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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    870

    Exclamation Being Alone at the Barn When Disaster Stikes (Cast Horses, etc.)

    Yesterday I was out working at the barn. Two other boarders had just left and the barn owners had just taken off for a show.

    I go to grab the mare I had thrown in the indoor while I did her stall (as I always do) and found her cast against the solid arena wall. Minutes before I had seen her rolling elsewhere, away from the arena walls. Luckily she wasn't thrashing around, although she was a bit distressed. This mare is fairly new to the barn and simply wasn't letting me get near her without beginning to thrash around a bit. BO instructed not to intervene in any way that could get myself hurt.

    The barn owners were a minimum of about twenty minutes away with the trailer and the owner of this mare (who had just been out working some of her other horses), was not picking up her cell.

    Fortunately, the mare remained calm when I kept my distance and managed to get up on her own in maybe ten minutes (since she wasn't thrashing / making noise prior to when I went to grab her, I don't know how long she was actually down). Mare walked off fine once she was up.

    This just makes me think that things could have turned out very differently...and being alone at the barn, I don't know what I could've done if things had taken a turn for the worse.

    Anyone have any similar experiences?
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
    Posts
    4,553

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    Ugh. Sorry this happened, and glad it sounds like the mare is okay.

    I did pull another boarder's horse cast horse off a wall once with another boarder when the BO was not home. It sucks. I was really glad there were two of us.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

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    My horses are home "alone" while I am at work. I can only imagine what sort of mischief they get up to while I'm not there, but I can't really dwell on that since this is the way it is in their lives and mine. Every now and then one will come in with a scratch or a dent or some other sort of owie and I wonder what on EARTH they were up to.

    Things happen. Human safety comes first, 100% of the time. I would not get myself into an unsafe situation if I were alone, period.
    Click here before you buy.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    304

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    My second day working at a new barn one of the horses got his leg stuck under the bottom rail of his post and rail run out paddock. He was completely upside down, and i couldnt get his leg out by myself. I tried for about 30 minutes until two boarders came and helped. I was amazed at how calm the horse was until the barn owner told me he had done this multiple times before. I was like first of all, if he has done this before why isn't he in another paddock/turn out where he has the room to roll around once, and secondly why not take the nails out of the fencing so when it does happen all you have to do it pull out the rails and he's up. I worked there for about a half a week more.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    304

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    Deltawave - My horses are alone a lot of the time as well, and like you said, it is how it is.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

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    I own one with a death wish. If that barn brat can find trouble he will!

    On the rare event I get a vacation I know the who's and what's that can happen. While a very responsible gal, my farmsitter does not have my ability nor experience. Just waiting for the day she calls cuz Wally is upside down in the water tank or some such idiotic adventure on his part.

    It was not that many weeks ago my herd was in a stampede like I have never seen before. I was thinking what the heck?!?! Rain is coming in but nothing that would rattle these horses like this. I spent 10-15 minutes cutting them back....cutting them back away from the gate. If they would have run thru it all together somebody would have been hurt for sure.

    When the dust settled I had 2 horses that had grabbed and 1 that blew a heel. Whew....dealable. But no idea what caused the insanity! Until it was feeding time that evening. No this time not Wally, but his barn brat predecessor Cracker. I never saw the skunk....but he reeked of the evidence he saw a skunk very up close and personal. And Cracker being Cracker just could not resist menacing it.

    If they only had brains that understood the consequences of their stupidity then owning horses would be so much easier!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,052

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    No. I've never been alone in an emergency, except when Cloudy got hung up by his rear end 4 ft off of the ground in a gate, but I called the BO who was in her house to come push him out from the other side.

    Unfortunately, I'll always the one at all barns whom people run to when horses get cast or injured. And I have to pull horses away from stall walls, get them out of fences, and pull shoes. So far all has gone well, but I wish others would step up and do the work, as I'm a boarder not at BO or worker.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
    Posts
    1,961

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    From close to 40 years' experience, some of my tried-and-tested suggestions that enable a positive outcome:

    (1) Know where your equipment is, and be able to put your hands on it immediately. Have thick cotton "un-casting" ropes on hand BEFORE you ever need them, first-aid kit, flashlights that work, wire cutters, etc.

    (2) Keep a cellphone on you at ALL times alone at the barn, whether you're mounted or dismounted.

    (3) Have phone numbers for all the people who could assist you the quickest in one-punch SPEED-DIAL. Your vet, your help, your fire dept. are key.

    (4) Employ "Combat" or "Square" breathing to knock down your own adrenaline when you come upon such a scene. You can't assist the horse, or even punch that speed-dial, when your hands are shaking and you feel what most people interpret as panic. Google this or PM me for more details.

    (5) BEFORE an emergency, know your capabilities. If you have a bad back, singlehanded flipping of a cast is probably not an option. If you have never restrained a horse by tying its feet together or sitting on its head, that's probably not the time to learn if you're alone. Ditto with the workings of fire extinguishers, twitches, or chainsaws.

    (6) Truck & Trailer left hooked up ready to go is NEVER a bad thing!

    It's primarily BO's who need to worry about this; I think as a boarder the best course is exactly what you did--keep the horse as calm as possible while calling in help and making sure you don't put yourself in a dangerous position.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
    Posts
    3,010

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    I usually have the joy of colic episodes when I'm 'home alone'. I asses manure output/feed and water input, take temp, check for dehydration, and start walking while I dial BO and vet. Having that information on hand right away saves a lot of time on the phone and allows whomever your speaking to get a quick idea of the situation.

    I always call the BO first, except for on one occasion of the worst choke episode I had ever seen. Called vet first, then called BO. I have a good relationship with her, and often know what she is going to do in the event of an emergency. I do what I can within my ability and then just try to keep the lid from blowing off the situation before help arrives. An emergency is not the time to do something that you 'think' you know how to do.

    I often think that they should offer 'Horse 911 101' classes or something, like they have CPR and First Aid certifications. It would be great for all horse owners to know things like twitching, IV and IM shots, signs of colic, temp and resp taking, proper uses of a stud chain, basic wrapping, and how to pull a shoe. You'd be surprised how many people don't...or 'think' that they do and end up getting everybody into more trouble.

    Swamp Yankee (once again ) has the best advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,984

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    It sucks. Ditto the "keep a cellphone handy at all times" advice.

    A long time ago I took my mom out to see my mare and we stopped at the broodmare barn to see the babies (foaling season). Walked past the foaling stalls and what do you know...mare down, in labor, with FOUR, yes, four, legs and one nose coming out of her. Single scariest moment of my horse-owning life. Of course she had shown no signs of foaling and BOs were off the farm, almost an hour away.

    I knew there was really nothing I could do, other than call the vet and BO and wait for them to get there. She had full term twins, both colts...one lived and did well, but had to be raised as an orphan due to the condition of the mare, who also lived but was touch and go for awhile due to nerve paralysis in her back end. The smaller twin died at birth. Still, a good outcome for two out of three, and at least we were in the right place at the right time...even if I nearly had a heart attack in the process.
    Caitlin
    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
    http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    12,987

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMare01 View Post
    It sucks. Ditto the "keep a cellphone handy at all times" advice.

    A long time ago I took my mom out to see my mare and we stopped at the broodmare barn to see the babies (foaling season). Walked past the foaling stalls and what do you know...mare down, in labor, with FOUR, yes, four, legs and one nose coming out of her. Single scariest moment of my horse-owning life. Of course she had shown no signs of foaling and BOs were off the farm, almost an hour away.

    I knew there was really nothing I could do, other than call the vet and BO and wait for them to get there. She had full term twins, both colts...one lived and did well, but had to be raised as an orphan due to the condition of the mare, who also lived but was touch and go for awhile due to nerve paralysis in her back end. The smaller twin died at birth. Still, a good outcome for two out of three, and at least we were in the right place at the right time...even if I nearly had a heart attack in the process.
    FWIW one thing you can try if you have a mare trying to foal the wrong way...get her out of her stall and walk her down the steepest hill you can find or stand her on a bank with her front end lower than her rear. Sometimes it helps.

    I live in an area where many of the horse owners are off the farm during the day. Last month I had 2 escapes. neither of which were mine. The first pair were two nondescript horses that were pretty much equidistant from 4 farms. I had no idea where they belonged. I called around and found someone who knew them. The next day there was another horse out, lovely pony mare. Luckily she was next to one farm where I knew there should be 4 ponies. There were 3 ponies in the barn and one empty stall with a door open.

    I'm alone much of the time so I always have my cell
    Last edited by carolprudm; Jun. 2, 2012 at 04:56 PM.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Thanks for the advice, may be good in the future. But there was no way that particular mare was getting up...either the combined pressure from the twins or the way she was laying pinched a nerve in her back end, and it took weeks for her to be able to stand normally. It took three of us to deliver the twins, including the vet with chains. She just had a completely horrible delivery.
    Caitlin
    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
    http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMare01 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, may be good in the future. But there was no way that particular mare was getting up...either the combined pressure from the twins or the way she was laying pinched a nerve in her back end, and it took weeks for her to be able to stand normally. It took three of us to deliver the twins, including the vet with chains. She just had a completely horrible delivery.
    Yeah, that's the sometimes it doesn't work
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,532

    Default Remember '911' Fire Department ~~~ they can and will assist you ~

    Always remember "911" ....

    Fire Department will assist you ~

    You "KNOW" the procedure & have the equipment ~

    Be Safe & SMART = use ALL your RESOURCES ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,301

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    Being alone at the barn . . . I don't think I've ever been in the position where there wasn't some "person in charge" at a boarding or training barn - even if it's just the guy who mucks stalls.

    At home is a different story. DH and I both have first aid skills that would transfer over to the horses. DH is competent to do a euth by gunshot if the worst came to worst. My problem is what to do if I'm home by myself - my back is pretty weak so righting a cast horse would be very hard for me. I'd have to have a good plan involving ropes and leverage even if I drafted some of my neghbors. Blood and gore bothers me but I've seen it and I know I can deal with it until the paramedics come, or the vet. I may turn into a jellyfish later though.
    I expect that being prepared with tools at hand, some book learning, hands on learning, and patience and the ability to keep calm is about all you can bring to the situation - so basically what Swamp Yankee spelled out.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Posts
    3,574

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    for the most part I am always alone.
    Swamp yankee's post should be memoraliazed. It is good.

    I always have an anti cast rope nearby(one in barn, one in truck)

    This winter my mare was cast twice. first time, we were able to get her up, I had help.
    2nd time, we could not. But, I hooked the ropes up to tow ropes and hooked those up to the gator and that flipped her over.
    BTW, this was a 2,000 pound percheron.
    A cast horse is a frightening thing, but most things about horses in trouble is frightening.
    Going now to look up square or combat breathing. I need that, since when I am scared, I can barely catch my breath and become very weak.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2005
    Location
    MD girl living in NC
    Posts
    928

    Default

    Ok, so this isn't quite being alone but I learned from this experience:

    If BOs have non-English speaking employees, write down some important emergency phrases and make sure they are kept in a central, easily accessible place so everyone can communicate with each other in the heat of the moment. I found myself at the barn with only a non-fluent English speaking worker when a horse fractured (shattered, actually) his leg. Trying to communicate what needed to be done was difficult enough...the language barrier made it even harder.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,536

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    this happened to me once. Lucky for me, another boarder showed up and I had 2 of the feet with ropes, she pulled the tail and the mare popped right up.

    I didn't panic or even become very worried, the mare did not seem distressed and her breathing was ok so she probably had not been there long. It might have to do with 20+ years at a job where I've been taught to step back, listen/observe and assess.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,051

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    I have uncast horses by myself, and it is a BTCH. Luckily I have DD to help me now. It's amazing what you can do when you have to.

    A few weeks ago horses were running before a storm, and my silly TB slipped and skidded 15 feet on his side, coming to rest with all 4 feet through the fence. I was positive he was going to just die before I got to him, but nope, he just yanked them out and stood up, then trotted off. He has been a bit more restrained in his shennanigans since, too - I think I'll keep him.

    What really stuck out to me in Swamp Yankee's post was #1, to know where your darned fence pliers are. I do know where mine are and they are easily accessible. My BO? Nope, hers are buried. But everyone knows where my stuff is - shoe and nail pullers, fence pliers, hammers, I do try to be prepared even though I board. Everything is in a bucket right inside my tackroom door. As is a flashlight with WORKING batteries.

    And breathing? Yup, very important. If you panic, you can do no good. Part of it is successfully coming through scrapes in the past - you build on that. Part of it is being prepared and KNOWING that you have the vet on speed dial and a plan. We are WAY out in the woods and part of my plan is a fatalistic acceptance of the fact that help is very, very far away. I have to know that I am somewhat isolated and that I may have to deal. Know your situation and about how long it may take help to get there or even if it's worth CALLING for help. I can call a vet in some cases, but in others it may not work. I have to be able to stabilize some things myself for a darned long time.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopashore1 View Post
    Ok, so this isn't quite being alone but I learned from this experience:

    If BOs have non-English speaking employees, write down some important emergency phrases and make sure they are kept in a central, easily accessible place so everyone can communicate with each other in the heat of the moment. I found myself at the barn with only a non-fluent English speaking worker when a horse fractured (shattered, actually) his leg. Trying to communicate what needed to be done was difficult enough...the language barrier made it even harder.
    Hate to say it, but if you're a ways off the beaten track, or have weather events that would keep a vet from getting to you within 2 hours, you should be conversant with the method of performing euthanasia with a gun. And have one.



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