Shaktiman learns to walk again — with shoe, prosthetic leg from US

The shoes have come all the way from the US, to be donned on his right hind foot to give him support as he learns to walk on his other new prosthetic leg that too was flown from Virginia last week.

Written by Devyani Onial | Dehradun | Updated: July 12, 2016 2:46 pm
Shaktiman, Shaktiman amputation, Shaktiman new leg, new leg, US free leg, BJP MLA, BJP, Ganesh Joshi, india news ‘After Chetak, Shatiman is India’s most famous horse’

On a hot summer afternoon, under a giant mosquito net at the Police Lines in Dehra Dun, a fitting session is in progress. Jamie Vaughan takes four shoes of varying sizes and tries them on a reluctant Shaktiman one by one. One of them fits and there is an air of cheer all around. The shoes have come all the way from the US, to be donned on his right hind foot to give him support as he learns to walk on his other new prosthetic leg that too was flown from Virginia last week. The fitting over, Shaktiman is at ease again, lying down as he does a lot these days, a pillow tucked under his head.

Vaughan, an American who lives in Paro in Bhutan where she runs an animal shelter, has been camping in Dehra Dun to treat Shaktiman and is responsible for getting him his prosthetic. “I came here first for his surgery and then now again for the prosthetic. I contacted the person who helps me make my prosthetics in the US and asked if he would help, and he said of course but the question was how to get it to India,” says Vaughan who volunteered to help after she was contacted by Dr Feroze Khambatta, the Mumbai-based surgeon who amputated Shaktiman’s leg.

WATCH: Shaktiman, Police Horse Injured At BJP Rally In Dehradun, Dies

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She put up a post on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to fly down the prosthetic limb to India and Tim Mahoney, a retired banker from Kentuky responded positively and flew halfway around the world with an unusual delivery, all at his own expense. The leg was fitted on Shaktiman over a week ago.

“After Chetak, Shaktiman is India’s most famous horse. Maybe for the younger generation, he is even better known than Chetak,” says Dr Kailash Uniyal, referring to the legendary horse of Maharana Pratap who has instant recall amongst Amar Chitra Katha comic readers of a certain vintage. Uniyal is one of the four vets who have been attending to Shaktiman, the 14-year-old horse of Dehra Dun’s Mounted Police whose left leg had to be amputated after he fell and was injured after being allegedly attacked by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi on March 14.

“How fast a horse gets used to a prosthetic leg varies from animal to animal. It could be days, weeks. There is lots to do, there’s a long way to go,” says Vaughan.

WATCH VIDEO: Police Horse Shaktiman’s Memorial Statue Built

Shaktiman is up on his feet nearly every two hours but he is not allowed to stand for too long, lest he strain himself. He is administered ice packs to help his wound heal and given physiotherapy everyday. He usually stands and walks around in his makeshift enclosure but on Wednesday, a few days ago after his prosthetic leg was fitted, he walked out of his enclosure and wandered around for a bit to claps and cheers from the team that has been caring for him ever since his accident. This prosthetic, says Uniyal, may need some adjustments and on Saturday they were trying out a new one as well for a while.

Indeed, the support to get Shaktiman back on all fours has been extraordinary. Apart from Vaughan, the team of vets and personnel of the Mounted Police, help has been pouring in from all over India and abroad. Abhas Sharma, a physiotherapist from Indore who has also worked with animals in the past, has dropped in for a few days and a manufacturer of animal feed has donated high energy feed to help speed Shaktiman’s recovery.

In the month following his accident, Shaktiman has lost about 70 kgs, bringing his weight to about 425 kgs, says Shyam Singh Chauhan, in-charge of the city’s Mounted Police that has 11 horses in its team. “We are not too worried about his weight loss. In fact, that may even work to his advantage as it will mean less stress on his legs,” says Chauhan.

Among those working round-the-clock for Shaktiman is Constable Ravinder. He may not have veterinary expertise but no one possibly shares a better understanding with Shaktiman than him. The constable was astride the steed when the mishap occurred and colleagues say, Ravinder was inconsolable for days following the incident, fearing euthanasia for Shaktiman. But the new lease of life has ushered in new hope for Ravinder who has partnered with Shaktiman on many occasions. He is forever by Shaktiman’s side, helping feed him, goad him into a sitting position for the occasional selfie-seeker or to handle the physiotherapy. In between, he fishes out a cellphone to show some old videos of him and the horse in their parade finery. “Kya sundar ghoda tha,” he says, “ekdum shaandar. Sab kuch khatam ho gaya. Lekin shukr hai ki woh zinda hai (He was such a beautiful horse. It’s all over now. But thankfully, he’s still alive).”

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  1. A
    Ashraf
    Apr 17, 2016 at 5:20 am
    Why can't we break that politicians leg and get prosthetics for him too.. Sic
    Reply
    1. S
      Swa
      Apr 17, 2016 at 2:48 am
      Shakitman you are a winner! Kudos to all who have been working tirelessly to help Shaktiman . You people are awesome. One evil person cannot spoil the good work done for humanity . Renewed my faith in mankind. Thank you all and God bless.
      Reply
      1. P
        police
        Apr 17, 2016 at 3:20 am
        Did ganesh joshi who broke the horse leg, got punished? Or Ganesh Joshi let go by our beloved "government machinary" that is supposed to take care of law and order?
        Reply
        1. D
          DrRamakrishnan KS
          Apr 17, 2016 at 11:16 am
          Despite many videos authenticating shaktimaan injury was caused by a unknown ailant and police who continue to sit despite the house leg was stuck, devyani choose as per lt;br/gt;Jeremiah 5:21lt;br/gt;Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear
          Reply
          1. K
            k basu
            Apr 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm
            This is cruelty to animals, the humane thing is to put him down. He is not going to survive because if he lies down he can not get up by himself. If horses remain too long lying down their intestines get tangled and they often die. Before doing the prosthetic leg ASPCA s in western countries should've been consulted. They have much more experience than the Indian ASPCA. And as usual the perpetrator probably well known to the police will never be prosecuted for his barbaric deed.
            Reply
            1. M
              MGD
              Apr 16, 2016 at 11:49 pm
              Now is the right time to break the leg of BJP MLA who is responsible for Shaktiman's present condition and make sure that he dose not get his prosthetic.
              Reply
              1. N
                Niladrinath Mohanty
                Apr 17, 2016 at 3:23 am
                What has happened to the stupid cruel BJP MLA.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Subhadeep Sadhukhan
                  Apr 17, 2016 at 3:24 am
                  Gd news. Feeling happy. But is dat Mla penalized yet?
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    surendra s
                    Apr 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm
                    Too happy to see the shaktiman stand up. Let this type of incident never happen again.
                    Reply
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