Inspired by a free webinar that KAM’s Equine Learning Circle is hosting on Monday, September 26, 2011 about Equine Emergencies (go to www.kamanimalservicesto 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 is the final part of a three-part series since there were too many stories to fit in one column.
Susan Hoffman and Bonus check and Sherman
Susan Hoffman and her husband (Phil) are middle-aged riders who live in Unionville, PA. Susan wrote, “We are foxhunters, paper chasers and English Pleasure riders. We keep our horses and our mini-donkey ‘Frito’ on our farmette. We trailer our horses a few time a week to get to hunt meets or paper chases or just to visit and ride with friends, so I’m not surprised with the amount of time we spend on the road that we got into a trailer accident (more details below). I hope history doesn’t repeat itself!
“Our horses at that time were ‘Bonus Check,’ a 10-year old, liver chestnut Appendix QH gelding, and ‘Sherman,’ an 8-year old, grey, mostly Percheron gelding. They were both healthy, fun-loving pleasure horses. (Both now with new owners.)”
And now Susan shares her story: “We were in a bad trailering accident when our truck was hit head on. We weren’t sure how badly out two horses were injured, although my husband’s horse showed obvious signs of bleeding and potential serious head trauma.
“Fortunately, we had our cell phone with us and in addition to calling 911 and AAA we called our vet to alert them to the accident, the horse’s external injuries and potential internal injuries. We also called friends who had trailers to ask them to please come ASAP and get our horses to our farm and stay with them for the veterinary exam.
“Believe it or not, complete strangers with a trailer showed up first. They just happened to be coming down the same road with their truck and empty horse trailer when they stumbled upon our accident. It was a bit of a risk but we trusted them to load our two horses on their rig and take them to our barn. (We explained where we lived and they knew exactly which farm it was, about 10 miles away.)
“They were wearing jackets from a local equine carriage club so we knew they were local and hopefully honest. They did stay with the horses during the veterinary exam and even offered to transport the horses to the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center (the closest equine hospital) if the vet thought it necessary.
“In the midst of all this, I was attending to the occupants of the car that hit our truck. The three women inside were injured and at that time I was Red Cross certified in First Aid. I was running back and forth between humans and horses until the ambulance showed up and took over the human medical duties. I remember this like it was yesterday, although it was a few years ago.
“The day of the accident we were enroute from our farm to a nearby conservation area that allows horseback riding. I would stress to your readers that any trailer trip, even a local, short one like the one we were taking, can become an emergency situation. ALWAYS have your cell phone with you and make sure it is fully charged. Make sure your veterinarian’s phone number is programmed into your contacts list. ALWAYS call 911 first and keep your calm while reporting to authorities what is going on, and then attend to the emergency situation.
“Since that accident we now ALWAYS carry human and equine first aid kits in our truck in thermal coolers (to keep items from overheating and/or freezing). These are clearly labeled and contain basic first aid items. Even when we’re not trailering we keep the kits in the truck in case we come across someone else’s emergency situation. I even keep extra halters and lead ropes in the truck.
“I found it interesting that although our horses were shaking and possibly ‘shocky’ after the accident, they unloaded for us rather well and did not hesitate to get onto another trailer. My vet told me (later) that the horses probably weren’t afraid to reload because (A) they trusted us, and (B), they were already used to loading on friends’ trailers from time to time. So, the lesson learned here is to get horses used to loading and unloading on different types of rigs to desensitize them to the experience.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this three-part series, 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 free webinar taking place tonight, September 26. 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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