Thanks to everyone
for their thoughts, concerns and comments! I love the fact that I found this forum and finally can communicate with other horse lovers!! It is great! Thank you!
This story has a lot more to it than I originally posted (don't they all!!
) There are a lot of factors that went along with it. If it would not have been a calm 20 degree morning, I would not have found him. He ran 5 miles from camp (he was alone and looking for a buddy, I would assume, got scared and LOST HIS MIND!) I ran the entire 5 miles following his tracks. It reminded me of the scene in "The Black Stallion" when Alec was following the Black's footprints in the sand. ONLY, my sand was frozen class 5 dirt road and my weezing from the cold was louder than my own footsteps on the road!
I couldn't see or hear him...I was at the reality point of I was never going to see him again and he would NEVER make it through the winter, when all of a sudden I heard the sound of thrashing in water. The feeling of sickness that overcame my body at that time was horrible. I knew, right away, what was going on. I was at an abandonded dairy farm with miles of pasture surrounding it. Old barbed wire fencing, old rickety barns and grassed over tractors and equipment. I topped the knoll of the field and there he was, about 500 yards away, completely submerged in water. My ocean was not a beautiful picture perfect location in South America, it was a frozen beaver pond with 1/2 an inch of ice covering it. My horse was submerged entirely under water except his neck and head, not gracefully prancing through knee deep 60 degree water.
At this point all I wanted to do was get to him, survey the scene, access the damage and make a decision from there. As I walked toward him, at a very quick pace might I add, I saw that the fence went into the water from one end, disappeared for 200 yards, right in line with his submerged, motionless body and came out again just past him. I hiked up my sleves and headed into the 32 degree water. I crossed the fence to get in front of him incase he started thrashing, and went to him. He was shivering, and had a look of failure/quit in his eye. Once I realized that he was wrapped, with his back legs, in 4 strands of barbed wire and they were all under water I knew this was NOT going to be easy.
I had to get back out of the water, go get the truck down to where we (I have a GREAT NON-horse friend, thank GOD for him!!) were going to be getting out of the water, and round up some wire cutters. Luckily, my friend that was with me had 2 sets of wire cutters with him. I do at my truck, and I carry a multi-tool in my saddle bags, but we wern't even riding before this happened. We both prepared ourselves mentally to "dive" into the frigid water, left the truck running with the heat at full bore, and headed in. After 20 minutes, and approx 45 for him, we had all 4 strands cut, no idea what his legs looked like or where the strands were. We cleared an area where we thought it was safe for me to lead him out of the water. Mind you, after 20 minutes of 3/4 of my body being in that water I not only could not feel anything, but everything was "pins and needles" and the thought of him FLEEING once he knew he was loose was crossing my mind. I had no idea if he would or not. In pure exhaustion, he led out nicely as we broke ice to shore. I got to shore tied him to a tree and mostly undressed and got into the truck.
The rest was to be done once warm! I doctored him as best as I could, warmed him up and started the long journey that you now know.
My theory behind "picking" or should I saw scrubing it is that it heals from the inside out and if the scab is present it is trapping heat and bacteria under it. That is why I scrub it. I will wait until it has a "level" scab to the skin. So far it is so deep that I can't leave that scab on it. Once it heals more on the inside, I won't pick it. I could be wrong, but that is what has worked for me in the past. This injury happend on the 1st of November so you can see how slow/how bad it was.
Sorry if this story was too long, I just thought I would entertain some of you with it! I hope you enjoyed it! I also want to add that during our whole time in the water we were communicating with eachother's condition and if at any point we were at severe danger I would have made the decision, without hesitation, to leave him there. WE are much more important (selfish or not) then our horses and most importantly is our safety. Please always keep that in mind. It is hard to do so, but there are new horses around every corner, not new us!
Don't get me wrong, I am deeply thankful that he is safe, but more thankful that we are safe.
(These are the best pictures I have of him so far....)