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What a difference a week makes

The last week threw us a curveball.

Friday night I felt I was coming down with something and had changed into my pj's right after work. My youngest son and I went to the barn for night check before settling in for a movie.

When I approached the fence, I heard groaning coming from the barn, and when I looked in, saw that Barney was down and couldn't get up.

In the moments that passed, I was surprising calm, calling neighbours who I knew I could count on to help, calling the vet, digging around Barney to try to give him more room to move. He was tired, but kept trying every few minutes. He would take a bit of water from the bucket and an apple. Getting a halter on a 200-pound head isn't easy, but that was the first thing that had to be done.

It's rare, and very dangerous when a horse gets stuck in a lying down position, called being 'caste'. Horses are only meant to lay down about two hours a day. Any more, and their organs will shut down and their lungs will collapse with the weight of their own body. We had seen this happen when Yankee had a stroke-like episode and was unable to use his legs. We had to put him down to avoid a painful death.

Before long, five neighbours arrived, one with a tractor. In consultation with the vet, we decided to rope Barney's front legs and pull him away from the back barn wall. He struggled against us, but we were able to move him enough that he could get up.

Once standing, he appeared to be just fine. We gave him some anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant and he was quick to return to his hay.

It's no understatement that we have awesome neighbours. These same people came to Barney's rescue almost one year ago. We were away on vacation and he had a similar experience. I hope I can repay the favour someday. We think he falls asleep while scratching against the stone wall and then slips and falls. Being close to the wall makes it difficult for horses to get up, and if there's any kind of grade, it's worse.

So that was last weekend. This weekend has been quiet and calm, and I'm happy to say Barney is just fine.

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