Look what we have! Know what it is?
It is an air/water supplied mud lance with four jetting wands specifically designed for use in rescuing horses entrapped in MUD. We also have a specially designed air/water supplied strap guide that can be used on mud rescues—instead of hours of digging!
Ever stepped in just an inch or two of thick mud and have it nearly pull your boot off—or kept you from moving while really pulling on all your leg muscles? Think about a horse’s legs: usually three or four feet long, with a very small surface area of hoof at the end, which goes right down through thick mud. No wonder they get stuck so deeply.
The purpose of these jetting wands is to use air or water to reduce the surface tension of the mud on the horse’s legs so that the horse can be lifted or manipulated out of the mud more easily, decreasing the chance of injuring their limbs or other parts of their bodies in the process. We have all seen the news stories (if you haven’t, google images for ‘horse stuck in mud’ to see what NOT to do with a horse stuck in mud) where the owners, friends or first responders dug and labored for hours and hours in an attempt to free it.
While these horses usually are eventually ‘rescued,’ some make it and some die in the following days due to injuries from the methods used to get them out OR from medical complications related to the length of their entrapment, prolonged recumbency and hypothermia.
Mud doesn’t kill horses, incorrect rescue technique and equipment does!
So what do you do if you have a horse stuck in mud?
- DO accept that they are entrapped—if they could get out, they already would have!
- DON’T go into the mud yourself and DON’T waste precious time trying to dig them out. It’s very ineffective and time-consuming, and they actually sink more!
- IF it is SAFE to do so (don’t become a victim yourself—you will need to be rescued first and that will DELAY help for the horse), put something suitable under the horse’s head to keep their muzzle out of the mud/water. It doesn’t take inhaling much of this stuff as they struggle or weaken to cause a serious aspiration pneumonia.
- DO call your Veterinarian. They are needed to help assess the horse’s condition, facilitate the rescue through sedation if needed, and to treat the horse for hypothermia, dehydration, electrolyte or metabolic imbalances etc. Veterinary literature shows that rewarming a hypothermic horse WITHOUT core rewarming (eg warm IV fluids) can actually worsen the horse’s outcome.
At the same time DO:
- Call an equine rescue service that is trained and equipped for rescuing HORSES. While Police or Fire Departments will make a valiant effort to help, few if any have the training or equipment for horse rescue to the standard of care that is acceptable or safe for the horse. Don’t improvise—a rescuer, or the horse, is much more likely to get hurt.
- Keep in mind: Owners (and even some Veterinarians) think that if it takes an hour, or even two, for properly equipped horse rescue services to respond, that it is “too long.” The AVERAGE length of a “rescue” by owners or first responders who attempt to dig the horse out and dangerously pull on their heads, legs and tails, is THREE TO FIVE HOURS! The right help and the right equipment, if called EARLY, will get to you and probably have the horse out in far LESS time.
- Keep the horse WARM. A horse in mud will lose about two degrees of body temperature per hour of entrapment or recumbency. Even on a pleasant 80* day, the mud is already at least 20* cooler than their body to begin with. Use blankets, straw etc, but keep humans safe! If they are interested in eating hay, give it to them! It will keep them busy and brighter and will help generate heat. Water (not ice cold!) if they want it and can safely drink it ON THEIR OWN, is okay, too.
- Make sure there is clear access for responding vets/rescuers. All the neighbors don’t need to park next to the horse! Do you or a neighbor have an agricultural (not lawn mower or hobby farm chore-sized) tractor or back hoe? Start it towards the scene but don’t bring it right up to the horse yet, and don’t try to pull it out with it (unless someone there happens to be trained and equipped for acceptable equine technical rescue). Other things need to be done first!
And here is what NOT to do:
- DON’T put people in the mud with the horse.
- DON’T DIG!
- DON’T pull on the horse’s HEAD, LEGS or TAIL!
- DON’T attach heavy equipment to any part of the horse’s body!
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Fence off dangerous muddy areas or areas in flood, and be cautious when riding in uncertain terrain. There are difference degrees of mud entrapments, but even having one or two legs stuck can keep a horse from being able to get up on its own, and it can experience the same consequences as one that is stuck chest deep.
Keep our contact information handy—we hope you never need to use it!