Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vernonia Flood

Oregon is just starting to dry out. We had severe flooding and high winds over the past couple of days. I-5 shut down, the worlds largest Sitka Spruce toppled, and the town of Vernonia became an island. Working in news means any weather event equals all hands on deck. I worked lots of overtime, got really muddy, and saw how mother nature can wreak havoc on the lives of so many. The weather forecaster's predicted the storm, but no one was ready for the amount of rain and the flooding that followed. There was simply no time to evacuate. Many lost everything in their homes as well as some livestock, including horses. Fortunately for me, I didn't see any dead horses because I was based in downtown. It would have broke my heart, but another photographer shot this video of a couple horses standing knee deep in water, looking pretty exhausted. Which brings me to a topic I have wanted to talk about for awhile...sleep deprivation in horses. It is a myth that horses can get all the sleep they need standing up. Not true. Horses need 30 to 60 minutes of paradoxical sleep a day, which means muscles of the body are completely relaxed and they are lying down. They can go a few days without paradoxical sleep and then you will see "sleep attacks" where they just catch themselves awake or collapse. Be aware of sleep deprivation when you are at shows, or traveling or keeping your horse in a stall without turnout. Sometimes a horse may feel the stall is too small to lay down in and will end up sleep deprived. I leased a horse that was kept in a stall and she collasped three times within six months with me on her back. I thought she had narcolepsy, but came to realize she was sleep deprived. The Vernonia horses look so tired and I am hoping things dry out for them soon so they can get some well deserved shut eye.


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your video but I didn't watch it. I just don't like to see any animal in distress and for that reason I don't look. There was a time when that never bothered me but it sure does now.

I worry myself sick, almost over a bird or a squirrel or almost anything. I don't know if it is normal or not, but probably not.

Molly said...

My old Appaloosa would occasionally fall asleep on his feet and tumble backwards, like a donkey sitting down. I rarely caught him laying down. I bet the two are related, and I never knew the reason.
How's Maddy? Stall rest must be coming to an end.

photogchic said...

I can't agree with you more Lincoln. I am so glad it was not me that shot the video. I would have had a hard time seeing that in person. Hard enough to hear people lost their horses in this flood. I just wanted to share the extent of the damage and remember the horses and relay that they are experiencing some hardships as well.

You are very normal! Not normal would be to have no compassion:-)

One more week of stall rest Molly...counting the days.

Tracey said...

The weather has been just frightful, hasn't it? I'm going to be attempting to get down to a work party in the Chehalis (WA) area where some folks lost their sheep farm; 60+ sheep gone...only 12 left.

We were very blessed up north as not even our rivers flooded this time.

Rising Rainbow said...

I've seen other footage on the local news of horses that are still stranded. It is so sad. Some of those farms are totally gone and the people have no money to rebuild. Even if their horses have survived, many families will have to give them up because they can no longer afford them while trying to rebuild. It makes me heartsick, all this devestation.

We are working to get feed and supplies for the livestock together to send into the worst hit areas both from the flooding and the coastal areas that experienced hurricane force winds.

Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

I havent been to visit you for ages, life has been tough for a few months but hope to be able to check in more regularly from now on. I am sorry that Maddy has had leg problems, I will have to go back and see if I can find where you posted what happened.

My heart goes out to all of the people affected by this dreadful flooding and bad weather, seeing those poor horses standing in that water brings tears to my eyes because I know that their plight is not nearly as bad as some others and this is bad enough.

I hope it dries out soon, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.


Deanna said...

I am just speechless from viewing that clip... I didn't realize that was happening. said...

I can't watch the clip either. Nature can be so unfair -- we're in a drought, you're deluged. I'm sorry it's been so devastating in your area.

I also didn't know about horses and sleep deprivation. Very interesting.

One of my horses loves to take naps in the afternoon, sprawled out in the pasture. Unfortunately, she can't do that because of the fire ants in the summer. You can tell when the temperature has changed because you'll see our out there lying down. I feel bad about the fire ants, but they're even in the house.

Hope you're dried out by now.

Anne at

Rising Rainbow said...

YOu haven't posted in a while, I hope that everything is OK.