Monday, October 20, 2008

Water, Colic, & Other Things

Still no water and the weather's starting to change--clouds and wind rolling in--hmmm...there'll be some water soon--sky water.

I'm a little frustrated--can you tell from my last post? It's not like we've skimped on taking care of our well. We call the pros out to do the job, and yet, we're without water every month or so.

I mentioned that Cowgirl coliced Saturday. I think it was because of the moldy hay. She's a baby about tummy aches--she's only four years old and has a low tolerance for them.

When we first purchased her, we drove from Lewiston, ID (north) to Hagerman, ID (South East) in fog and snow to pick her up. Shiloh had found her on and just had to have her after she'd lost her colt to a broken leg. They told us they'd deliver her half way in McCall.

However, when we got to McCall, they said Boise. When we got to Boise, they said a rest stop two hours away. When we looked at the map, we ended up five minutes from Hagerman, ID. Ha ha--the joke was on us.

By the time we got there, we didn't even inspect her. We just said load her up and here's your money. Turns out, though, she's a great horse.

On the trip back--about 7 hours of winding cold road and dark--this little weanling did great. The only problem she showed for it was some gas colic the next day. We gave her a bit of Banamine and it took care of it right away.

Since then, she has coliced three more times. Once in Fall '06--we loaded her right up and took her to the vet. She had a BM on the way thanks to the trailering, and was fine and dandy when she stepped out. (The vet still tubed her).

Then, the next time was this summer. I'm not sure what caused it, but after dinner she was lying around in her run. This time I gave her a tiny bit of Banamine and trailered her around. She was fine.

Lastly, this Saturday--I watch the horses like a hawk from my living room window--it overlooks the barns and runs--I have eagle-eyes on all of my horses for the slightest abnormal behavior-- I saw Cowgirl lying down at breakfast. I was out the door and into the truck faster than you could snap your fingers. Banamine and a trailer ride--a little bran mash and voila!--all better. (Thanks to the the vet who gave us the Banamine from Spokane Vet Clinic).

So, I consider myself an expert on colic nowadays--after learning about it the hard ways. It may seem like a over react, but I lost my baby I'd raised and trained, to colic last year.

Last year was a bad one for us and horses. My horse, Cowboy, broke his coffin bone, and then the vet misdiagnosed it as an abscess. I had the vet out every week and multiple x-rays for three months, but they never figured it out until I got a second (actually third) opinion in Spokane. Fractured P3. So, thanks to the farrier and a year of stall rest, and MIRACLES, I have my horse back and I rode him all summer.

But my baby, I'd raised and trained from four months old--he died from colic. The vet tubed him over and over again, and we kept him well-hydrated, but there was something else going on in there, and he died. I regret that I didn't have the vet open him after he died, but I didn't even think of it at the time. We figure it was either twisted or dislocated from all the rolling around he'd do out in the pasture (he was a roller), but now I'll never know. He'd always had a hard time keeping on weight. I had his teeth floated from the time he was a yearling (genetically bad teeth), and I had him on high protein diets with lots of rice bran. All of our other horses are borderline obese half the time, but he was always on the thinner side.

I don't know why some are more prone to illneses like colic than others. We have a couple of old guys out there who don't colic no matter what they eat. I'm starting to think it all has more to do with genetics than we understand.

When I purchased Red, he was getting fed lawn clippings over the fence by an ignorant neighbor. His owners were letting the neighbor do it!! But he was as healthy as (Who came up with that saying, btw--obviously, not a horse owner).

He's 28 years old now--almost 29--and still going on most of the trail rides and teaching all the young kids in our family and around the neighborhood how to ride. Our 18 year old QH, Shadow, same thing. The guy just keeps going and going.

It seems like it's the young ones who get in the most trouble. Maybe it's that they don't know better--or they have a lower tolerance for pain...I'm not sure.

I'm thinking that Beautiful has a high tolerance for almost everything. Her swelling went down and she's dropping weight in her neck fast. I've got the whole family on the same page about how to feed her. She looks good right now. I've meant to start working her in the roundpen now that her hooves are under control, but I haven't yet. I think I'll wait to talk to my farrier about it tomorrow and see what he recommends for her.

You'd never know she was a wild mustang by the way she acts around the kids--she's as gentle as she can be. Domestication is not a bad thing for a wild horse like her--they were domestic to begin with after all. It seems to come natural for them, and oddly enough, Beautiful seems to prefer her stall and run to the great outdoors. She seems to appreciate a home and reliable food and water much more than the domestic horses do.


  1. What a terrible time you're having with the water!! Hope you get it worked out before the snow flies and Thanksgiving.

  2. Sorry about your water problem. Ours was a pump problem that plauged us off and on all summer. Got it solved though. Trailer rides really do work for colic huh? Some not though. When Pepper coliced Jed McKinley thought we would lose him. It was awful. He spent 3 days in the hospital. But otherwise the trail ride has worked.

  3. The things I do only work for mild colic. I don't want them to get in too much pain and start rolling around and making it worse, so I give them a very small dose of Banamine (enough to NOT hide the symptoms if it's a bad one and they need vet help), then I trailer them to keep them on their feet without wearing them out (which you couldn't do if they were in severe pain, and lastly, I make them a warm bran mash. Then, I observe and see if they're up and around or comfortable. Cowgirl will usually get back to normal within two hours. My colt I lost, though, had more severe symptoms from the beginning.

  4. Are you having pump, panel or well problems?

    I think nature sorts out the colicky horse early. Sounds like poor Cowgirl has a very bad tummy. My horse, Eb was eating lawn clipping for some time before I caught on. I lived in Greenacres and had a long narrow 2 acre pasture for him. At the end of the pasture were several duplexes with lawns surrounding them. I noticed Eb always loved to watch the man mow the lawns. I can't remember how long it took, but I finally discovered why, the man was dumping the lawn clippings over the fence for Eb. He never got sick he was just really fat. I asked the man to stop because Eb was getting too fat. It seems some horses can tolerate anything. In England I knew a girl who's dad gave her hunter/jumper the lawn clippings every week. I'd never risk it.

    I kept my first pony with a very wise old gypsy's horses. He had many tricks for sick or troublesome horses. For colick his rule was to keep them walking so they don't roll and twist their gut and if they went down to pour water in their ear to get them up to shake their head. That's all I remember about his colick cure. I'm not sure if the water bit was a joke.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.