On July 21, we had the opportunity to help a sweet Appaloosa horse get back on his feet.
We received a call for a horse that was down in Monroe. Our technical rescue team arrived with the equipment truck to find Cowboy, 32 years old, unable to rise in his stall. The owner stated he has hind end issues and could not make it back up on his own. While horses will often lay down, it can be dangerous for them to be off their feet for long periods of time.
The team quickly assessed the situation and environment. The stall had a steel I-beam above Cowboy and by some good luck we could route the haul line straight out the door, down the hall, and to a tractor-based anchor outside. So..no redirect anchors or tripod setup was needed.
We use specialized lifting equipment developed by veterinarian and engineer Dr. Becker. This equipment consists of a sling and a horizontal bar to attach the sling to. We set up a rigging system for Cowboy, but initially the system was too long with the Becker bar in it. We then bypassed the Becker bar and attached our block-and-tackle directly to the Becker sling. The Becker sling is thickly padded and designed with the comfort and safety of the horse in mind. This gave us enough clearance to get Cowboy up. After some adjustments, we got Cowboy up and in a good standing position. Over about 30 minutes, we slowly decreased the amount of support and he was finally able to stand on his own.
Cowboy was eating and drinking immediately and eventually was walked to another area of the barn and given a good bath. After that, our team debriefed, packed up, and headed home.
There was no vet on site during the deployment but the owner was expecting the vet to arrive after the team left.
We are so glad to have been able to help Cowboy and his owner with a successful lift. Thank you to the owner for trusting us with their sweet Appaloosa and to all the volunteer team members who responded.