Fortuitous timing was unmistakable as Gayda Errett of Balderton, Ontario realized the value her recent online educational venture - participating in Equine Guelph's new Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined herself applying the information learned about horse rescue, less than one month earlier, to her own beloved 29 year old horse, Sundance, but in the face of an emergency on Saturday, May 4, 2013, Gayda's newly found knowledge saved the day.
It was Gayda's husband who returned from the paddock with serious news that their beautiful Clyde cross was cast in his shelter in a state of stress and exhaustion. He had lain down too close to the outside wall of the stall and thus had no room to engage his front legs to get up. Gayda immediately called their vet but he was away. The vet on call was at another emergency and would not be available for another two hours! Realizing this was too long to wait, the next call was answered by a member of the fire department whose equipment would be able to help get Sundance back on his feet.
When help arrived, the firefighter's initial plan was to pull the stocky steed upright by putting strapping around his hind legs. Gayda knew this could be injurious to her horse, thanks to a video she had seen in the Behaviour and Safety short course which explained how to rescue a cast horse in a stall. She suggested they slide the webbing under his belly in order to pull him back away from the wall to give him space to get up. Much to everyone's relief, it worked perfectly!
Gayda recounts poor Sundance was absolutely traumatized and very weak from the ordeal of trying so hard to get up for such a long time. However, thanks to his successful rescue, he immediately drank water, ate another helping of his morning supplements and headed albeit with difficulty to the hay feeder to catch-up with breakfast. Gayda had Sundance examined by the vet after the ordeal and was grateful to have a bit more time to spend with the dear old boy. Unfortunately, Sundance was euthanized ten days later with complications that may or may not have been caused by the incident, but it was so important that Gayda had the knowledge to help that day.
Gayda says, "Thank you so much to Dr. Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph and emergency rescue specialist, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez for creating this important two-week online course. I am going to encourage all my fellow horse friends to take the upcoming fall offering of this course as a must!"
The next offering of Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop will be from September 9th to the 22nd, 2013. Sign up at www.EquineGuelph.ca/education. There are still a few spaces left!
Equine Guelph will also be offering two more invaluable short courses this fall covering Colic Prevention (Sept 23 - Oct 6) and Biosecurity Oct 21 - Nov 3).
by Jackie Bellamy for Equine Guelph