Thursday, April 6, 2017


This may have been the mildest winter we've ever had on record and yet I had not one but two horses experience colic. For those of you who aren't "horse people" colic is equivalent to constipation in people. In horses if gone untreated can kill them. It causes them great discomfort. If the impaction can't be dislodged surgery may be required or the horse have to be euthanized.

It tends to happen when a horse keeps eating but decreases their water intact causing their bowels to slow. It can also be caused by poor quality hay or overgrazing, It can be more common in older horses. We aren't for certain what may have been the contributing factors but some of the bales in the last hay we got was a bit stringy and bigger stemmed which could have caused the problem.

That was our first colic. February 9th....Clyde. He's 27 now. He's past the average life expectancy of a horse (25). Because I see my horses twice a day I know them. I know their normal behavior and it doesn't take me long to figure out when something is wrong. When a horse won't eat that's your first clue something isn't right.

He was fine when I fed that morning but when I came to feed that evening it was all different. In fact when I drove by the pasture to the drive leading to the barn he was laying down in the pasture. I panicked! I thought he was dead. My heart started racing! As I get out of my truck I see him get up! I let out a big sign of relief! It was still odd that he would lay down that time of day as it was about sunset. I head to the barn to get their feed ready. Diamond and Fancy come but Clyde doesn't. I walked him to his stall but all he did was stand there and never offered to even sniff his food. Big red flag! My first suspicion was colic. I put my ear to his tummy. You should hear almost a constant gurgling sound.  I heard nothing! Red flag #2! I check his gums and they are pale. Red Flag #3. I then notice he is shifting his weight from one back foot to another. Another indicator he is in pain.

I call Doyle. I then call the clinic. Of course it's after hours which will mean it will cost more but Clyde needs relief. Doyle comes to help get the trailer hooked up. He discovers the lights and trailer brakes aren't working. Great! He pulls it apart and discovered that when I had pulled the trailer the day before I evidently pulled the cord stripping all the wires. Well great. That means I have to wait for the vet to come to me.

Long story short they arrive. They oil him up (run a tube in his nose down to his stomach and fill it with oil, water and electrolytes. Then give him something to relax him and relieve his pain. By morning he was back to his old self!

Then a month, almost to the day (March 13th) Diamond had colic. Similar situation. He was fine the night before but when I went to feed the next morning something wasn't right. He was standing at the fence as usual. I typically feed them carrots in the morning. That is the only time I give them so they won't be looking for them every time someone is out there. He never offered to eat it! First red flag! He started toward the barn with the others but once again he wouldn't come in. I get Fancy and Clyde situated and then go walk Diamond into his stall. Same as Clyde. He just stood there and never offered to even smell his food! Red flag #2! Geez, here we go again. I listen to his gut. No sound! That's not good! Red flag #3. I call Doyle. Looks like I will be making a trip to the vet instead of the office!

The vet concurs with me he's got colic and prepares to tube him. Well he wasn't as sick as we thought. He fought them! He was mad and pawed at them! I hadn't seen that side of him before! So they sedated him for the procedure. He was one drunk horse 😏. It took him a bit longer to get better, It wasn't until the following morning that he was back to himself but thankfully he was.

I just threw this one in there because I think it's pretty of Fancy. I love how the morning light makes her coat shine like a new penny! Makes me think of my Uncle Art who had a horse this color with that name.

Everyone is well again and doing fine. Thank goodness!

Have a good one.


  1. Glad they are all doing well now! Goodness! And it's a good thing you know them so well. They are lucky horses to have you! :) And yes, that photo of Fancy is really a good one to show off her coat.