Inspired by a free webinar that KAM’s Equine Learning Circle is hosting on Monday, September 26, 2011 about Equine Emergencies (go to www.kamanimalservices to sign up), I went to HARO (a web site that allows journalists to reach out to find anecdotes for their stories) and asked if anyone had some equine emergencies they cared to share. The response was quite good and so I’m going to share some of those stories which I’m sure will inspire you to “be prepared.” This will be a three-part series since there were too many stories to fit in one column.
Carrie Leber and Fancy
Carrie Leber is in the world of Public Relations but like me she has a passion for horses. Carrie founded her Carrie Leber Public Relations company in 1996 after a successful career in modeling and broadcasting. She’s also worked extensively in TV, radio and print in a variety of capacities.
When I asked Carrie to tell us a bit about her before telling about her emergency she wrote, “After graduating from SFSU, I landed a position at Oakland based KTVU News. Fascinated with the media’s ability to shape both culture and public opinion I absorbed as much about the media industry as possible, working in virtually every capacity at the station for the award winning Ten-O’Clock News and Mornings on 2 productions. Later I worked at CNN as both Field Producer and Assignment Editor.
“In 1994 I took on the challenge of managing a faltering construction firm based in Marin County, CA. After making extensive managerial alterations to the company’s processes and embarking on a public relations campaign, I transformed the $50,000 per year, home based business into an impressive $3 million per year major concern over a period of just 18 months.”
Carrie’s love of horses started when she was very young and today she owns a horse farm in Connecticut. Now it’s time to have Carrie share her equine emergency with us.
“My mare Fancy got loose from a round corral a few years back and ran full speed into a low hanging branch on a pine tree – the result: the entire top of her head was scraped off. Apparently this is quite common with horses that don’t trailer well – they often scrape the top of their heads off rearing out of the back of the trailer!”
Carrie immediately took action. “I calmly walked Fancy back to her stall and held her head up while the emergency vet was contacted. (I worked very hard not to pass out or look at the injury directly as that would create an atmosphere of panic as I’m not good with blood or wounds). Fancy oddly didn’t seem very phased by her injury even though her skull was clearly visible.
“The vet was perfect and upbeat – he came in with his assistant and within 30 minutes had her forehead stapled up, and pulled back together. Amazingly, she healed completely within 6 weeks and there are no visible scars from the incident.”
Carrie has these thoughts to share, “I think the key with animal injuries, particularly horses, is to remain completely calm, not to raise your voice, move around quickly, or give in to fear.”
Sarah Stone and Mindstream Academy
Sarah Stone is from Mindstream Academy (www.mindstreamacademy.net), a health and wellness boarding program for teens and tweens who want to get fit, lose weight and achieve a variety of personal growth goals. Sarah believes that the relationship between the students and the horses is why the students achieve long term success.
Students are partnered with horses for a variety of team building and therapeutic exercises and safety is paramount. Students are encouraged to respect boundaries with Mindstream’s horses, in order to help avoid an “equine emergency.”
As Sarah explained, “When horses feel that a human has invaded their personal space, the flight instinct kicks in and it doesn’t always end pretty. One of our previous students consistently was a space invader and got nibbled, bit, head butted.”
Sarah wrote, “On one occasion, when there was a group activity going on in the arena, the horses were moving around quickly and I had to stop the activity to move students away from horses. That is why there is always a horse professional in the arena during the Equine Assisted Activity sessions. It is their responsibility to keep everyone safe and to help interpret and teach horse language to the students.
“In one riding lesson, not MindStream, a rider came off of a horse and EMS had to be called. In that case, our training as certified instructors calls for a plan of action to ensure the safety of all involved. As with all emergencies, the scene has to be made safe; while the fallen student is evaluated, the other horses are removed from the area and halted with their riders dismounted. The usual protocol was followed as in calling 911 and the rider was kept still until EMS arrived. Of course, with horses involved, it is important to get all horses away from the emergency and moved to a location away from emergency vehicles and individuals. That in itself can cause another accident with the loud sirens and quick moving EMS personnel.
“Also, in an emergency where horses are involved, it is very important to keep voices down and not have screaming, which can elevate the fear factor in horses and make matters much worse. On this I will add a little story of my own. As an instructor, I once was teaching a child who allowed her horse to trot over a very small jump. Seeing that all was well and safe after going over it, I said to the child, ‘Do you know you just jumped a jump?’ The response to this was a fearful screech, scaring the horse who took off at a gallop finally slamming to a stop in the corner of the arena dumping the rider in a heap. The child was fine, just a bit shaken.”
I’ve got a few more stories to share over the next couple of days, so be sure to subscribe to this Examiner page so you can be alerted each time a new story goes up. And sign up now for KAM’s Equine Emergency webinar. Get all the details by going to www.kamanimalservices.com. The panelists will be answering questions at the end of the webinar.
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