Trail Tails – Eyelid vs Water Bucket

This week’s story I bring to you the hidden dangers of 5 gallon buckets.  Now I don’t mean to scare anyone and to be honest I really haven’t changed my habits on the farm any since this incident. What am I talking about?  Eyelids.  Specifically rather gruesome semi detached eyelids.

My late great arab mare Hobbie taught me that no matter how much you fuss over your horses, protect your pastures, fences, stalls and more, a horse will always find a way to hurt itself.  

I remember the day well, it was a beautifully warm summer morning and I headed off to work as I always did.  Not soon after I had arrived my phone rang, it was my husband.  He made several gagging sounds as he described the scene he discovered.  He had me at “dangling eyelid” and I immediately 180’d.

Hobbie sure did have a dangling eyelid.  She amazingly severed about ½ of it off and looked rather uncomfortable.  Thankfully, there wasn’t much blood and the only blood we could find was on her leg where she would rub her face.  I brought Hobbie into her stall and rinsed out the eye with saline solution and called the vet. 

Horse Eyelid Injury

The vet showed up a short time later and immediately set my mind at ease.  It could be repaired with 0% loss of function and 100% recovery with no scar.

So how does a vet operate on a horse’s eye?  They drug it of course.  Thankfully horses legs can lock in place in the standing position so with some sedatives and several hay bales to hold her head up Hobbie was resting comfortably. 

Drugged Horse Sleeping

Horse Eyelid Sewn Up

The vet made the job look so effortless and in a few short minutes the eyelid was reattached and good as new.

So why my comment about the 5 gallon buckets?  It turns out that she caught her eye on the handle of one of them.  Solution? Duct tape or electrical tape the bend where the handle meets the bucket.  Yes companies put rubber stoppers on the end but apparently they don’t help much.

I’ll have you know Hobbie fully recovered and had a beautiful eye just in time for her to be my mount in our wedding.

Here’s a look of the same eye just one week later.

Trail Tails
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3 comments to Trail Tails – Eyelid vs Water Bucket

  • Mary

    I too know of the danger and yet, like you, still have not changed my practice. Although I do not use buckets in my barn, I do use them when I travel. Simple solution is to just wrap the ends with some tape. We do that with the buckets at the barn I work at.

    • admin

      Yeah I now feed in those flexible rubber tubs and no more water buckets hanging now that they have a large trough. The old 5 gallon ones are now in the alpaca stalls and used to carry fencing supplies, and other stuff.

  • I really felt sorry to think looking at this horses eyes. I feel so sad.