Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Escape

I did the previous post early this morning before I went to the barn. As I was walking there this morning, I came over the hill where I can see the barn and Miranda's paddock. Every morning, she's waiting for me to feed her, with her blazed face looking for me. This morning . . . no horse in the paddock. Was she in the shed? No - she always comes out when she sees me coming. Huh . . I called her name . . . nothing. Then a chestnut head with a blaze popped out of the open barn door!!!

I reached the barn, and she was standing in the barn aisle. The doors were only open about 3 feet, and the metal chain with the do not enter sign was still up - it's at about waist height. There was chestnut horse hair in some of the chain links. The gate to her paddock was lying on the ground, off the hinges. The chain across the aisle from the paddock was broken, and the rope was still up - these are also at about waist height. I went in the barn - she was good about haltering and I put her in her stall. I checked her as best I could for injuries - other than a few scrapes on her front legs, she seemed uninjured. She'd clearly been in the aisle for a long time - there were many piles of manure and all the hay bales were tossed around. From the location of most of the manure, she had spent most of her time in front of Charisma's stall - yesterday, she had briefly escaped from my daughter and made her way up to Charisma's paddock and had spent some time sniffing noses - Charisma is the one horse she knows.

In the stall, she did a lot of head-shaking, snapping of teeth and rolling - I think when she is anxious it makes her physically or emotionally uncomfortable, or both. She did settle down and ate her breakfast and hay. She will stay in the stall today and tonight, since at this point I'm not sure we can secure her in the paddock. For extra security, during the the day I have done some extra securing of the stall door, which a determined horse could take off the rolling hangers, and have also tied the barn doors shut. I think she'll be OK tonight when the other horses are inside - we wouldn't want to tie the barn doors shut at night for fire safety.

It's very sad - although up to this point she's showed little interest in the other horses, apparently she wanted to be with Charisma last night - perhaps Charisma reminded her of a horse she once knew. I feel very sorry for the horse - we've done and gone over everything we and our advisers can think of in terms of diet, medical, physical and training issues and we're left with no solutions to her serious problems. Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful comments.

16 comments:

  1. I just don't know what to say to help as there really isn't. I have heard of equine MRI's though. I don't know the cost but it might be worth investigating to see if it's a viable test for some sort of diagnosis.

    If only they could speak English....

    ~Jeni

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  2. So sad. I know you had written that most of the horses keep their distance from her, how difficult must that be for a herd animal.

    I can't imagine there's an option left.

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  3. I'm sorry that things have gone this way. She obviously has something majorly going on with her. It's hard, and I couldn't imagine being in your shoes. She's unhappy (or at least sounds like it) and unsafe. It seems easier to judge a horses fate when they have a physical injury, but much harder with an emotional injury. You'll know when it's time and we'll all be here to support you.

    Keeping you, your daughter, and Miranda in my thoughts.

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  4. I am so sorry. It's heartbreaking to see her change for the better then revert back. I hesitate to suggest anything at this point, especially not knowing what you've been through, and what your vet says. It's hard enough to come to a decision, and the decision may be the same in the end anyway, even if you find out the physiological root cause. I can well understand your hesitation to blog about it: the most well-intentioned among us can be insensitive in our desire to help. It's such a vulnerable time for your family.

    I'm happy to share experiences along the same lines *if you think it would be helpful.* Many best wishes to you and yours during such a difficult time.

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  5. I really do wonder if she has a brain tumor. It sounds like the behavior is getting more frequent / extreme, like something's progressing.

    Yall have done the best you can in this weird situation. It's ok if it's time to let her go - she doesn't sound like a happy horse, just a very confused and distressed one.

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  6. I don't know if you have mentioned it before or not, but have you tried any hormone therapy? If you are still trying to make sure you have "tried everything" before making your final decision, you might want to try her on regumate, just to see if it makes any difference.

    {{{hugs}}}

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  7. I was sad to hear that she wasn't happier to see your daughter, but I wonder if she will calm down once she is back in her old surroundings. She may not associate your daughter at this barn with the way things were before. She might also be sulking, and that could be why she wasn't happier to see your daughter.

    This post, in any case, makes me wonder. To show an interest in another horse -- maybe the transition really has been the problem, and aggression has been the only way she knows how to express her upset with it. But showing interest in another horse could indicate she is finally starting to adjust -- maybe it was just taking longer for her than for another horse.

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  8. I am very sorry about Miranda's status. I am more sorry for the emotional anchor of guilt I know you and your daughter feel you have around your necks. FWIW I think you have gone above and beyond, but it is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt - and IMO no horse is worth that. I love animals as much as anyone out there, but this is a disaster looking for a place to happen. I am so sorry.

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  9. Poor Miranda. I've never heard of anything that sounds like that, so I'm no help, but my thoughts are with you.

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  10. Whatever you do, I feel for you very deeply. I cannot read your blog lately without crying a little so I can't imagine how you must be feeling. It is a very sad chapter. I just wish I could pet Miranda. Not that it would do anything. I just feel like doing it. Now don't waste any time feeling guilty. You are a smart and caring person and you will do what is best for Miranda. That much is perfectly clear.

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  11. Intersting that Miranda was actually that determined to get into the barn. Some instinctual desire for company? Or was is just the hay?

    I too feel so sad when I read about Miranda. All my support, again for whatever you decide to do. This is so hard on you and your daughter, so say nothing of poor Miranda.

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  12. Poor Miranda. Wonder if she wants to have a friend in Charisma because she is feeling alone and afraid. It's hard to know what to do with a horse with her problems.

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  13. I'm sorry your daughter's return didn't help - it does sound like there is something physical going on, that's either getting progressively worse, or is particularly triggered by stress.

    You and your daughter have obviously done an amazing job of trying to sort this out for Miranda. All good thoughts to both of you as you make decisions for her.

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  14. Kate I cried when I read this post and the last one with your daughter. My heart lept when you said she wasn't in her paddock and I can only imagine what you must have been feeling. We all support you in your decision you make with her.

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  15. Kate -That moment when you come out and see the empty paddock or the open gate is so scary. I'm glad that Miranda was in the barn. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I was faced with a decision like this once with one of my dogs who got violently aggressive. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

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  16. Kate, I am so very sorry! I like the others had hoped that when Miranda saw your daughter she would react favorably.
    My thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.

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