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Sometimes life gets in the way..........

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  • Sometimes life gets in the way..........

    Well, I finally thought it was time to start posting again. I have been off the forum for over a year now--and yes, the reality of life did keep me away.

    I wanted to tell you about something horrific that happened to my Haflinger, "Wendy". Some of you will remember me and her. When I bought this home, it was fenced with a white nylon wrapped wire and some roll 4" wide vinyl. I hotwired everything. Then after 2 years, Wendy decided she did not like her yard and would walk through the fencing--hotwire and all. So, I spent a week and put up new insulators and 14 guage wire. This stuff was so strong, I had to use a pipe wrench wrapped with it to pull it tight. I was pleased when it was done--a steel trap. Got up the next morning and she was out again. She didn't break the wire--just all the insulators down the line. So, while I was at work, she would be in her stall as I got tired of the neighbor's bringing her home.

    I came home from work 2 weeks ago and noticed the front of my barn looked odd (I have 3 stalls all tongue and groove with large steel gates all in a row). The lower board was pushed out and the gate on Wendy's stall was out slightly at the bottom. As I got closer I was stunned to see her rear leg out between 2 boards where one of the gate hinges is. It just hung there. I looked over the stall gate and here Wendy lay--in a hole with her neck bent over her body like a pretzel (this part was up against the wall). She did not move. I called my trainer, but he was not there, so his wife called him. I couldn't wait and went to a neighbor's house. They rushed over and were shocked by what they saw. We tried everything and Wendy would not move. Apparently she had been this way all day and was exhausted. So, the 3 of us put several ropes on a halter. I got on the ground at Wendy's butt and pushed her while my friends/neighbors gently pulled her. I gave her some water and stroked her and tried to coax her up but to no avail. She looked bloated and we weren't sure if she had broken something. But, after a while, I had to know, so I took my driving whip and just smacked it on the ground and she stood, but fell over. But she got up again on her own. She had a badly swollen hock and cuts. Believe it or not, I could not get a vet out here--in Ocala, Fl!!! So, my friend called her vet and she talked me through a lot of things to do and look for and to call her in the morning. She has been wonderful and helpful. Never heard from my vet. Guess I will be changing vets!

    My other friends arrived and helped me fix a place for Wendy for the night. I stayed home from work the next day to tend to the mare. She had a hole in one side of her leg between the tendons. It was about 2.5 inches in diameter and I could stick my finger in up to the first knuckle. The inside of the leg had 2 bad areas and the skin all around the cannon bone just came off in sheets--maybe from lack of circulation. She has her feathers, but that is about all. She lost all the fur from above her eye (that was against the wall) and that was swollen badly and skinned up and then she lost all the fur on her hipbone. We are lucky that is the worst of it. Another horse not so stocky and big boned might not have been so lucky. She must have pawed a hole and rolled and got cast.

    She is on the mend and is a changed mare. She has stayed in the yard and when she sees me, she comes right to me. I tell her to go in her stall and she walks right in (feeding time only). She even has walked up 4 steps on my deck to my back door and stands there waiting for me (if she hears my voice). Hmmmmm....do you think she saw the white light???She has been running with the my other horses and the leg seems like it will be okay.
    I am so grateful for my friends and neighbors.

    If anyone has any suggestions how to cut down on the scarring and stimulate hair growth, I would love to hear them.

  • #2
    So VERY sorry to hear about you and Wendy's very hard times. Not sure how far along you are in recovery, but I don't take the bandages off big wounds until the hair starts growing. I have had very bad luck with removing bandages earlier, the wounds split open, new skin dries out (30 minutes can be too much!!) and splits open. Then you have the proud flesh issues, wound needs trimming, and you start over again. You may need to trim that extra tissue yourself if you can't get a vet out. You get pretty handy at it! New skin is mostly water anyway so any wind or sun really is bad.

    If the bandage doesn't fall down leg, I will leave it on a healing wound for a couple days, then hose gently with cold water, remove any dead tissue, wound gunk and rewrap. The pressure of wrapping wound, even pressure over big area, seems to keep the scar tissue, proud flesh from developing. I do NOT want the wound to granulate, this causes the rapid growth of scar tissue. I have given up on horse ointments, they ALL seem to encourage the wild growth and granulation of wound tissues. All those wounds needed excessive tissue trimming, attention, until I refused to use that medication. Using them made everything much worse, took much longer to get healed up. I now refuse to use them on any serious holes in the horse.

    The hose is your friend, cold, gently running water and your watch to time it, are your best help in cleaning, reducing wounds, swelling. I think the cold numbing the limbs, helps reduce stress in the horse as well.

    If the accident was recent, you might want to visit another thread on wounded animals and treatment. I gave my technique for wrapping leg wounds. Maybe some of the other advice would be helpful. There is a site for Telfa pads, sure looks like a great price for them. I can't get them for that price around here. You will use quite a few, if you are still wrapping. I think they are a great help, never stick to new healing tissue. Some other shortcut, money saving methods of bandaging. Seems like the wrapping costs add up to equal the vet if you don't modify stuff that you use!


    My wounds all seem to take a while to heal. I don't think 4 months is really long, with severe tissue damage, deep holes that have to slowly refill themselves. I also kept mine stalled, they were very restricted in exercise, just up and down the aisle a bit. At least your fingers aren't freezing too! 4 months sounds long, but will go by quickly. Again, in SPITE of ANY VET's advice, I don't take off the bandage until hair starts. New tissue just won't hold if dried out. Ruptures open every last time. Only the bandage keeps skin from drying out. Every time Husband listened to Vet, when I wasn't there, took off the bandage, I had to fix the leg when I got home again. Start over. I had scars on the Vet advice legs, none of the legs that I ignored him on. All healed pretty well, were very usable horses after.

    I will keep my hopes up for Wendy and you, thinking good healing thoughts. Please keep us informed as you have time. Very nice to hear from you, even if it was sad news.


    • #3
      Covering the wound with placental tissue and leaving it on will heal a large wound nicely and promote hair growth. I always keep a couple of baggies of it in the freezer and I'd be happy to share if you could arrange appropriate transport.
      Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

      PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


      • #4
        Originally posted by Justinesue View Post
        If anyone has any suggestions how to cut down on the scarring and stimulate hair growth, I would love to hear them.
        Very simply its going to depend on how bad the injuries are and also what has already been done in relation to first aid and subsequent treatment. To cut to the quick scarring is going to be dependent on the extent of the initial injury, the nature and type and placement of the injury, good wound treatment and including ensuring there’s no infection.

        Whilst you’ve given a graphic description of your fencing and how you found the horse etc, the information is lacking in terms of it being good clinical case history. There’s a lot more I personally would want to know. From what you describe so far the one I’d be most concerned about is the deep penetrative wound adjacent to tendons.

        Has the horse actually been seen by the vet in the 2 weeks since the accident? Or are you just getting advice on the phone? Do you have photos of the injuries? You meantion “skin being stripped off”: do you mean its just the surface layers or literally she’s been “degloved”? If so, what was done to replace the skin? Was there grafting? Stitching? Use of the likes of artificial skin gauze? Where you say the skin came off because “there might not have been circulation”: what has been done to establish there is blood flow? And what has been done to replace the lost area? How big are these surface areas where the skin is off? Is the horse totally sound or showing any signs of being lame or sore?

        Its going to be vital that is healed without infection and inflammation that might compromise the tendons. And of course all wounds have to be kept clean and allowed to heal from the inside out. Cold hosing twice a day for 20 minutes will reduce inflammation and use of running water will keep injuries clean and free from dirt. If, at the end of cold hosing you spray using a dilution of sea salt then that is excellent for minimising scarring possibility. Likewise there’s a lot of preparatory wound treatments – particularly often used in burns treatments – to use on areas where there’s been extensive skin loss. Best to get the vet to recommend on those though as they have better knowledge of the injury.

        I was pleased when it was done--a steel trap. Got up the next morning and she was out again. She didn't break the wire--just all the insulators down the line. So, while I was at work, she would be in her stall as I got tired of the neighbor's bringing her home.
        Wire fencing is never a good idea for a horse enclose. Post and rail would be better and with a hot wire on the top. If you have to use wire, then put another fencing about 3 feet inside and use 2 or 3 lines of thick white electric fence tape. I'm presuming she's kept solitary? Sounds like she's not happy about her circumstances though.

        I came home from work 2 weeks ago and noticed the front of my barn looked odd (I have 3 stalls all tongue and groove with large steel gates all in a row). The lower board was pushed out and the gate on Wendy's stall was out slightly at the bottom. As I got closer I was stunned to see her rear leg out between 2 boards where one of the gate hinges is.
        If you're going to stable a horse, then review the stable design and ensure that there's always someone around that can go down and check her from time to time. Again steel gates are notorious for breaking horse's legs and they really shouldn't be used for small enclosures.

        So, my friend called her vet and she talked me through a lot of things to do and look for and to call her in the morning. She has been wonderful and helpful. Never heard from my vet. Guess I will be changing vets!
        As its 2 weeks since, I presume that a vet has actually been out by now?

        It was about 2.5 inches in diameter and I could stick my finger in up to the first knuckle.
        Not a good thing to do! You run the risk of introducing dirt etc. You don't mention so, but you do wear disposable surgical gloves when you're treating her wounds don't you?

        She is on the mend and is a changed mare. She has stayed in the yard and when she sees me, she comes right to me. I tell her to go in her stall and she walks right in (feeding time only). She even has walked up 4 steps on my deck to my back door and stands there waiting for me (if she hears my voice). Hmmmmm....do you think she saw the white light???
        No I think she's been shocked by the accident and subsequent injury. And I also think you will still need to review how and where she's kept.


        • #5
          Here are a few suggestions of products we have used on Alex (the DRIVING HORSE) as possible help for Wendy (the DRIVING PONY) - see that keeps this thread DRIVING oriented

          We lost masses of hair after the fire and thre are lare patches that will never grow back due to hair follicle damage. Since its only been about 2 weeks since Wendy's accident - it ispossible it has just not been enough time to get hair growing again - especially since its winter when everything slows down

          1) Anyway we used (and are still using) Dermafas to condition the skin. You can get it online - do a google on Dermafas

          2) I cant vouch for this, but I have been told that plain old Preparation H will promote hair growth. We have used it (not on Alex) but I cant really say that the hair grew back any faster - thought it did grow back

          3) We were given a large sample of "Topical WoundAid Solution" and used it on Alex last summer. Mostly to keep his skin conditioned and from getting too dry (thats our biggest lasting problem with his skin) I really liked the stuff and its easy to use, though expensive. Again you can google the product and get it online. None of the tack stores in our area carry it

          4) And finally - and probably the cheapest - just good old Vitamin E. Messy job but you can cut open the capsules and squeeze the oil out onto the wound areas and gently rub it into the wound areas

          My current inclination would be in order #3, #1, #4 and maybe #2 on the skinned hip

          Best of luck to you and Wendy - and dont count on her exemplary behavior holding up once she has gotten over the shock of the incident (another month or so), though you will have a closer bond from your constant attention and treatments


          • #6
            JS, so very sorry to hear about Wendy. That's one of the biggest problems with this breed- containment! They can plow, paw or chew their way through just about any material that's ever been invented. I wish you the best of luck in re-habbing Wendy and in figuring out how to keep her at home. She's a sturdy little gal and she's going to be fine.

            I don't know if this will bring a smile or not but I just had my husband make 2 'scratching posts' for Major and Mickey in an effort to keep them from scratching their big butts on the wood fence and mowing it down in the process. We sank 4 x 4's in the ground about 2' deep and attached super-stiff broom heads to the posts to encourage them to do their scratching on those. Well, four days later, there is some evidence that Major has figured out what it's for because I see a few of his hairs on the broom bristles. Mickey, on the other hand, has completely mis-interpreted the purpose of the post. He thinks of it as being kind of a Rubik's cube and he's positioned himself on all sides of it and ever so delicately picked almost every single bristle out of the broom head. It looks like a plucked chicken. At least the posts are occupying them for awhile and keeping them from plowing down the fence.

            I am convinced that Haflingers really don't do well with free time!



            • Original Poster

              Wow, thank you for all your help and concern. You are right, the neighbor's brought her home today. So, she is bored and the shock has worn off.

              Thomas, I will try to answer some of your questions. No, the vet did not come out, but I have dealt with severe leg injuries before. I had a gelding get injured in a tornado. It tore up his rear legs from groin to hoof. Back then, the vet took off the proud flesh. But we slathered the wounds with SWAT and Flowers of Sulfur. I have been washing the wounds for 20 minutes a day and pat dry. Then I put on Schreiner's liquid and McKillups antibacterial powder. There is no infection and the swelling is just about gone. Odd that it is, she was very swollen in the hock. The top layer of skin with fur would peel off, but the skin was nice and pink. There is some granulation starting and the wound is not bandaged as I was afraid it would stick. It has been kept clean, though.

              I will have to build an area to contain her using better fencing. I really hate the current fencing as horses have no respect for it. At my other home, I had no climb fencing with a hot wire at the top and it worked fine. Guess I will be doing fencing on my vacation.

              Ridesahaffie, and I thought your boys were angels!!! I may have to try the butt scratcher, also!


              • #8
                just butting in

                I don't know too much about wound repair, thank goodness. Maybe it's because I do know about fences.

                The original post suggests that electric is ineffective at controlling this horse. Haven't met a horse yet that did not respect GOOD electric fence. Electric is a PSYCHOLOGICAL barrier and if it is not functioning properly all the time the horse will quickly become UNTRAINED to it.

                Send me a PM and I can ask some questions and probably figure out why it didn't work.

                Meanwhile go to a website like http://www.kencove.com/fence/ and read up on correct installation of electric fence. Pay particular attention to the stuff about grounding. The Southeast is in a drought and this means that a lot of ground fields that were effective are now not working up to snuff.


                • #9
                  IME in 100% of cases where they're getting through electric fencing, then its not live. And its either because there's a break in the circuit, its battery operated and too weak to go right round or else its flat or because its too dry and not grounding.

                  I manage all mine's grazing (advance/retreat strip grazing system) with electric fencing and trust me I've got some right Houdinis. I know the very second the fencing is out because the ponies are too! and the horses have their heads right under it to graze


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Justinesue View Post
                    Ridesahaffie, and I thought your boys were angels!!! I may have to try the butt scratcher, also!
                    Angels, my...eye. They're just typical Haflingers who think of fencing as a minor impediment to getting where they really want to go. If they're driven (see, this IS driving related) several miles a day every day of their lives, that kinda/sorta takes the edge off the wanderlust. Otherwise, they're just like Wendy, looking for a way out. The no-climb woven wire with hotwire at the top may be your best bet in keeping her home. That seems to work for my boys when I take them down to Bob's although he will tell you stories (plural) of how they've dismanteled his fencing more than once. Here at home in our boarding situation they have lots of eyes watching them most of the time.

                    Good luck with Wendy. I know you'll be back driving her again soon (driving-related again)


                    • #11
                      Funny electric fence story.

                      Last August we took Alex to a "night out" in Frenchtown, a river town local to the farm. This is a program started by the Emergency Services / Police in particular which happens all over the country. Started by asking everybody in town to be out on the porch or in the yard for a period in the evening to meet neighbors and be a presence in the city/town. Its now morphed in a lot of places to a fair kind of thing with people walking about town and meeting the local rescue/emergency services folks.

                      Alex was asked partly as a pet the pony (if you can call a Draft X a pony) and partly to tell his story about surviving the barn fire (we have concrete examples of the horses getting out and staying out, finding an alternative exit, stop-drop-roll etc to tell).

                      So we arrive and unload in a field full of fire trucks, police cars, rescue boats, and a helicopter - yup a helicopter landed in the field while Alex was on his trailer and he was pretty much OK with that.

                      Well we've found that non-horse folk are happier petting the horse across a barrier so our BO offered to bring some step posts and stuff to create this. We were going to make Alex a stall, but he wasn't happy in that tight a space so we just strung the barrier on step in posts from the trailer to a tree for a bigger area backed by a fence.

                      Alex - Mr "I LOVE attention" was fine just hanging out but was acting really weird when we brought him up to the barrier for pets. Normally, he's reaching out to the kids and right up next to the rope. This time he was antsy when he got up toward the rope and bullied right past us away from it - totally not his normal behavior.

                      I took him back to straighten him out - calm as could be. and people could come back to see him and he was his normal standing still guy. Eventually he'd get near enough to reach, but just.

                      Well duh... three days later we figured it out. It wasn't the equipment - even with lights going. It was the danged "rope". We realized our rope was electric fence tape. Being no dummy, he wasn't going to get that near an electric fence.

                      His reaction to the helicopter leaving right over the trailer? and I do mean right over? He watched it coming up over the trailer and his head went up and up, his eyes bugged out - you could almost see the cartoon thought bubble over his head - "That is one-dang-big-bug"


                      • #12
                        Jingles for Wendy--poor pony.


                        • #13
                          Poor Wendy, jingles.
                          My vet has a saying, Spend it on the fence now or give it to me later
                          "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin


                          • Original Poster

                            Wendy is actually healing quicker than I thought. I am amazed considering the injuries. So, I may be able to drive her in a few weeks. Just short drives. I am anxious to take her out as she loves this cool weather.

                            Hotwire is working. But, here is a question for the forum: my charger is called a Zaremba. It does not require grounding. I have lost so many expensive ones to lightening, that I thought I would try this one. It zaps me and unsuspecting visitors, but is it not strong enough for "Wendy"? Does grounding make it stronger? One thing I am not very knowledgeable on is electricity.


                            • #15

                              Oh My Oh My. All fencers require grounding one way or another. That is how they work. There are a few models out that are called "biPolar." They are still "grounded" although the "ground" side is a second set of wires. They are used on some deer fences, some large installations, and in extremely dry conditions.
                              Basic function of any fencer is that it is sending a pulse out onto the "fence" side and an equal and opposite pulse out to the ground side. the two pulses are trying to get together and the animal is the path through which they do it. Fences often fail due to the ground side not being good enough.

                              Think of the system as a water system. The charger is the pump. The cord plugged into the wall socket is the source. This is the good news. Your source is essentially limitless as long as you pay the light bill. With battery units the source can be be exhausted. The wire of the fence is like a hose that carries the water to a distant location. Anything touching the wire is like a puncture in the hose. It allows some water to leak away before reaching the end. Actually the end is closed. The "pressure" in your "hose" (the wire) should be very high and the water should really squirt if something makes a little hole (touches the wire) This is the shock.

                              The ground side is also a bit like water. The pump (energizer) is pumping this water onto the ground and it is spreading out like a big mud puddle. This puddle is the the ground field your animal is standing in. If the animal is not in the ground field for some reason he won't be shocked. Again the water anology works well. If it is dry the "water" won't spread far from the source. We can help it spread to where it needs to be by running a ground wire along the bottom of the fence and putting down ground rods from time to time along the fence. This makes "puddles" all along the fence so the animal's feet will be touching a "puddle".

                              The other thing that is ALWAYS done is creating a good ground right at the energizer. If you stick one little rod in the ground it is like you took a little tube off your pump and tried to fill a lake. You do want a "lake" for a ground field. To create a lake you need multiple pipes coming off your "pump." This means multiple ground rods at least 6 feet long. You want to put ALL the "water" your pump can give you into your "lake." You can test the function of your ground field easily. Put your hand on the last rod you attached and then take something like a butter knife in your other hand and reach as far from the ground rod as you can and stick the knife in the ground. If you feel any shock you need another ground rod. The shock you felt is the "pressure" of more water your "pump" is trying to get into the "lake."

                              Whew. Long explantion.

                              The Zareba is a good brand of energizer. I use the "100 mile" Model myself and it comes equiped with a lightening arrestor and a 1 year lightening warranty. Most lightening damage comes from the power line side, not the fence side. This damage can be reduced by using some form of surge protector like what you use to protect your computer or any other piece of electronic equipment. When lightening actually hits your fence the energizer is toast. Chances are you will find pieces of it blown across the barn floor. In 25 years I have had this happen twice in Florida.


                              • #16

                                Here is a link to the fencer I use. I see they now offer extended warranty for $40. Might be worth it if your farm is really lightening prone.


                                Nice little diagram of the fence may be seen here.


                                This web site has updated help section since last year. Has a lot of simple diagrams showing different aspects of the fence.


                                • #17
                                  What a nice explanation Dick. Hadn't heard the water/electricity one, but a good analogy. We have to pay attention in summer here, to making sure the ground rods are actually grounding. When the dirt dries out all the 8ft down, they don't work. We have learned to water the ground rods, so they have good dirt contact in our dry times.

                                  We do get weak spots in the whole system causing problems, like the corrosion of ground rod clamps, not making good contact onto the rod itself. Two different kinds of metal can make corrosion happen faster, stopping the flow of electricity. Usually an easy fix, some sandpaper to remove corrosion, then put clamp back on. Just something to pay attention to.

                                  Another item is regular attention and testing of the fence. The power does not stay consistant in changing weather conditions. If you test regularly, with a tester, you KNOW if fence is working. Just because charger is clicking, doesn't mean the wire is hot all the way around. Horse will know it isn't, then get in trouble. Horse is very sensitive to ANY amount of electric shock. They can feel the most minute electricty charges, or LACK of charge, to test the fence at. We have problems with those tiny charges not getting grounded with our water heaters up here. People can't feel the little bit of electric, but horse tries to drink, gets shocked. Regular fence testing, checking your whole perimeter fence, can prevent the escapes.

                                  Even once a week test, should help keep fence powered up for the horse. We also have had two electric hits with lightning. Killed the fencer, but didn't blow it up. We THOUGHT the fencer was working, had two horses get hurt in the wire because we DIDN'T do regular checks then. Working fencer is a "Need to know" item, no guess work, EVER.

                                  I do a daily fencer check. See that needles are moving, lights on, with fencer now located in an easy-to-view location as you head to the barn. I do a weekly perimeter check for power. We did some upkeep this fall, put new insulated wires under all the gates. Now there is a REAL BITE out back, anyplace on the wire. The fun of electric fence.


                                  • #18
                                    All I can say is thank God for a sensible mare such as Wendy. She could have hurt herself that much more if she thrashed and panicked frantically. Thank God for you and the friends you have around that helped Wendy at her time of need. I am so happy she is on the recovery - alive more like it.

                                    She knows you helped her out .. You were her "light".


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Wow, Dick, that was a great explanation. Thank you. I will check out the websites you suggested and then look into another fencer. I have had ground rods at my other farm, but when I saw this fencer, I thought it would be great for this home. I do check my hotwire every evening after I finish feeding.