How To Help A Cast Horse

A cast horse is in a literal jam. He laid down in his stall or near a fence, rolled over and uh-oh! His legs are in a position that prevents him from standing up. Your horse may panic and thrash, injuring himself on a fence or wall. He needs to be righted quickly to prevent injury, shock or exhaustion.

A cast horse needs room to rise. If he’s cast with his legs against the wall, it may be as simple as pulling on the mane just enough to get the head and front legs away from the wall. A few inches may be all that’s needed. Put a towel under his head to protect his eye, and stand behind the horse’s back to avoid being kicked.

More often, you’ll need to roll the horse over to get his feet away from the wall. If your horse is calm, this is pretty easy although you will need to be alert and careful to stay out of danger.

If a cast horse is thrashing and really panicky, it’s a dangerous situation for both of you. Your horse will be trying to use his head as a fulcrum to get up, so it’s possible to still a downed horse by having an assistant kneel on your horse’s neck and hold his muzzle off the ground. This will allow you to attach rescue lines or administer a sedative if you’re qualified.

1. Loop a rope two longe lines or other long, soft ropes around and above his hock (rear leg) and knee (front leg) on the side opposite the direction of the roll (the legs touching the ground). Do NOT tie or secure the ropes.

2. Make sure that you can get out quickly. Your horse may thrash or kick. Pull evenly on both the longe lines to bring the legs over his trunk at the same time.

3. As the horse begins to roll past his withers, drop one line and pull the other out of the stall as you leave. Your horse may leap to his feet, and you don’t want to be in his way and you don’t want him to get tangled in the ropes.

If you horse is cast with this back towards the wall, he’s not able to get the momentum needed to begin the process of standing. If he has his halter on, simply hook the lead line on and pull him away from the wall.

If he’s not wearing his halter, put one on if you can do so safely. You can try putting a blindfold on to calm him.
If you’re not able to get a halter on, approach him from from the head. Slide a long rope behind and beneath his neck. Do NOT tie the rope in any way. Give yourself enough length in the rope so that you’re not within kicking range (about 5′). From a safe position, gently pull him away from the wall. Be aware that as you’re pulling, he’s going to try to get up. Always keep a grip on one end of the rope so you can pull the rope out with you. Pulling the rope out prevents your horse from getting tangled in the rope.

If righting a cast horse is beyond your abilities or your horse appears injured, call your veterinarian.
Once the horse is up, check him carefully for injuries. Monitor him closely for several hours to make sure a colic didn’t cause him to roll. Also, swelling or other injuries may not appear immediately, so check his legs every few hours.

Tip: Install a wireless baby monitor in your horse’s stall. You’ll be able to hear any signs of distress.
If a horse becomes cast on a regular basis, he may need a bigger stall. If that’s not possible, try banking the bedding up around the walls of the horse’s box.

Other preventative measures:

Anti-cast rollers, worn around your horse’s girth. According the the manufacturer, they provide leverage for your horse to regain his footing.

Anti-casting stall strips are vertically ribbed EVA matting strips. Installed 18-39″ above the floor, these strips promise to give enough purchase to the hooves to let your horse to push himself over safely.

How To Give Horse Dewormer

Do you look forward to giving horse dewormer? Love to fill that syringe and have your happy, cooperative horse open wide and say yum? I didn’t think so. Giving dewormers is one of those horse care chores that horsekeepers hate and horses hate more.

What you’ll need:

Your horse’s estimated weight
Deworming tube
Deworming products
Applesauce
Patience and persistence

Despite added flavorings, horses don’t usually like paste dewormers. But they do like applesauce. And you can use that to your advantage.

You’ll need to start this slightly sneaky equine deworming program at least two weeks before you plan to administer the real deworming product.

Two weeks prior to deworming:

Calculate your horse’s weight.
Purchase the correct equine dewormer and set it aside.
Fill an clean, empty deworming tube with applesauce.

Insert the first few inches of the tip of the syringe into the corner of your horse’s mouth where the bit usually sits. It should be pointed towards the back of your horse’s mouth. Inject the applesauce. Yum!
Give her a little grain after the applesauce.

Repeat the process every day. In a few days, she’ll happily accept the applesauce.

On deworming day:

Fill the syringe with the correct amount of paste dewormer.

Dip the tip of the dewormer tube in applesauce and administer the medication to your horse. Act casual. No big deal…just a funny tasting batch of applesauce!

Over the next few days, give her an applesauce dose.

If you continue to give the applesauce dose periodically, your horse will be much less apprehensive about the deworming procedure. “Hey”, she’ll be thinking…”If I get good applesauce 99 percent of time, it’s worth it!”

Horse Watering: Keep It Clean!

Be honest. Would you drink out your horse’s water trough? Rethink your horse watering practices if the thought makes you a little queasy.

Your horse might not be too fussy about a few leaves or a bug or two, but truly fouled water can make your horse sick.

Here are few suggestions to keep your horse’s water clean and fresh. Good horse watering techniques can be really simple.

Raise the water level: Use hanging water buckets. Lifting the bucket off the floor keeps waste, bedding and food out of the water. It also eliminates tip-overs.

Clean, clean, clean:Remove gunk daily. Keep an inexpensive pool skimmer handy. Every time you pass the water trough, skim the leaves, bugs and hay. Do this a few times a day and you’ll keep the water cleaner longer.
Scrub the tanks: Run your hand along the side of the tank. Slimy? It’s time to scrub. Use a bristle brush and vinegar. Rinse well and fill ‘er up.

Grow some good bacteria: Consider a drop-in stock tank cleaner that grows and dispenses a blend of beneficial bacteria and enzymes to break down organic waste, sludge, and accompanying odors.

Bebug: If insect contamination is a problem consider organic insect control and traps to help control them. In water troughs, consider an insect control additive, such as the Mosquito Torpedo, and clean with a scraper.

Test the waters: Many local municipalities and Environmental Protection Agency offices test water samples. It is especially important to test your water after floods, heavy storms, and after any damage to wells or plumbing systems is incurred.

Move the manure: Do not locate manure piles near water sources. Keep them at least 500′ (1,000′ is better) from any water source including wells, ponds and streams.

Toxic alert: Limit chemical use. If you do use pesticides, herbicides and/or fertilizers, follow the directions carefully.

Fence off ponds, lakes and streams: Algae blooms, chemical runoff and wildlife waste can contaminate water and sicken horses. If you must use a natural water source, use an aeration system to circulate the water and test it frequently.

Horse Supplements: Electrolytes

When choosing horse supplements, electrolytes should be on your list.

Even at rest, a horse drinks about ten gallons of water a day. Under stress or during heavy training, your horse may not take in all the fluids that she needs. Adding electrolytes to your horse’s diet will maintain the balance and flow of vital body fluids, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the healthy function of the muscles and the circulatory system. Because some electrolytes such as sodium and chloride are in short supply in horse hay and grain, it is important to provide supplemental electrolytes.

Check the label carefully. Look for chloride and/or acetate combinations such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride or calcium acetate, potassium chloride; these are quickly and easily absorbed. Avoid products that use di-calcium phosphate (which horses don’t absorb very well) and those that list sugar, dextrose or corn syrup as the first ingredient.

Important: Electrolytes containing bicarbonate are formulated for horses with diarrhea. These can be harmful when used as an electrolyte supplement for stress and exercise.

Your horse needs supplemental electrolytes whenever she’s under unusual stress. This may include:
Long trailer rides (of one hour or more) or if the weather is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter.

When she works in conditions — heat plus high humidity — that make it more difficult for her to dissipate body heat. Electrolytes can help preventequine heat stress.
When she sweats profusely.

When she works harder or longer than she’s accustomed to.

Add the supplements to your horse’s feed instead of the water, since she may not take in enough water to make the supplementation effective. Additionally, if your horse doesn’t like the taste, she may drink even less water than normal, causing potentially dangerous equine dehydration.