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Oak's Mama

Bad Wound and Cannot Use Halter

53 posts in this topic

Yea, it's me again burning up the forum! 
My problem child Oak tore a HUGE gash in his throatlatch. It required 12 external stitches and at least that many in the subcutaneous tissue. The vet left a small hole for the wound to drain. He is on antibiotics once a day to be mixed in with his feed. 
Here is my problem. The wound is right where his halter and his bridle lay against his jaw (throatlatch). Oak is still a bit of a bully coming 'out of the gate' so to speak and until Craig sets him straight (usually w/in the first 5 minutes) he can be a handful and of course he still needs some control when being tended to. He REQUIRES his halter. Otherwise you may as well not even try to do a thing with him. We are not wanting to ride him or anything like that until his wound heals. HOWEVER, he does need his hooves picked, he does need to be stalled to eat, he needs to be groomed, and right now BLESS GOD he needs a bath! With all of the fly spray, dirt, humidity here in the south and the rain he is a dirty horse. 
The vet said it would be 3 weeks before he would re-evaluate the wound to see if the stitches could come out. Oak cannot go 3 weeks without some hands on work. He will go right back to acting the fool just like he did when I first joined this site and we are not trying to go through that again. 
Anyone have have any ideas of how to rig us something that can be used in place of a halter that would NOT come around his throatlatch for the purpose of grooming, leading, and some light handling? I have racked my brain and I've come up with NADA! 
If I need to I can post some pictures of the wound so you can see what I am working with. We have standard halters and rope halters, BOTH lay directly under the wound and I am afraid that the halters will pull at it and pop the stitches. 

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A headstall with a noseband, set a little high and snug so it doesn't slip. Use one you can remove the throatlatch. Or a big ring snaffle bit with that headstall and a leather chinstrap to hold the bit in place and attach a lead. Just don't tie with these. Also some rope halters can be adjusted to move the throatlatch part around where it may not be a problem. Alternatively, fold a towel and put over the stitches, and use a halter that will fit quite snugly to hold it in place.

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No ponies, I have a Clinton Anderson rope halter. Yet it seems that no matter how we adjust it it 'pulls' at the tissue around the wound. Too loose and it has the potential to slide over it, too snug and it pulls at the surrounding tissue. By removing a throatlatch wouldn't that also eliminate the ability the secure the halter/bridle to the horse? If not you must know of a bridle type that I have not seen before. Keep in mind I know absolutely NOTHING about English Tack. 
I have thought about taking a long, thin piece of rope and slip knotting it and putting it around his muzzle however after that I have NO idea how to keep it secured there w/o again coming under his jaw! 
I have a big ring snaffle, I have a bridle with a curb chain, I have a couple of hackamores with nose bands, but nothing that would accommodate a bit that also has a nose band. I don't mean to sound 'Pre-K' but can you show me a picture? LOL  

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No ponies, never mind. I googled headstalls w/ nose bands and I have a fairly good idea of what I can try to rig up. In my 'over concern' I tend to miss the obvious sometimes. I am so used to my bitted bridles NOT having nose bands (they have brow bands) and my hacks being the ONLY one with nose bands of course that I don't stop to think that there ARE some out there that ARE different than what I have. DUH. I am more focused on the wound that I am anything anything else at the moment. Tunnel vision. I gotta get out of this bad habit!

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These are used on broodmares here, sometimes with an attached strap that won't reach the ground when their head is down down. It depends on where his cut is. S_halsriem.jpg

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AWESOME Jubal! These are the images of his wound. The second one is the stitched one (of course) and you can see where I have his bridle on as LOOSE as I can get it. This was taken immediately after the vet did the stitches and he had him stalled until his anesthesia wore off.  

open wound.jpg

stitched wound.jpg

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That knot showing under his throat can be loosened and moved down by his chin to keep the cheek piece away from the cut.

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I know, but it pulls on the surrounding tissue. We rigged up a little something today and gave the boy a bath! Once we finished, he was a happy horse. Running, 'kicking up his heels' and cutting loose! It hurts my heart to have one of my babies injured and in such a way that I am unable to care of them in a manner in which they require. Thank you No ponies and Jubal your information went a long way in helping us rig up a rope type 'head piece' that we could use for the time being. 

 

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Glad you came up with something that works. It can be hard to figure it long distance like this.

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Yea, me too. He is a happy and clean boy now! And the wound id healing nicely!

Thanks No ponies and Jubal for your help. 

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OMG that looked DEEP!  Do you know what he caught it on?  I'm glad you were able to figure out a way to safely restrain his head.  I can easily see how the throat latch of a halter would pull on the jowl skin.

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The best we can figure Heidi is that he was scratching his face on a 't'post' and put too much pressure as he pulled away. The odd thing is that we searched the entire pasture and found NO evidence of blood anywhere. Not on the big wooden corner posts or the metal t-posts. There isn't any wire poking out that could have gotten him, his hay ring is brand new and doesn't have any jagged edges. The vet said that it is a clean cut (I used to be a paramedic so this was also obvious to me) he also didn't think that the other Horse had anything to do with it. They are both shod and he didn't think that a kick with a shod hoof would produce such a clean slice. PLUS there is the location. A REALLY unusual place for a kick to land given his height as compared with hers, unless he was REALLY low. HOWEVER this still doesn't account for the lack of blood anywhere in the pasture or the surrounding area outside the pasture. So, we can only speculate at this point. 

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I hear ya.  I had allowed my neighbors in WA State to pasture their 3 horses with my 1 young mare as our land was much larger and had grass compared to their small dry-lot for their horses.  Frost presented one afternoon with a slice on the meaty area behind her shoulder and just down from her withers, about where the front panels of a saddle would sit.  I searched my pasture, the outbuilding and trees to try and find what she cut herself on.  

I could only guess that she was playing with one of the neighbor's horses and a loose nail caught her.  I had to ask them to leave the pasture.  I didn't like doing that because there was far too much grass for my filly to graze and theirs were just over the fence on their dry lot but I did not want to deal with veterinary stitching bills because I had grass and the others didn't.

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Heidi, well Starla is a feisty 4 year old. But our farrier makes sure that the nails are flush with the exterior hoof. We checked her hooves and Oak's. No protruding nails and none missing. There are a couple of pine trees that had some missing branches from the recent storms, but we went out there with loping sheers and saws to make sure there were no jagged edges. What REALLY has me puzzled is the lack of blood from a gaping wound like that ANYWHERE in the pasture or out-lying areas. I mean I went over it with a fine tooth comb. Even when the vet was cleaning it and stitching it up it produced a large quantity of blood. The head of just about ANY living creature is very vascular and when cut bleeds a LOT! Yet we cannot find where he was when the injury occurred.  

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I bet it took a bit for the blood to well up and by then he was probably already a few steps away from wherever he tore himself.  My bet is he did like you said and scraped backwards too quickly and with too much pressure on a t-post edge.  Still, you'd think there'd be some HAIR on a post somewhere!  lol

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Jubal, I found the wound when he came up to the gate to greet me. While we waited for the vet to show up my husband, myself and one of the ranch hands combed to pasture starting with Oak and Starla's hooves. They are in an area that is a close to an acre and a half. The ONLY thing we did find was some tail hair (small clump) in a wire twist by one of the main poles. Still no blood.
I will send Craig out to find caps for the Tposts. I sure don't want this to happen again. 
I hope that Oak doesn't start acting the fool like he did now that we can't ride him for a while. He was doing so GOOD! 

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They sell the caps at Rural King and Tractor Supply. The thing is with horses, you have to look for ways they could hurt themselves because some horses look for ways to hurt themselves. The fellow who built an addition on my barn got really miffed with me for pointing out things he was doing that could be dangerous to a horse and making him change them. He said I had a vivid imagination. Fortunately for me, my horse is a lot like a mule, in that he takes very good care of himself.

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3 hours ago, Oak's Mama said:

I hope that Oak doesn't start acting the fool like he did now that we can't ride him for a while. He was doing so GOOD! 

There is no reason why you can't ride him.  A bridle won't pull on his face like a halter would because a halter's pull is mostly forward while a bridle's throat latch just holds the crown and browband down over the head to prevent it slipping down the neck (curb bit) or over the ears (snaffle).  I'd let his skin knit together for a few days and then put him back to light work.  He doesn't need to get dripping with sweat but there is no reason why he can't work, especially if he feels well enough on his own to gallop around his paddock and kick up his heels.

 

3 hours ago, jubal said:

... fellow who built an addition on my barn got really miffed with me for pointing out things he was doing that could be dangerous to a horse and making him change them. He said I had a vivid imagination. 

Huh. If the fellow had a horse of his own, he'd know your "imagination" was based in reality.

Edited by Heidi n Q

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Jubal, I have never hear of a horse purposely hurting themselves. I promise I am NOT debating this, I have just never heard of this before. WHY would they do that? I suppose that Craig and the boys have been pretty good at making sure the pastures, fences, and stalls have been safe for the most part. This is the first serious injury on the property in 10 years. Leave it to the biggest and the most aggressive horse that we have to find a way to hurt himself. I reckon we will have to go and do a thorough 'walk through' of the fence lines, gates, barns, and stalls after hearing this. 

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That was tongue in cheek, Oak. But it does seem some horses are accident prone. Or maybe just clumsy.

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Aaah, I got you Jubal. I was going to inquire, I am learning things about horses that I NEVER knew with this one. He is sure causing me to 'up my game'. 

 

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Heidi, as indignant as he acts when you first get on him, I fear that the pulling on his bridle and the 'aggressive' manner he has to be handled within the first say 5-10 minutes in the saddle would cause 'some' rubbing over the wound. He likes to throw his head a LOT until he realizes that it isn't going to go 'his way', then he settles in for the ride. There are times when he will buck a little as well. He is getting better, but he still has a ways to go. His trainer isn't keen on the idea of riding him with the stitches this fresh because of Oak's attitude out of the gate. Once he gets the 'dillies' shook off of his (as we call it) he does well for the rest of the day, but first thing he will challenge you.......HARD! 

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Yea Heidi, he is a bit of a stinker. However we have come to the understanding that in Oak's short 6 years he has had too many owners. Part of his problem is that he has a conflict of 'disciplines' and he isn't sure what is expected of him. We are going to be the LAST people that will own him, Craig will be the last rider he has to learn, and he will no longer have a question as to what is expected of him, he will know. He will learn US. Whatever his issues, he deserves a stable home where he can feel secure and not have to wonder "Where will I go next?" and "What are these people going to want me to do?"
Once he is corrected on his behavior 'out of the gate' so to speak, his response is usually like 'My bad' and he will begin to correct himself. BUT he will try you just to see if he is able to intimidate you by his size and power, simply because it has worked for him so well in the past. This boy has really challenged us to be better horsemen and more understanding and compassionate handlers.  

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Certainly Jubal. This is my 'handful'. I am 5'9" with my boots on. We were told that Oak was 16.2hh. I am thinking he is closer to 17. Neither of us are standing perfectly straight up. But you get the gist of his size. And the second pic is of is of his pretty face. 

bigoak.jpg

OakeyHeadshot.jpg

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Here is a picture of my husband who is 6'4" riding Oak. They both look to be of average size when you get them together. The second one is my husband standing by the gate to the cow pasture with Oak. The compliment one another well. Or al least I think so. 

Cowpokes.jpg

Bigbootyoak.jpg

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Oak looks great in those pictures.

As for injuring themselves - I have a horse who hears me speak of riding in the summer (a show or bigger ride) and he will lose a shoe. I swear he pulls it off himself, LOL.

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