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The Flood Horses of South Carolina
 By Winniefield Park   •   10th Oct 2015   •   2,958 views   •   2 comments
The Flood Horses of South Carolina

There are some really dramatic videos of horse rescues in flood stricken South Carolina. Several days of torrential rains left S.C. residents on flood alert if they are not already under water. Rivers are spilling over their banks and dams that should control flooding arenít sufficient to hold back the enormous amount of water that has fallen from the sky. News reports show water several feet high in many places. When things like this happen, not only are we affected, but our pets and livestock too, suffer. Itís not hard to find dramatic videos of horses stranded up to their bellies in water. Many brave and big hearted folks are heading out to do what they can, and using whatever means the can to help rescue stranded horses. I wrote an article awhile back on how horses swim, and thatís exactly what some are having to do to get to safety. Efforts are no doubt complicated as highways are washed away, bridges are unsafe and navigating flood waters even in a boat can be dangerous.

Related: Swimming With Horses [Video]

As dramatic as the immediate rescues are, and dire as the situation is right now, horse owners will continue to suffer with the after effects of this flood. According to the State of Victoria Bulletin - Horses and Floods, horses can withstand belly deep water for two or three days. As would be expected, some swelling will occur in their legs. Loss of body heat can be prevented by making sure they have access to hay. Fresh water to drink is also a must, since flood waters are easily contaminated by manure and septic runoff, farm fuel, chemicals, fertilizers and anything else that floats in from upstream. Horses that are left outside fare better than stabled horses. Horses in pastures will instinctively find the highest ground, but a stabled horse or one in a small paddock will be trapped.



One of the dangers, even as flood waters recede, is debris hidden below the water. As structures become dislodged in fast moving flood waters, they can become a hazard. And, the saturated ground can become dangerous. Sticky mud can trap horses, causing them to struggle until they hurt themselves badly. Eye injuries are common as they thrash against structures such as fences or building walls and debris, and fractures can occur as the horse tries to free itself.

If a horse injures itself, and the wound can not be cleaned and dried properly, infection can set in quickly. Contaminated well water or ponds, and mouldy feed can be a problem well after the initial flood waters recede. Because topsoil is disturbed or washed away during a flood it can take some time before grass will grow back. Noxious weeds can grow rapidly however, and plants that are normally passed over when the grazing is good are now a lush temptation. Wet ground and damp conditions can open the door to rain rot, grease heel, and thrush. And while a flood chases humans and animals from their homes, biting insects thrive in the damp conditions and are commonly more plentiful after flooding. This increases the risk of mosquito borne disease such as EEE, WNV and even Potomac Horse Fever, which is carried by a specific type of snail that lives in grass.

There will be plenty of clean up for those who survive a flood. Fences will have to be checked and debris carried in by the flood water will have to be cleared away. Pastures and hay fields may need reseeding. Hay fields, at least where I live, typically have to be left two seasons before they are harvested. So local feed may be in short supply, requiring horse owners to purchase more expensive hay and grain that is shipped in. The real work is only just starting and I know our hearts are with everyone in the affected area as they strive to retrieve their homes and livelihoods from the effects of this historical storm.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
Valkyrie  MOD 
There was a massive storm in the Hunter Valley in Australia earlier this year. There are a load of horse studs around that area and I was working on one. We heard all kinds of stories about horses in the floodwaters. My favourite was of a nanny mare who was in a paddock full of weanlings. She ended up standing up current from the weanlings when their paddock flooded and sheltered them with her body. The stud hands then swam out and rescued all of them.
  Oct 10, 2015  •  2,917 views
 
Winniefield Park  
Just when you start to despair of the way you see horses treated, people like those step up and renew your faith.
  Oct 15, 2015  •  2,694 views
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