Monday, January 27, 2014

The Hanna Mare

I had a lot of different things I wanted to do yesterday, clean my pens, ride my horses, vacuum my house (skip the dusting) and a few other things as well.

TC and MB were out there working on the shop.  I walked over to watch them and noticed that our neighbor that is moving was over there getting ready to load his horses for the move.  I considered offering help but then figured that unsolicited help can sometimes be rude, so I didn't. (These are the same horses that Killian was fence fighting with the other day)

I could hear a little banging around but nothing too serious so I went back to watching TC.  Then I heard some serious banging and TC said, "He might need some help"

I threw some boots on and headed over.

I wished I had gotten there sooner.

He had gotten the gelding loaded with out any trouble. Pretty cool since the horse had not been on a trailer in 12 years.

However, the mare was a different story.

As I walked through the driveway the neighbor lady was headed to her house and said, "Please go help him, he won't let me."

Apparently just after she left and right before I got there the mare jumped up, pulled back landed on the latch, she went under the trailer with her hind end, and somehow got her front foot stuck on the trailer somewhere, and had to yank it to get it unstuck.  When I got there she was hobbling around on 2 legs with a bloody lip, a huge gash under her chest and blood pouring out. He back leg was all cut up as well, but I could see that those were just superficial.  I helped him get her into a pen, just as the neighbor with the bucking horses pulled up. I guess the wife had called him for help as well.

The mare was shaking all over, couldn't put any weight on the left front or the right rear, and it seemed pretty likely from what he described that at the very least that front leg was broken.  His wife tried to call the vets personal cell, but didn't get an answer. She did not have the office number so I ran home to get my cell where I have the number.  While I was here I grabbed my vet box and threw together a bute mix in some senior feed.

As soon as I got back, I offered the bute mix to her owner to give her, which he did, and she calmed right down.

Finally the vet arrived.

When the vet she started with palpitation and said that she was actually very relieved with what she was feeling. No obvious breaks.   Xrays confirmed that miraculously there were no breaks.  We were all amazed.

She got another cocktail and they started checking out that gash. Some severed tendons and muscles but they should be repairable.

Luckily this horse is nothing more than a pasture pet because even though the wound is repairable, it would probably mean retirement for a horse with a job.  (That is what the vet said anyway)

I did learn that I over did the bute just a little, but the vet said that under the circumstances it was the right call.  Next time though, I will error on the side of caution.

The folks are moving out of that house and actually there was an open house yesterday.  Perfect way to show your house, with the vet sewing up a huge gash in one of your horses.  But with that in mind, the plan to move the horses that day to their new home was delayed for at least a week.  The folks are no longer living in this house so of course I offered to go over and give her the morning dose of antibiotics and bute that she needs for a while.  They both work in the mornings and so for them to do it would have been really difficult.

Last night when I was out feeding my horses I heard the little voice in my head again. It said, "Go check on Miss Hanna."  So I did.

When I got there she was laying down.  Given the amount of sedatives and stress she had been through I was not overly worried.  I talked to her a bit and she kind of flopped her head around and her breathing did not seem normal to me.

Now, I have never dealt with a case of colic yet, but because I know it is only a matter of time I am always reading what I can and have those warning signs engraved inside my brain.

So I smooched at her and asked her to get up.  She did and that is when I knew for sure that she was not in a good way.  She was highly agitated, flinging here tail constantly from side to side, she was biting at her sides, and pacing nervously. There was no manure in her pen at all.  She was also very sweaty.

All I could think was "Aw Crap! Why didn't I bring my phone!"

As quickly as she had gotten up, she threw herself back down again.  I raced for home.

I got a hold of her owners, who in turn called the vet, I grabbed a light and Simon came with me and we raced back to Hanna.  I had Banamine at the house to give her, but without the owners being there, and considering the amount of sedation and bute she had had earlier in the day, I was not comfortable with thought of dosing her.

By time we got back she was down and trying to roll, then she flopped on her side and I could not get her up.  I pulled, I smooched, I spanked her (not real hard) with a lead rope, it seemed as though she was giving up.

So I sat down next to her head and I talked to her. She was breathing so slow and would occasionally groan.  Simon sat there with me and we both just stroked her head and neck and tried to keep her awake.  Her partner in crime "Whiskey" was pacing nervously outside her pen and ever time she heard him she would move her head to see him.

He nickered to her and she nickered back, and acted like she might get up, so I made Simon move away and we tried again to get her dice.

About that time our flashlight died so all we had was the light of a cell phone.  She laid her head down and closed her eyes and I begged her not to give up yet.  She let out a huge groan and tears started to well up in my eyes.  But Simon said, "No Hanna!  You are not going to give up yet!" and he clapped his hands and she opened her eyes again.

Right about then her owners came.  While her husband got his generator going to get us some lights, the wife came with her little flashlight and took my spot next to Hanna's head.  She was not even supposed to be in there as per her husbands intructions (she had hit her head a few days before and has a concusion) but she was not going to stand outside the pen this time. So I helped her through the fence and gave her my spot.   She talked to Hanna and apologized for leaving her alone, and just sat there petting her.

Suddenly Hanna lifted her head and acted like she wanted to get up.  So we tried again, but still we could not.

Then the husband came with the generator and the lights and  while he was messing with that, Hanna tried again. He dropped what he was doing and we all pushed and pulled and coaxed and smooched, but then she laid back down.

So we let her rest for about 5 minutes and then she tried again and this time she really tried!  Just then the vet pulled up and ran to help us and with all of us pushing and pulling and encouraging her Hanna got back up.

The smile on the ladies face was from ear to ear, and never have I been so happy to see a horse on four legs in my life.

The vet went to work, checked her gums and the color was perfect, did a rectal and only found a small amount of dried manure. There was nothing abnormal so that was a good sign.  There were some gut sounds but they were very quiet.  She gave her another sedative and some banamine.

When I left they were getting ready to tube her just to see if anything would come up and then they were going to get some oil and water in her to get things moving.

I wanted to stay and watch but decided to let this family have their own time together without the "nosey neighbors".  Besides I was hungry and it was chilly and I didn't have a jacket.

I did go over this morning to feed and give her the meds she needed. She had passed manure and urine and was happy to see me.  Not because of me, but because she knew I was bring food, I'm sure.

She took her meds like a champ and was chowing down her food like she was ravenous.

I love that this story has a happy ending and even more I am so glad that I did not decide to ignore that voice in my head last night.  I'm pretty sure that if I had, I would not have come upon a happy scene this morning.


  1. Holy Smokes. It sounded bad when you told me about it yesterday. It's funny how you just know and can sense things like that. Good thing we didn't end up driving then?

    That's one thing about our neighbors. When it comes to the animals- people jump in and help. Plenty of knowledgeable folks around willing to lend a hand, because we all know- it could have been one of ours...

  2. You are a good neighbour! So glad the mare got up. I lost a dear horse to colic years ago despite the vet being right there. You never forget.

  3. Bless your heart Cindy!!! I'm sure that if you hadn't listened to your inner voice, Miss Hanna would probably not have made it. You're her savior now!! I bet she did look at you through renewed eyes that next morning...I think horses know when we've saved them. And the breakfast didn't hurt either. :) Thank God for Banamine!! What would we do without it? That poor, sweet mare...she's been through a lot in a short time. Hope she's well on her way to a complete recovery now. People love having neighbors like you! I know I would!