|Irish, January 2020|
Yesterday there was an incident with Irish and it is hitting me hard. Spoiler alert: we're okay. Well mostly. You'll see as I tell my story.
I had the afternoon off yesterday and I was looking forward to some down time. I figured I'd walk Guinness, feed the horses their afternoon hay and then go have lunch. Followed by some yoga and reading.
In the winter I divide the hay feed into morning and afternoon. For the afternoon I usually put the hay on the ground up in the field so that they have to do some walking and not just stand at the buffet all day. I was careful about where I put it and made sure that there was a clear path without ice. Which Carmen took. However, Irish did not. He opted to go a different path that had ice under the snow.
I heard a noise and I looked to see his hind end out from under him and him scrambling to get some purchase. Carmen was looking at him with her eyes bugging out. He almost got it and then his feet slid again and he went down, hard.
Carmen ran around him and then spied me and came up running full tilt. I went and grabbed a halter and lead and walked out to Irish. I put the halter on and tried to help him get up but he couldn't do it. I was all alone but had my cell. I called Julia who didn't answer so I figured she was working. I shot her a quick text and then called Ed. He was at the shop getting tires replaced on the truck. I told him what happened and he said he'd be home as soon as he could. He went to the desk and said there was an emergency could they please hurry.
Irish tried again and with me putting some traction on the lead got up and I started to lead him carefully away from the ice. And then his feet went out and down he went again, really hard.
And this time he stayed down.
I knew I was going to need help so I called Tanya. She and her husband ran out of the house and came right away but she's not next door so there was time. I ran and grabbed some sand and shavings and put it all around Irish. He tried again but really couldn't do it. I told him to wait and that I was there. While all this was going on it started to snain (that rain/snow combo).
Once again I was holding the lead of a horse that could not get up and I was all alone. I could feel emotions coming out and, as that happened, Irish began to struggle. I stopped and took a number of deep breaths and pictured myself holding Irish in my hand (like a baby bird) and I sent that image to him. He settled back down. I noticed that his tongue was hanging out and his eyes were closing. Carmen hovered around and then went to eat the hay, watching us all the while.
|sorry for the graphic photo- I took it in case I need to |
contact the vet and she had any questions
(don't judge me)
Ed came zooming in the driveway and I told him to put Guinness in the house and grab some boots with traction (he was wearing sneakers). Then Tanya and Larry arrived. Both of them are awesome in a crisis. I gave Larry the lead to keep steady traction on which Tanya and I harrassed, encouraged and supported Irish to get up.
And he did get up and stood there shaking. I took the lead and slowly we creeped over to the a bare patch and got him into the stall. Carmen tried to stay super close. She was in the way and I shooed her but let her be beside him for moral support.
Irish was in his stall, wet and shaking. People we talking but it felt like I was in the bottom of a well. I could hear them but couldn't make out what they were saying.
just a minute I said and walked to the trunk outside Irish's stall and sat down. And then I began to cry. I felt relief, guilt and worry all at the same time. Ed gave me a hug and I got up to change his blanket and get the stall organized.
When I got back to the house I felt like a wrung out dish rag. I jacked the heat up to get warm and spent a couple hours on the couch just reading and trying to get the adrenaline out of my system. It doesn't take a genius that I was dealing with both what happened and the memories it revived.
That night I gave him and Carmen a good groom and double check on how he was. He felt good enough to snark at Carmen in the barn aisle.
Last night he really didn't eat and his mouth looks a little funny so I wonder if he bit his tongue. This morning he had clearly stall walked all night. I gave him some Gastric F/X and turned him out. He carefully followed the path to the hay and is behaving himself.
|can you tell his muzzle looks wonky?|
Carmen is doing okay with the current footing so I think that Irish, with his neurological issues and poor hind end just can't cope with winter footing. My plan is to get him through the winter and evaluate if I should be subjecting him to another winter. But like I like to say 'that's a problem for a different day'.
I am so fortunate to have a circle of people that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can call when I'm in trouble and they will drop everything and come. There was no way I was going to get Irish up on my own. It is so important that these are the people in your circle. As I age, I am consciously choosing these people to be the ones I call friends. I hope that they know that I would drop things for them if they need me.
what a terrifying ordeal -- i'm so sorry for you both <3 ugh nothing is worse than being confronted with the helpless reality of our horses' sheer mass at a time like that. so glad you were able to summon the forces, and that Irish was able to get up hopefully not much worse for the wear <3ReplyDelete
Thank you. It helps to write it down- both emotionally and to remember if I have to in the future.Delete
OMG that's so terrifying! Definitely a concern I have for my old chestnut man, too. ❤️❤️ One thing I learned after Pig got trapped down in the horse trailer is that they'll go into a bit of shock when down like that. Apparently the sensation of having their feet on the ground really helps restart things. Colic can be a slight concern after something like that, too. So whatever you can do to keep this gut motility high (lots of water and stuff like soaked hay pellets) is helpful. Sounds like he's largely okay, which is such a blessing. 😭❤️ReplyDelete
I've been trying. He didn't eat breakfast this morning but was that colic? His mouth hurting? Irish will occasionally refuse to eat. It's very frustrating.Delete
Also definitely no shame from me about photos during hard moments. I do that a lot. It's helpful during times when you're a little in shock and working in crisis mode. Totally normal.ReplyDelete
Very scary. You were so on it to use calming mental imagery to help calm him. Horses are SO sensitive. Hope he recovers ok and HUGS to you.ReplyDelete
I have learned how much mental energy helps with horses. Whether they receive it or if it just changes my body language, I don't know. I'm okay with not knowing :)Delete
Sorry you had such a terrifying ordeal. Could you put just regular white livestock salt on the path he needs to walk on?ReplyDelete
not sure what white livestock salt is. I do have traction salt and sand out. The problem is that he doesn't always make good choices on where to walk.Delete
Handling a situation like that (and you did well) we focus so hard on the problem at hand, and once it is resolved there is a huge emotional let down, like a dam bursting. Tears are a good thing, they are a release.ReplyDelete
So thankful for the people who came and helped.
You might try a warm bran/alfalfa mash for him if he still is reluctant to eat?
Thanks. I am looking at some options. he's eating a little better but I'm not happy yet.Delete
Sending you and Irish big hugs. I am glad he is mostly okay!
And FWIW, I've taken photos of difficult moments so that I have time stamps when I need to string events together for a Vet. I find it's helpful instead of trying to write out little notes on your phone - a picture speaks a thousand words!
That being said, I've also taken photos of their first poo after a colic episode or their first drink so I have records of it.
We sound very similar. :) which is not surprising. I am actually glad that I took photos.Delete
Oh that's all so scary! I'm glad you have a wonderful circle of friends that were able to help. I hope he'll be feeling like his usual self soon. Ice is just the worst. I really think some horses just don't understand it.ReplyDelete
I hate ice so much. This year has been more treacherous than others.Delete
I cried a little bit reading that because I can only imagine how scary that was given your history 😭 I'm so sorry you both went through such a scary ordeal but I'm glad he seems mostly no more worse for the wear 🤞🤞🤞ReplyDelete
Thank you so much.Delete
The first post I read on your blog was the one where you lost Steele. This brought back vivid memories for me as a reader, so I can only begin to imagine the emotional roller coaster this event put you through. I'm so sorry this happened, Teresa, but I am so glad both you and Irish are okay, and that you had so many amazing people to help both of you. I hope Irish continues to be okay! Sending hugs.ReplyDelete
I am so grateful to have such good people around me. It was truly horrible. I am grateful that it didn't send me into a worse negative spiral and that I was able to deal in the moment. It tells me that the work I have done for myself is helping.Delete
I'm so glad he had that blanket on when he couldn't get up. Imagine if he was on the ice without it, ugh. When my horse was stuck under that bridge, he just gave up and like Irish, waited on humans for help. The only photo I have was the one from the police, and he truly does look dead. From that photo I learned I'd taken off my jacket and lain it over his chest. Your weather is terrifying. It makes rain and mud feel so much better - and safe. It sucks that you were trying to do the right thing - let your horses have as much natural movement as possible, and it went horribly wrong.ReplyDelete
Mud can be dangerous but not as much as ice. Part of me wondered if the blanket made it harder for him to get up but you're right- it did help keep him warm.Delete
Oh gosh. That sounds terrifying! I'm so glad it's turned out OK.ReplyDelete
Thank you. I am glad tooDelete
I’m so sorry. I have been there before with our Old Red. I was all alone, and had to grab a shovel and chip away at the ice, throw down shavings, then got a rope around him and pulled him up. Of course, I found Cowboy down like that last spring, no ice, but he also has hind end issues. I heartached about whether to ask him to make it through this winter, but finally did. He’s cooped up in a stall until all this melts, but that is also causing issues with his hind end. They really need to move, so don’t beat yourself up. It’s better to have tried to give him that option. Being out is the #1 best thing for them, unless they absolutely can’t.ReplyDelete
It’s so hard when they get like this. I’m going to do some hard thinking this summer.Delete
Hi Teresa. Just checking back. I hope Irish is okay, but more importantly, I hope you are.ReplyDelete
Sorry, it’s been a hell of a week. Yes I’m do8ng better. Every day Irish is a little better.Delete
That is so scary! I'm so glad it ended well for all. Maybe it's better to keep Irish in a smaller paddock when it's icy? Maybe it's OK for him to "stay at the buffet table," all things considered! Sending all best wishes to all of you! Good luck with this next storm!ReplyDelete
It’s a catch 22. The less he moves the more his hind end will fail. But I do have him in a smaller area.Delete
That's so scary! I'm glad you two are recovering ❤️ReplyDelete