Stall casting is dangerous for horses and can cause injuries. Stay calm and try to move the horse by pulling its tail or using long lines. Sedation may be necessary. Preventative measures include banking stalls and using safety strips. Most horses can recover with help.
Stall casting can be a scary and dangerous experience for both you and your horse. It occurs when your horse lies down or rolls over in its stall and gets trapped too close to the wall. When this happens, he can’t get his feet under himself to have enough leverage to stand up. Stall casting is very dangerous and most horses are injured if they startle and start wriggling. Exhaustion into shock is another concern for a panicked horse.
If you find your horse has bolted, the most important thing you can do is stay calm. Your horse will need to rely on you to keep it from panicking. Talk to him calmly and make sure he’ll be okay. If help is nearby, secure a helper or two.
If your horse is relatively calm, go to his stall with your handler. If it seems possible, you can try to move it slightly by pulling its tail. If that’s not an option, wrap a long line around each of the furthest front and rear legs, while your handler holds your horse’s head and reassures him. Stand back and pull equally on both long lines to turn it, towards you. If there is room, it would be helpful for your assistant to pull your horse’s head at the same time. Let go of the rope as soon as your horse has rolled past the withers, as he will be able to stand up normally. It’s important to give him space, as he will likely move quickly at this point.
If your horse is too panicked for you to help him safely, it is best to sedate him. If you have an assistant, ask him to hold your horse’s head for safety while you inject it with a low-dose sedative, such as acepromazine. This should start working quickly, then you can proceed with the long line technique to turn him around so he can regain his balance.
Once your horse is standing, check for injuries and assess his well-being. If he needs sedation, it’s best to pay a visit to the vet to evaluate that your horse hasn’t injured himself. Offer water to your horse, but allow it to calm down before resuming eating.
The simplest preventative measure for stall casting is to bank your stalls. This involves adding a row (or bank) of bedding along each wall of your stall. It should be at least 6 inches (15.24cm) high and 6 inches (15.24cm) wide. This will prevent your horse from getting too close to the walls of his stable. Other options for stall casting are safety strips. These raised rubber nubs create a surface your horse can use to push itself off the wall. The tongue and groove panels will also give your horse the leverage it needs to straighten itself.
Stall casting is rarely traumatic and usually does not result in injury. Some horses will assess their situation and wait for help to arrive, while others will jack their hoof against a wall and push back far enough to be able to stand. A stalled casting can present a rather frightening picture, but with care it is usually possible to help your horse to its feet, even if you are alone.