When we arrived on scene, the mostly white gelding Jeff lay on his side in a stall, surrounded by his trainer, vets, and their staff. We’d been asked to assist in getting Jeff into a trailer so he could be transported to a local equine hospital.
Jeff was alert, and alternated between laying recumbent to rest and nibbling on hay when he lay sternal. We spoke with Dr. Schroeder and Dr. Woodard of Northwest Equine Veterinary, making sure we knew where any sore points were and where we should be careful with straps.
We unloaded necessary items from the equipment trailer, then moved it so the trainer’s horse trailer could back up to be close to Jeff.
For this deployment, we needed secure Jeff onto a glide so we could pull him into the trailer, a ramp to make the transition up into it, and a rope system to get the job done.
To make Jeff’s time on the glide as short as possible, we focus on setting everything up before we packaged him for movement.
The tricky part was how to get a rope system through the trailer and anchored to an external haul system. For this, we set up a redirect on the right side of the rear opening and strung the haul rope out of the opposite forward window. We had a redirect pulley in place here, to help protect the trailer. The rope system was anchored off of the driver’s side rear tire of the truck attached to the horse trailer. The haul system was set up between the truck and an arena.
Once this was ready, we worked on securing Jeff to the glide and Dr. Schroeder gave the gelding a light sedative. We’d gotten lucky earlier and set the glide against his side so when he lay back down, we only needed to pull him a little ways onto the glide with some straps we passed under his torso. Jeff in place, we used ratchets to keep him in place for the ride into the trailer. After that, we fitted his hooves with slings that served as hobbles. We drew his legs in to his body for both safety and to fit him out of the stall door as he lay on his side. We cushioned his head, making sure his downside eye was protected. Responder Tatianna was assigned to stay with Jeff, comfort him, and make sure his head stayed safe.
All set up, the team got ready to haul Jeff out. We had a pulley on the front of the glide to start us out with a 2:1 advantage system, but we had a 3:1 ready to go at the haul line in case we needed it, which we did. After that was in place, the horse moved out of the stall, we used tag lines to keep him centered on the ramp as he made his way into the trailer.
In the trailer we had a brief discussion about how to transport him. We decided, after a quick discussion with the receiving hospital we’d leave him on the glide so they could remove him more easily from the trailer.
That decision made, we wished Jeff well. He departed, and we cleaned up, packed up, and went home after a quick debrief.