HANDS ON Tip

PIC­TURE THIS

EQUUS - - Eq Handson I -

I take a photo of my horse’s feet af­ter each far­rier visit, from a va­ri­ety of an­gles. This has proven very use­ful in track­ing changes in his hoof an­gles and cracks over time. Other­wise, it’s hard to re­mem­ber what things looked liked just a few weeks ago.— Denise Wilkin­son, Laramie, Wy­oming many fac­tors, how­ever, and some horses will “come around” af­ter 30 min­utes, while other re­main stu­pe­fied for an hour and a half. Dur­ing that time, you’ll want to keep him from eat­ing, mov­ing around or in­ter­act­ing with other horses.

A stall is the safest place for a se­dated horse to re­cover. But eat­ing while se­dated can lead to choke, so re­move all hay and grain. Also take out any hang­ing hay nets and any feed tubs set on the floor that the horse might trip over. A se­dated horse can safely drink, so it’s fine to leave wa­ter buck­ets in place. Once he’s in a stall, all you need to do is wait and watch him.

If a stall isn’t avail­able, look for a small en­clo­sure such as a round pen or dry lot---and again, look out for po­ten­tial trip­ping haz­ards. Avoid grass pad­docks or pas­tures: A groggy horse at­tempt­ing to walk as he grazes may stum­ble or tip over. You’ll also want a space free of other horses. A se­dated horse can­not safely in­ter­act with oth­ers, even if they are on friendly terms. With the horse stand­ing qui­etly in such a space, stay close to mon­i­tor his re­cov­ery.

If a stall or grass-free pen isn’t avail­able, your best op­tion is to put your horse on a long lead rope and sim­ply sit with him. Don’t tie him or put him on cross ties be­cause he’s likely to lean on the ropes and may fall if they break. Even if the ropes hold, the hal­ter can put pres­sure on fa­cial nerves, lead­ing to dam­age. It’s a long, bor­ing job, but it’s bet­ter to hold the horse on a lead rope your­self. Leave your cell phone in your pocket so you won’t be dis­tracted.

You’ll know your horse is fully re­cov­ered from se­da­tion when he be­gins to act like him­self again---knock­ing on the stall door for food or look­ing around to see where his friends are---and moves with­out hes­i­ta­tion or in­co­or­di­na­tion. At that point, he can re­turn to his nor­mal en­vi­ron­ment.

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