. My dad and I were having dinner in a place in the Hawthorne Traffic Circle when two inebriated hunters strolled in bragging that they shot a moose. Dad and I looked at each other because there was no moose season in NY. Dad went out to see this “moose” and returned with a NYS Trooper who asked “Who the hell shot the horse out front?” One of the drunks said “That’s not a horse, it’s a moose”. The trooper answered “Moose my ass. You’re under arrest”. Everyone else in the restaurant was laughing so hard, it was ten minutes before they could continue their meals.

    • In Japanese, the symbol for fool is the concatenated symbols for horse and deer. The story behind that is that only a fool would mistake a horse for a deer and vice versa.

    • That has happened out in the fly over country of Iowa. We joke about city boyz who mistook ponies and cattle for deer. Those black deer are everywhere.

  4. I still don’t get this. Were the shooters shooting at the shed on purpose? Or were they shooting somewhere out of sight with an improper backstop?

    • It looks like the range wasn’t paying attention to the safety templates. It is not uncommon for a range cleared for up to 8mm Mauser to have a safety template of about 5km (about 3 miles) behind the buttstop. So you can imagine the safety template zone for something like .50BMG. Which is why so few ranges can take the really big stuff.

  5. As a horse owner, this hits hard. Whoever did that needs to be prosecuted. That behavior is, as TV’s Batman would say, “odious, abhorrent, and insegrevious”. Today’s news is just making a bad day much worse. I’m going shooting and then riding. Too much day.

  6. This is way past a ‘negligent discharge’. Multiple shots? Sorry that’s not an ND. Calling it that makes you sound like the NRA when they instantly go on the defensive because some asshole/criminal did something stupid with guns.

    This makes them jerks and criminals. Unfortunately now this will probably result in a media outcry for more gun control.

    • In New Jersey it will. Yeah, this has several layers of stupid. I would not be surprised if the shooting range gets shut down as well.

  7. As a horse owner I have a saved Google news search for “horse shot” – you’d be amazed at how many people drive by horse pastures and shoot horses for no reason.

    Happens every month sometimes 2-3 times.

    It only makes big news when it’s a high-dollar animal like this one.

    • Right, like NYC hunters in upstate NY “if it’s brown it’s down”, not to be confused with “Operation Down a Brownie” which we were told NOT to institute while in Iraq, just because random people would sometimes start shooting at us (or kids throwing rocks, grenades, whole families having a picnic while laboring to dig a hole to plant an IED, etc., etc.,)

      • In deer season if we are out riding, we all wear Jingle bells (big ones!) around the horse’s necks and bright orange vests.

        There isn’t any deer season close to my house and everyone in the hood here is armed so I don’t worry too much about horses in the pasture.

    • Yeah or if it’s done in some new and creative way. Like the jerks that killed a horse in Florida recently by injecting it with gasoline.

      Sick people out there. We need stronger penalties and enforcement against animal cruelty. You can’t seriously tell me there isn’t something wrong with a person that does shit like this. Imprisoning them may not be the answer, but perhaps mandatory counseling or something useful.

  8. There goes that keyword. High powered rifle. As opposed to the low power ones?
    The way I was taught it is that every bullet can kill. Treating different types differently is unsafe in my opinion.

  9. In these parts, taking a shot at someone’s horses, cattle, et cetera, will unleash a side to these nice, friendly Missouri folks that you don’t want to see 🙂

    • And it should. Killing/harming innocents is never okay, even if they are animals. Hunting/farming/self-defense is something entirely else, just to get that one out before people acuse me of being a vegetarian hippie or something.

  10. I hada New Jersey moment last week. I was driving through on the turnpike and I stopped for gas. While I was standing there a guy stormed out of the convinience store, looked me right in the face and said “seriously, do we live in the worst f—ing state in the country or what?” I told him I didn’t live there and he stormed off saying he had to vent. Yup. That about sums up New Jersey…

  11. A similar incident happened to my dad’s 12 year old gelding. We didn’t hear it though, just found him inside our property about 200 yrds from the road. I’ve hunted a few times and the hole just behind the left shoulder looked an aweful lot like when I took my elk with a 270 at about 150 yrds…we never figured out who did it.

  12. While the horse jokes may be funny for a moment, breeding prize horses is a serious business, and a quarter-million is a big investment. Six years is not old, and this mare had/has many years of happy and productive living in her. The guilty parties must pay full restitution to the horse owner as part of their penalty. Not only for the cost of the horse, but for loss of future profits if she is unable to bear foals due to this injury. For their community service they can do two things: attend the NRA National Sportsmen’s Show wearing a sandwich board that says: “I’m an idiot – I negligently shot a horse.” and spend some weeks as barn hands mucking out stalls at the biggest PD mounted patrol barn in the state.

    • I believe they won’t be able to do community service after the horses owner kneecaps them. 250k + future profits is a lot of money.

  13. This is sad. The exact type of publicity that we do not need. If the horse dies, the shooter should have to pay full premium for the horse and average number of offspring lost. If they can’t pay full amount take away their freedom.

    • Idiot Gun Owner of The Day.

      You would have to a real idiot (ie: room temperature IQ, in centigrade) to not be able to tell the difference between a horse and a moose or deer. Even a city slicker like me knows the difference.

      And drinking alcohol while using guns is downright stupid. And even a felony in some places.

      • Second that drinking, and especially if you are hunting. I mean, stupid at a range, but outside with a rifle?


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