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Warmed a horse and maybe saved his life

 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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I live in North Texas which is experiencing the coldest weather in 15 years.  We have snow and ice and temperatures have not been above freezing for several days.  This has been wreaking havoc on everything roads, water pipes, power, animals, etc.  So the neighbor called the farmers I work for and said one of their horses was dead on the porch.  I went out with the husband farmer and we were getting ready to go with the tractor and chains to pull it off the porch.  Right before we left there was another call saying that the horse was still alive.  I got the thermometers, a few blankets, and jumped in the truck with wife farmer.  We got there and the horse was down on a concrete slab of one of their out buildings not moving and not looking well.  We covered him in blankets and we tried to get his temperature and it wouldn't even register on the digital thermometers.  They tried to reach a vet to come and put the horse down, but the line was busy.  Every now and then the horse would kick a little and stir.  We tied the horse's legs with straps and flipped him over.  That added a bit of life.  The next time he stirred we got behind him and forced him to sit up.  From there we worked straps under him, hooked them to the bucket of the tractor, and raised him to his feet.  We left him supported by the straps and got him some food.  This was two days ago and he seems fine.  The weather is supposed to thaw a little tomorrow so hopefully he will stay out of danger.  Pretty cool.
 
Vickie Hinkley
Posts: 52
Location: Toledo, WA
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Maybe?  For sure!!  Great Job.
 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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Vickie wrote:
Maybe?  For sure!!  Great Job.


Thank you.  I say maybe because he may not stay out of trouble for long.  Unfortunately the neighbors don't take the best care of their animals.  I'm hoping we saved him and are not just prolonging the inevitable by a few days.
 
Vickie Hinkley
Posts: 52
Location: Toledo, WA
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misfit wrote:
Thank you.  I say maybe because he may not stay out of trouble for long.  Unfortunately the neighbors don't take the best care of their animals.  I'm hoping we saved him and are not just prolonging the inevitable by a few days.



Yikes.  Sometimes I get depressed with the mud around here - with only two horses - and cows or heifers rotating thru - and tons of pole peelings - still too much mud - but on the whole they are good.  Maybe I mind the mud more than they... But I'm getting better at rationing the little paddocks - it's their treat every other day or so - and that way they have something to munch on and it doesn't doesn't become just another "sacrifice" area.  I'm still trying to visualize a Sepp's permaculture/perennial paddock where there is so much growth - even the horses can't destroy it - lol - tubby tuba horses - lol
 
                            
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Especially because of all the cold weather and people who are experiencing it who are unfamiliar with it... this is a great lesson to remember!

I had triplet goat kids born several years ago in 20+ below zero weather in an unheated barn. Doe went into labor a few days before I anticipated it, of course in the middle of the night. I was alerted that something was up by my dogs barking. When I got to the barn, one kid was on the floor, not only not moving, but the hair was frozen, unblinking and the mom was ignoring it and in the process of delivering the second. I was devastated at the "loss" of the kid as it was my first time kidding and I really like my goats a lot. The thought went through my mind "never dead until you are warm and dead". I picked the kid up and... dropped her inside of my shirt (BRRRR!!! so cold!), but then was distracted by the arrival of not only the second kid, but the third followed quickly. I'm fortunate I had not only an experienced doe, but also a dog who pitched in to help with cleaning, drying and keeping the kids warm. I have no idea how much time had elapsed, but kids 2 and 3 were up on the feet, dried and nursing, when I felt a feeble movement inside of my shirt (I had been so focused on the 2 and 3 kid, that I had forgotten about the first kid). She was very much alive.  She ended up minus about 1/3 of an inch of both ears, but has produced several very nice kids of her own though the years for me. When I picked her up off the barn floor, it wasn't as if she was cold and dying, I thought she was already dead. There were no detectable signs of life.

For everyone who is going through the cold right now... please keep this in mind... it may save the life of a chilled animal (or scarier still... human!).
 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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Yes Feral I agree try warming first, even if it seems like a lost cause.  Seeing the horse warmed up after seeing him lay there was like seeing two different animals.  The other thing that helped tremendously, was that once we put the blankets on the horse, the sun came out and was shining right on him.  We also took some metal panels off the porch so he had more room to lay down and this caused the sun to be on his face.  By the time we headed home it clouded up again.
 
                          
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This winter has been so bitter. It is sad that people forget that their animals need to stay warm too. So glad you were able to help that horse! Hopefully the weather will warm up soon!
 
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