Tuesday night was supposed to be a quiet evening alone with a glass of wine, after having the grands here for five days. My tranquility was shattered by a phone call from my next-door-neighbor, Cameron, around 7 p.m. informing me that my horse had her belly caught on a fence between our pastures.
Fearing the worst, I jumped on my UTV and tore out to the back. It was Mallory, my TWH mare. Her front half was on my side of the fence and her back end on Cameron’s side. She had bent the fence a little trying to get over, but appeared unharmed. She was standing patiently while Cameron was trying to get the fence down in that section so he could free her. Fortunately, I had replaced the barbed wire there with horse fencing several years ago, or we’d have had a mess on our hands.
I went back to the barn for a halter and lead rope. I put them on Mallory, and when Cameron laid the fence down a little, I tried to coax her across. When she stepped forward, she caught a piece of fence wire under the shoe of her left front hoof. Cameron used broken wire cutters to twist and bend the wire enough to free her. Then he spent a few more minutes pulling that piece of wire from between shoe and hoof. I pulled the last two inches out when I got her back to the barn.
I don’t know how long she had been straddling that fence when Cameron’s son spotted her, or how long Cameron had been out there trying to free her. If they hadn’t seen her when they did, she could have stood there all night and possibly died of dehydration. If she had panicked, instead of remaining cool, calm and collected throughout the ordeal, she could have pulled her shoe and part of her hoof off trying to free herself. The question in my mind, though, was how in the world did she into such a position?
I know she’s in season, and Cameron’s stud horse is in the pasture next to mine. He was nonchalantly munching grass while we worked on Mallory, as if to say, “Who, me? I had nothing to do with it.” Wednesday morning, when my farrier came for his regular trimming and shoeing visit, he surmised that she had backed up and kicked at that stud, as if to say, "Not today, dear, I have a headache." Then her hind legs came down on the other side of the fence.
Several times that night I thanked God for pulling her through unscathed. Turns out she wasn't unscathed. My farrier pointed out several cuts and scrapes on her hind legs, and the swelling from her hocks (the rear-facing knee-like joints) to her thighs. The vet came out and determined her wounds were in the soft tissues, not the muscle or tendon, and not deep enough to require stitches. He gave her antibiotics and a shot of Banamine for pain.
His prescription included me giving her another pain shot around 7 p.m. that night and one a day for the next three days, putting an antibiotic powder in her feed once a day, and running cool water over her hocks for 10-15 minutes twice a day until the swelling goes down.
Praise God for a calm horse and a quick-thinking neighbor.