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Emergency Plans For Horse Sitters
When a horse owner leaves their horse in the care of others, it
can be a nerve wrecking experience. The thoughts of what
might go wrong can plague you, even if you have faith in the
abilities of the caregivers. What if's can play games with your
mind; what if the horse becomes ill, what if they get out, what
if he or she is injured, what if there's an emergency where a
vet is necessary?
I house sit for a man who owns five horses. They are all in
close quarters, wandering freely around a large stall. One
night, we came down to feed and found his older mare in
one of the covered areas. She had been kicked by one of
his newer horses, and her leg hung limp. She had a
baseball-sized wound on the inside of her back thigh and
she was squirting blood from an open vein. We immediately
called his neighbors, who also owned horses. They came
over right away and helped us to keep her comfortable.
We tried to call the vet listed, but he wouldn't come up until
the morning. Luckily, our neighbors had their vet and called
her right away. She came out as soon as she could and
examined her. Needless to say, the mare's leg was broken,
and she needed to be put to sleep. We spent the next
forty-five minutes or so trying to contact the owner. After
we finally caught him, he spoke to the vet for five minutes
before giving permission. Two hours after we found her,
she was euthenized.
Situations like this are why it's essential to have a plan in
effect. If the horse is being watched at home, be sure that
there are friends with horse savvy who can be called for
help in the case of an emergency. Leave a list of emergency
numbers, including, but not limited to, your vet and farrier.
Have a plan for any extreme situation, including if your
horse needs to be euthenized. Should you be unavailable,
tell a family member or close friend what you would want
should your horse be in pain. Having these plans ready may
help your horse, and ease your nerves.