A little “Horse Sense” goes a long way!
Beyond any doubt, there are those who know far more than I’ve even thought about in relation to the care of horses, but there are a few things that over the course of years of operating an equine rescue have become “rules of the road” in horse keeping.
Having witnessed far too many ripped and torn bodies from barbed wire, the “no barbed wire in areas less than 5 acres” rule is basic in our adoption application. We all know better, or at least I hope we do, but I still hear people tell me, “I’ve had barbed wire around my horse’s pens for years and he knows to never touch it.” It takes just once to maim or kill a horse. By then it’s too late.
Another rule – never tie a horse in a trailer. The rule is proven when some drunk nobody runs into the side of your trailer, flipping it over. What might have been a minor accident for your horse can easily turn into a horse with a broken neck – because he was tied. Saw it, tried to help, but the horse never had a chance.
Tying a horse to a tree is just plain dumb. Sure years can pass and nothing happens, but on that hot afternoon when no one is around, here comes that dog that has to nip at the horse’s feet, the horse runs around the tree trying to escape and… you don’t even want to picture the end result.
This weekend another rule of good horsemanship was broken by an owner that should have known better. The rule – never leave a halter on an unattended horse. I’ve seen the broken rule end up in a couple of very ugly deaths. The rule breaker this weekend didn’t lose the horse – yet.
It’s in our hospital, the result of using a hind foot to scratch his head, something most horses do quite often. This time the hoof got caught in the halter, the horse fell down and stayed twisted up and struggling for hours on end before someone finally came outside and saw what was happening.
His head is swollen to almost twice it’s normal size. Because the horse could barely breath, Doc Jenkins did an emergency tracheotomy and inserted a breathing tube. He’s been on IV fluids since Friday.
So just another example of horse owners not thinking. There was no reason to leave that halter on. The horse is a pocket horse – loves people. An act of laziness and while the result didn’t kill the horse – yet – there will be thousands of dollars in medical bills and the horse may never again be the same.
Habitat for Horses, Inc.
PO Box 213
Hitchcock, TX 77563