Well as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men…
I had great intentions to get out several blogs, but as they also say…life happens. My two-year-old, Valor, managed to get a hind leg hung up in the wire fence. Luckily, he is the kind of horse who is easy going and has had some work with his legs re: giving to pressure, so when we found him he was quietly laying on the ground, wire wrapped around his hind leg.
We cut the wire and unwrapped it and got him up. He wasn’t even lame on it, but it would need stitches so a call was put into the vet…after hours of course!
The vet was impressed by his calm behaviour and acceptance of all the procedures and needles. Yet another testament to clicker training!
Hubby was there to help with the changing of dressings for a couple days, but then was called away for work so that left me to do the dressings. Once again clicker training to the rescue.
If I wanted to be able to click and treat him and work on the leg by myself I couldn’t tie him as then I couldn’t position myself to do the leg and not move but still feed him. This took a bit of organization and preparation of the supplies I needed etc. but I got it done without a lot of trouble. For a two-year-old he was fabulous! I would have taken pictures but if there had been another person around to do that they would have been helping me! But now that the wound is healing nicely and doesn’t need changing as often I will try and get a video of how this looks to post later.
I want to say that clicker training works very well for medical procedures, but one should train these behaviours before you need them not when you need them! I was lucky to have a clicker savvy horse so he was quickly able to figure out what it was I needed him to do. I also was lucky to have a stationary target cue already in place that I could use during the examination and for the sedation shots.
I wish I had gotten to the hose lesson as that would have been great, but now was not the time to teach that and so I had to make due with sponging the wound off.
So, my word to the wise is: teach those behavious you might need in an emergency. Teach stationary targets, standing with a hoof in a bucket, hosing off legs, needles, clippers and anything else you can think of that you might need. Emergencies are stressful enough for all of us, animals included, so to have these key behaviours in the repertoire are invaluable and will make dealing with an emergency just a wee bit better.