When Kate Appleyard went to bring in her Irish Sport Horse, Casper, from the field several years ago, she had no idea what she was about to witness.

During a mad 10 minutes’ galloping, Casper had run too close to a gate and sliced his side open. The wound was from just behind his elbow all the way along to his quarters, and was caused by the metal gate hanger.

“We found him in the field with the uninjured side facing towards us, so we didn’t realise what had happened until we got close to him and found this gaping wound,” says Kate, whose gelding was in his late teens at the time of the accident and she has owned him since he was three.

Kate drove Casper straight to the vets and, once there, equine vet Katie Brickman checked the horse over. Luckily, an examination showed that he hadn’t penetrated his thoracic cavity. 

After treatment, Casper wore a belly band to protect the wound as it healed

“The wound was clipped and cleaned and thoroughly lavaged [washed] with sterile fluids in an attempt to remove the contaminants,” explains Katie.

“The wound was closed using suture material in multiple layers. This allows the underlying muscle and tissues to knit back together without ripping open from excessive tension.”

Casper was hospitalised for 10 days and then discharged into the continued care of his owners. After 16 weeks the gelding’s wound had completely healed.

“He didn’t return to ridden work immediately, because although his wound had completely healed on the outside, Kate wanted to ensure that he had totally healed internally too. 

Casper made a full recovery. Photos supplied by Kate Appleyard

“It was a massive job cleaning and redressing the wound every day for two months — you wouldn’t believe how much we spent on vet wrap — but he’s worth it,” says Kate.

“Casper is totally oblivious to it now and it’s like nothing ever happened.”

*Lead image is a stock image and does not show the injured horse

Your Horse’s
First Aid Week is brought to you in partnership with Absorbine

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer