Needs Bubble Wrap

It's never good news when your barn owner calls. We slept in late on Saturday morning and, when we finally got up, found a voicemail from the barn owner saying Shasta was injured. All we knew was that she had been found outside of her stall and was pretty cut up. The barn owner walked the whole pasture/paddock and couldn't find anything down or open.

We put aside our beach plans and headed over to the barn to check on Shasta. I took one look at her and told my husband to go call the vet and have her come out today. We'd pay the emergency rate, and not to let her talk him in to waiting until Monday.

While he was off calling the vet - we have no cell reception at the barn, so he had to drive up to the owner's house to use her land line - I took Shasta out and hosed her wounds. She managed to scrape skin off all four legs and she clearly did it trying to jump out of her stall. After my husband got back, I looked around and found where she jumped.

This is her stall door. It's about 4'6" and totally solid. It was also covered in scratch marks and scraped off hair. My husband and the vet were really impressed, like "can you believe she jumped this?" And I was like, "no, this is not impressive, because she clearly did not jump it." I would say she failed to jump the door. She accomplished getting to the other side, but I would call it crashing, not jumping.

The left side had a lot more success in jumping than the right. Most of the hair was on the right side of the stall door too. I only had my iPhone with me so the lighting is pretty bad on these pictures.

Left hind

Left front

Right front

Right hind
The vet eventually arrived and looked at Shasta. Shasta was not tolerating any touching of the wounds so the vet had us trot Shasta briefly in the ring before sedation.  The vet said she looked pretty sound and said we might have dodged a bullet.

We then had to wrestle her into letting the vet sedate her because Shasta hates vets and needles. But once she was drugged, she dropped right off. The vet cleaned up the scrapes. The ones on her hind right were deeper and close to going through the skin but luckily didn't go through and no stitches were required. Shasta got cleaned, sprayed with Alu-Spray, and then given an injection of Banamine, an anti-biotic, and a steroid. Shasta was so out of it she was leaning on the cross-tie pole and resting her head's weight on the cross-tie. It did make giving her the shots much easier.

Very Drunk Pony

I've mentioned on the blog before, but I'll re-cap: Shasta was kicked in the right stifle a few months after we bought her and was lame for months. This could have been a career ending injury and it requires maintenance to this day. Her biggest risk is any down time. If the muscles in her stifle get loose, she goes off pretty quickly.

So not only did she bash this same stifle in jumping out of her stall - not good - we were also very concerned that any down-time or stall rest would set her back months. The vet was also concerned and said to only give her the weekend off, a very light ride Monday, and then start back towards regular work. She said Shasta may be sore on the stifle as she bashed it pretty hard, but that getting the anti-inflammatories into her before she started swelling up would help.

In addition to the injections, Shasta will be on Tri-Dex and Bute for 5 days. She will also be living behind chains from now on. After she sobered up enough to go back to her stall, we went to Home Depot and bought new clips and a chain to make this:

You can also get a sense for just how high this door is in comparison to Shasta. She's not a tall horse and it's not a small door. She was found in the morning behind the paddocks eating grass. One of the other horses was also out this morning; he apparently climbs over his electric fence pretty frequently. Our best guess is Shasta saw him out enjoying freedom and pitched a temper tantrum and tried to jump her stall. Her pasture is entirely fenced in with metal pipe corrals and triple bar wooden fencing so the door was probably the lowest point.

In the past Shasta has ducked under her stall guard, unlocked gates with various chains/clips, broken a stall guard, untied herself, walked through electric fencing, and generally proved herself to be an escape artist. You can see the string hanging from the door handle in the picture above. It holds a carabiner that we have to clip on the the door latch as Shasta knows how to open the door latch alone. The vet asked if we thought there had been a mountain lion because it was unusual for a horse to want to escape their stall like that, and both my husband and I said, no, it's entirely usual for her. This is just the most extreme tactic she's tried and the first time she's really injured herself escaping.

She's not out of the woods yet. It's possible she'll develop an infection or the stifle will suffer as the swelling starts. The vet was glad we had called though and said it was much better to be treating this right away. She also said we were very lucky it wasn't worse.

Shasta the next day - Sunday