Well, if you can believe this… Mama Tess cast herself the other night.
She’s fine – but I was a wreck.
Thank HorseGods for good friends who came over to help… but I wanted to write this to refresh us all on what to do when your horse is cast.
HOW IT STARTED.
At 4am, I woke up to flailing and banging noises in the barn. I knew what it was immediately because Aladdin had cast himself several times previously (towards the end of his life, he had motor issues).
Telling myself that the noise wasn’t what it was, I threw on outside clothes and ran to the barn. Hubby was out of town.
When I turned on the barn lights and didn’t see MT but could hear her thrashing, I knew my fears were real.
…And there she was… cast in the huge double stall. Somehow, with all that free space, she had laid down right next to the window wall and couldn’t get up.
Calming myself, I told her, ‘WHOA! NOW! – You’re OK” even though I wasn’t sure what I had in front of me.
Inside my head I was thinking, “Great, we get this far into recovery from unrecoverable founder and she gets CAST? Unbelievable.”
MT laid there quiet as I looked her over. Nothing was broken and she had no scrapes that I could see. Her downside eye was fine.
I put a blanket under her face so she wouldn’t hurt her eye and then told her that I was in charge and that I would fix this. She was to remain quiet.
And, she did. Surprisingly. She didn’t thrash again.
MY PLAN – I KNEW WHAT TO DO
My plan was to find my long ropes that I used with Aladdin to wrap around her feet (carefully – never knotted) and pull her over – except I had put them away…
ARGH. I was able to put my hands on them relatively quickly but every moment matters when a horse is cast.
A horse should not lay cast because their organs are heavy and it can cause damage over a long period of time. Also, their legs go numb – which doesn’t help. And, they can thrash and hurt themselves in a number of ways…
Anyway, I put the ropes around her front and back legs and then pulled with all of my might.
I couldn’t pull her over.
And, she was too tired to help.
I adjusted the ropes to around her hocks, thinking that I might have more leverage, but that didn’t work, either.
We were both spent.
DO NOT LOSE YOUR FOCUS.
At this point, I had rope burns on my hands – another idea is to make sure you wear gloves… – and I was getting nowhere.
So, I got some bottled water and gave her several sips, which she enjoyed.
Then, I told her to “LAY STILL” as I went up to the house to call for help. Another idea – take the phone and your phone book (if a landline like mine) with you to the barn.
I called the vet and left a page. It was 4:20am.
I then called my good friends, Bonnie and Phil. Phil was a Sheriff for a million years and is good in these kinds of situations. Bonnie is solid as a rock. They have about 40 mules and horses on their place…
They didn’t answer and I didn’t blame them.
Luckily the phone rang instantly back and I knew it was somebody that could help.
It was Phil. “What’s wrong?”
Me: My horse is cast!
Phil (without hesitation): We’ll be right over.
They live about 30 minutes away. Angels.
As we waited, I sat right next to Tess’ head and stroked her. I gave her sips of water. I told her that help was on the way and to just lay there.
I hoped I was right… I hoped that she hadn’t hurt herself or that this wasn’t some kind of neurological thing starting like Aladdin had…
It took 45 mins. But, Bonnie and Phil arrived and calmly walked into Tess’ stall, speaking sweetly to her.
These are horse people.
After they made their introductions, Phil grabbed one rope and Bonnie grabbed the other.
I told Tess that it was time to try.
She did and as she rocked back, Phil and Bonnie pulled in unison, rolling Tess over easily.
Everyone released the ropes and backed out of the way instantly.
Tess got to her feet in a whirlwind!
She shook herself, licked and chewed. Then nickered and looked a bit chagrin. It was as if she knew she had gotten herself into a jam and was embarrassed.
Thank you HorseGods and earth angels.
We could tell that she was a bit tingly and numb, but she walked and asked for food.
I gave her a little and she ate. A good sign.
She then relieved herself. Another good sign.
I gave her STOPS COLIC, just as a good measure.
We humans watched her with hawk eyes as we chatted about what had just occurred.
I thanked them but couldn’t really thank them enough, if you know what I mean.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE INTERNET ON WHAT TO DO IF A HORSE IS CAST
After about an hour, I went back into the house and searched the internet for what I could have done. This is what I learned.
1) I could have grabbed her mane and pulled directly backwards to move her. The important part is to only pull backwards – not up or down.
2) I could have used her tail in the same way – as leverage – by pulling in the direction of her spine only. This might have gotten her away from the wall enough for her to right herself.
3) I could have used some type of device to help her move away from the wall. In this case, her front was far enough away from the wall where I could have put a big block of bagged shavings in front of her. She could then possibly have been able to push back on it (as the bag was against the wall) and moved herself far enough away from the wall.
SHE’S FINE – SHE DEFINITELY KNOWS AND LEARNED!
Tess is fine. It was scary, but she is fine.
What I find fascinating and very telling is that Tess has now decided to sleep in the aisle.
When I went to check on her an hour later after the event, she was laying in the aisle. SHE HAS NEVER DONE THAT – EVER.
I looked at her and she looked at me. Clearly, she had decided that this was best.
So, I triple bedded the aisle in her chosen spot.
She’s slept there ever since.