Did I do the right thing? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Diego, California
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Did I do the right thing?

On Monday evening as Honey and I were leaving to join some frinds for a ride Honey slipped in the trailer and ended up with a decent cut just above her left eye. Since it was after hours I brought her to the vet the following morning to have it cleaned properly and get some antibiotics and topical (Vetricyn). The vet decided against stitches due to the small opening and rather deep pocket and instructed me to clean it twice a day and not to allow it to scab over (so it heals from the inside out) and getting out any fluid I could.

Tuesday evening and Wed morning she was very tolerant of me cleaning her up and dressing the wound, but on Wed night things went down hill. I'm afraid she now has some issues with being tied =( She pulled back and broke a snap (getting herself free) on Tuesday and has tried it again once since, while I had her in her rope halter & lead. She put up a pretty good struggle- ended up pulling the halter off her head. Luckily she didn't damager herself too badly. She had one hairless strip down her cheek, but no broken skin. Once she was loose she started to trot off, but came straight back to me when I called her and allowed me to put the halter back on.

I spent a good while with her yesterday (immediately after) working on tying. First I held the lead by hand and followed her with the spray bottle of vetracyn (which is what initially set her off) maintaining pressure on the lead and waited for her to stand still and drop her head. I took away the spray bottle when she would stop and waited for her to then drop her head. Lather rinse repeat, repeat, repeat. Once she was accepting that and keeping her head down I moved to tying. I don't have a tie ring, but emulated the same set up with my long line by wrapping it around a post and back over itself once. It would give out slowly when she pulled back the same way the a ring does. She did really well with it thankfully, actually only tried to pull back a couple of times, and they were half hearted attempts at that.

By the time we were finished she stood quietly tied (still not hard tied just to be safe, but there was a good amount of pressure and if she were to pull back it would have felt as though she were tied, but would have been able to pull the line through should she really panic) and allowed me to clean her face up (even draining the pocket above her eye) and spray the verticyn on it.

She was relaxed and mellow after everything was all said and done, so hopefully I handled it appropriately. I nearly quit after her initial explosion, fearing I might make things worse, but I had to get her cut cleaned, and just couldn't end like that. I really want to be sure to nip this in the bud.

Whew... sorry that got a little long winded! Any advice anyone can offer would be much appreciated! Thanks if you were able to make it through al of that, I hope it made sense!

My blog ~Life and Horses~
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southeastern US
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I think you did the right thing. The only thing I would add is that I wouldn't tie her at all when you have to do this cleaning/doctoring. I am always hesitant to tie a horse when I know he/she is likely to have a fit. It can reinforce bad tying behavior and get both of us hurt. I like to do stuff like this in a round pen or somewhere that we have room to work, but that the horse can't get away from me and take off. I would then do what you did. Approach and retreat until she is desensitized to the point where you can do what you need to do. It may take a lot longer, but worth it in the end.

Do you have to spray the vetrycin? I know that it comes in a spray bottle but I'm thinking most any horse is going to take issue with it being sprayed near the face. I would get maybe a syringe and fill it with the vetricyn (sorry don't know how to spell it) and then sort of irrigate the wound (keeping a rag or something handy so it doesn't spill downwards).
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
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It sounds like you did just fine. =]

Does your mare know how to ground tie? This is one of those situations where knowing how to ground tie is invaluable. It's not the right time to really fight about tying, but you have to have control to care for her.

Once she's healed up and over the "trauma" is when I'd let her actually fight it. I'm not sure how long you let her fight, or how hard she was fighting, but when I taught my little one to cross-tie, I did the same thing you mentioned; wrapped my lunge line around a tree and held on. But I let her fight, I wasn't going to give her the slack unless she was either standing calm and easy, or was going to die if I didn't. The WORST thing is letting them know they can break it and/or get away.

The other day I tied my little one to the fence. She's never been tied there before, and we haven't done a lot of single tying like that lately, but she does know how to single tie. She pulled back and flailed for a minute and then seemed to remember, "Oh yeah, I just stand here." I also like to let my horses walk around with the lead rope dragging on the ground. It just reminds them not to panic when they feel stuck. They either stand and wait for me, or they gingerly pick up each foot until the pressure if released. Here's hoping the training sticks if they ever get stuck in the wire fencing. o_O

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Diego, California
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Very good points, thank you. Always helps to have perspective from others! We were working in in her pasture, which is only about an acre, so her getting loose wasn't a risk to her safety. And never again will I hard tie while treating, but loose tying in the fashon described above is much easier for me.

She does ground tie decently, but it is locational (if we're working in her pasture she'll stand all day without so much as taking one step, if we're out on the property... she tends to get curious).

As for wire fencing & hoping the have the right reaction (not that my mare is regularly exposed to wire fence, and she is never kept in it) I do lots of rope work with her legs and giving to pressure, hobble training too for that very same reason, because you just never know.

My blog ~Life and Horses~

Last edited by Ktibb; 08-12-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Sounds like you've got it all figured out. Don't doubt yourself, you're doing great. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-12-2010, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Diego, California
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Thanks ricci. Hopefully I'm just overreacting (as usual). She has always been so great about standing tied... I don't want her to pick up a bad habbit!

So I guess I'll stick with a soft tie on a long line for a while, just to be safe.

My blog ~Life and Horses~
Ktibb is offline  

pulling back , training , tying

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