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Date: 2011-01-13, 7:09PM CST
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I made a hernia corsett for my rescued filly. The surgery or the belly bands for sale are all closet to $400 if not more, so this was an easy cheap way to fix a small hernia. This probably will not work for large hernias, but has worked wonders on my filly with a hernia about the size of the palm of my hand and the hole in the stomach wall was about the size of a quarter.
I used a fleece western girth (more comfortable for long wear as it needs to be worn the majority of the time) and an off billet strap to fasten it around her middle. I put a breast collar on her and attached it to the Drings on the girth. I sat very low and was useless there so I got a strap of leather with a buckle(an extra long throatlatch in this case) and put it in a fleece girth cover I cut in half to keep it from rubbing sores on her neck.) Next I used an english girth to wrap around the hernia area. (They have very nice buckles on them that fasten easily with straps of leather with holes punched in them. (In this case I used the straps off of an old broken breast collar I had saved....I knew hoarding all that old broken tack would come in use someday!) Before I tightened the english girth I got a strap (I had to make this myself, you could probably use a tiedown...as long as their feet wouldn't get caught in the loop when they laid down) and measured it so the english girth would be held in place over the hernia (they have a nasty tendency to slip into the flank if you don't attach it to the front girth!) I put a clip on each end for easy on and off. Now english girths don't have easy D clips like western ones do so I duck taped one onto the one I bought (used for $5) I used several many layers to make sure it wouldn't bust off. Then over that tape I packed as much cotton as I could and taped over it again to make a semi hard/soft ball to help keep the hernia up nice and neat. I buckled the girths together and cinched up the english girth nice and snug until I couldn't get another hole took up. (don't force it and hurt your horse, just very snug)
I keep her in a large stall with a run from about 5pm to 9-10am the next day. I taker her gadget off for about 3-4 hours, catch her, put it back on and let her stay out until 5 or so. ( I don't have any curious horses with her, but I've known alot lol so just watch if you turn your foal out with other horses and make sure they don't pick and pull on the straps)
She trots, lopes for the first 15-20 min I let her out then plays a bunch with the donkey throughout the day. I pony her every other day for about a mile. Exercise is important to help build the stomach wall muscles.
I have been doing this with her for about 2 weeks now, a little shorter, and her hernia is half its size. Once it disappears I will keep it on for two weeks after that to make sure the belly is strong.
I just wanted to share this with other horse owners on hard times. Not everyone can afford $400 (and if you do things might get tight) right off the bat on a rescued horse or even a newborn foal. And wouldn't it be nice to buy hay with that money instead?
You can email me if you want to if you have questions
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