Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Harvster falls down

It's true, he did fall, while GRAZING of all things. 

How'd that happen?
It was fifty degrees Saturday, and sunny. I took him out to the "back forty" of the barn property, where the summer grass was never mowed -- long, tall fallen over, I thought he'd love it. It turns out he had trouble with the long stems, and I turned him back toward the barn. There are shallow ruts where the tractor comes by, and he stumbled into one and fell completely to his side, legs in the air, like a big bug. It knocked the breath out of him, and he made that awful 'falling horse' sound--you know, like a dinosaur? 

Is he okay?
Fortunately, the surrounding ground was soft and grass-covered. It was, as Bob said, an old man's fall. He got right back up, looking momentarily alarmed, but well, there was grass around, ya know, and soon he was munching again.

One of the reasons I retired Harv is that he seemed a tad unsteady on his feet. He still gets a head of steam and charges around, and he always seemed fine under saddle--but just walking out in the pasture, down the aisle, etc., he'd start to trip and catch himself.  Seeing that fall Saturday, I do think I made the right decision.  I've done some of those neuro tests on him, the tail pull, etc., but he reacts normally to those.

Here he is continuing his grazing tour. Looks pretty good for a horse that can't eat hay, don't ya think?
Finding a source of local chopped hay has been a godsend.


  1. Love the Harvster:) He has the kindest eye and I have thoroughly enjoyed the videos of him playing and romping with Riley. He is one lucky horse to have such a wonderful mom that cares so much:)

  2. My horse fell with me a few years back and I separated my shoulder, grade III. We did every test in tarnation on him. Nothing. But, he went through a whole year stumbling in very much the same manner you described, so we didn't ride him. One year at an equine therapist's and alternative therapies made him good as new. Also, we changed his diet to one for an EPSM horse. VERY low carb, VERY high fat.

    Older horses sometimes develop neck arthritis after a long career which has equal symptoms to Wobbler's and increase in severity over time. Cervical injections help that. Basket surgery is too expensive and risky for an older guy.

    Or even just a long toe or coffin bone changes can do the same thing.

    But, simple retirement may just be the right answer. :)

  3. The Harvster looks fantastic! And very content, munching the grass.

    It's scary that he fell down, but I'm glad to hear he's OK.

  4. My gelding has neuro problems related to neck arthritis (degradation of C1-3 and C4-7, with the 1-3 being very bad). It was subtle at first, and regular neuro testing (tail pull, etc.) didn't reveal anything right away.

    It took about a year for the symptoms to get bad enough that the testing revealed something. We did a full-body bone scan which showed the problem.

    Now he's obviously a neuro horse, and he's been officially retired as of October this year at the ripe old age of 11. Even without lifting his head high, you can see him kind of gently swirl his front hooves when he walks. He's definitely trying to figure out where to put his front feet, and he drags his hind feet with every step. The vet feels that he'll eventually have a pasture accident because of his neuro stuff, but for now, he's happy to be a giant horsey dog. :-)

  5. Old horses, like old people can just get unsteady on their feet. Could be hundreds of reasons. If he was just a little off balance, stepping into or on that rut might have just been a bit too much. Glad he is OK.

    He does look great for a retired fellow. I appreciate the weight on him, especially with the hay eating issues.

  6. Hi I'm a show jumping rider from Italy =)
    I love the first pictures!
    keep in touch:

    see you soon =)


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