How long between the time when you notice something is "not quite right" with your horse and when you decide to call the vet?
In an emergency, how long will it take your regular vet to get to your house or your barn? Do you have the facilities necessary for the vet to deal with your horse? Do you have adequate lights, stocks, etc? Or is it faster and easier to haul to a clinic?
How long does it take to hitch your truck to your trailer, by yourself, in the dark? Is your trailer empty and clean, so you can load and go?
How long does it take to load your horse, by yourself, in the dark? Can you even load him by yourself, especially when he's not feeling well? If you need help, how long will it take someone else to get there to assist?
Does your truck have enough diesel in it to get to the vet without stopping? Have you checked your truck and trailer tire pressure recently? Changed the oil on schedule? Do your brakes and lights work? Is your vehicle registration and inspection current, including the trailer?
And in case you're wondering why I'm asking all these questions, Red choked again, but this time it didn't resolve quickly. I ended up hauling him to Elgin Vet Hospital because honestly, I don't have stocks, I don't have a barn, and treating him on-site could have been a challenge. Fortunately, the little booger managed to clear the choke on his own sometime in the last 20 minutes of the ride (I pulled over and checked on him halfway there, and he was a mess, so I kept driving, but then apparently he coughed it up on his own).
Still, it's scary in an emergency situation when you're by yourself, and as I was driving to the vet clinic, these things kept going through my mind. What if Red hadn't loaded? What if my brakes didn't work, like happened a few months ago? It makes me really glad that I try to keep up with making sure the truck and trailer are ready to go at any time, and that my boys both load on the first try. In an emergency, I know I can get to where I need to be with minimal fuss, and concentrate on my horse instead of my equipment.
And Red is now extremely put out with the mush that he's getting, but hopefully that's the last episode of choke we'll ever have to deal with. How he managed to choke on ONE POUND of Triple Crown Lite I'll never know...