When we play ‘musical horses’ at SAFE, shifting paddock assignments around for one reason or another, we make two variations on the traditional rules of the game. The first is that everyone ends up with a spot at the end, and the second is that we typically don’t play music while we shuffle around. So while the lack of a chair pulled out from under them, literally or figuratively, might lead you to believe that this is a low-risk game for our herd, inevitably the disruption changing homes causes can, on occasion, be injurious.
We do our best to give each horse a house-warming gift when they switch locations. Be it a soupy mash or a flake of hay, a distraction is always a nice way to settle in to a new space. But sometimes, change is especially difficult for a horse to come to terms with, and there is little we can do but watch over them as they relax into their home.
Mirana was one such case. Herd bound to her friends, we moved her to get her a change of scenery and a new buddy to go out on grass with. But that initial day was a bit rough for the lady, and in her frantic maneuvering in her new paddock, she ended up crashing her head into the gate. A sudden and unfortunate accident, the exact kind that horses are especially prone to Luckily, we were already on the scene, as we were watching for the potential of something like this — not waiting, not expecting, but ready to take action if action was needed.
The cut was hiding beneath her forelock, which made it hard to see at first, but once we pulled away the curtain, a nice laceration was revealed, about 3″ in length, and definitely full thickness. Full thickness, meaning that each side of the wound moves independently of the other. Such injuries require vet attention, as stitches or another kind of professional aid is in order to help it heal.
We are ever so grateful to have good vets, who were quick on the scene to address Mirana’s head cut. Luckily, in the time after her injury, she managed to calm down somewhat, and we continued to stand by her as we waited for the vet, rinsing her off with the hose and letting her hand-graze a bit. When Dr Lewis arrived, she gave her some sedation, which Mirana stood very well for. Then, she got to work stitching her up. Dr Lewis put in a total of 10 stitches, no small amount! She then gave us a course of antibiotics to give the mare, and instruction to call her back out in a week or two to remove the sutures.
Over those next two weeks, Mirana settled in just fine to her new digs. She didn’t pull any repeat maneuvers that required the vet out, and met her neighbor, Roy, in their shared grass paddock, where the two got along famously from the jump. When the two weeks were up, it just happened to be the same day she was scheduled for a dental (happy coincidence), so out those stitches came. Well, aside from two, which were to be left in for another week or so juuuust to make sure she was fully healed. Dr Lewis also popped in a pair of staples at the widest part of the cut to really pull it all together, so to speak.
Finally, a week later, all was removed from Mirana’s face, leaving her with only the slightest indication anything had happened to begin with. And over the course of those weeks, as we watched Mirana’s cut heal, we also watched as she grew more confident in her surroundings, both in and out of her paddock.
Accidents and injuries are never fun, and never wanted, but we are so very grateful for our amazing team of vets over at Rainland who are always quick to take the very best care of our herd!