Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Not-Good Surprise

I guess I'm the one who gets to break the bad news.  When I left a lodge full of people (literally, 26 of us!) this morning to go feed, I knew something was wrong.  GunDiva's horse wouldn't come when called.  I put feed in the others' bowls and called Estes again.  This time she came over very slowly and stuck her nose in the bowl, then gave me a pathetic look, "I just can't eat right now."  Oh-oh.

"So, Estes, what's wrong?"  To this she walked over to a soft spot, laid down and curled herself into a ball.

I hop through the fence, grabbing a piece of twine on the way.  "Come on, girl, let's walk!"  A few times around the corral and I started hearing gut sounds.  Another half dozen times around and she laid down and stretched this time.  More walking, a few 'Hershey's squirts' and I thought we were making progress.  She appeared much better, followed me around a few more times, voluntarily with some little trots, then headed for her bowl.  I wasn't much worried as I had seen Jesse clean it out.  I was just glad to see her show interest.

I headed back to the lodge to help with dishes, then back out to check.  Good gut sounds, good look in her eye, gentle tail swishing, so I thought we had beat it this time.  Back to the lodge to start changing rooms.

Phone rings:  Compass calling to say Estes is down-and not looking good.  Back out to the corral.  This time it was pretty apparent we needed to do more.  Had to struggle to get her up, walking, walking, walking.  Wrangler helping take turns to keep her on her feet.  Notice what she is passing is full of sand.  Call GunDiva, call the vet - both of whom are on their way up in a rush.  Decide to do an IV Banamine and keep her moving.  I found myself talking under my breath; more chanting, really, "You will NOT die on my shift.  Keep moving!"

Bless her heart; she kept pace with all of us and did keep moving.  Once she did go down and got her feet tangled in the rails when she rolled, but we were able to keep her from casting and got her moving again.  Once the Banamine started taking effect, she started moving a little easier.  GunDiva and the vet showed up a few minutes apart.  Poor Estes got tubed and lubed; new experiences for all of us.  She was an absolute jewel through all of this.

Five hours later.  Now she seems to be resting.  Vet says we are not out of this yet; it will take about a week to get all the sand out of her system and we will probably see more colic.  We've put mats down under the feeders and will start psyllium treatments tomorrow.  Bill just came back from checking and said she has minimal gut sounds.  We are just waiting for the orange Metamucil to do its job; the vet would actually like her to lie down and rest.  We worked so hard keeping her up, I think she's afraid to lie down now.  Looking around the corral, I think she pooped out a good deal of the sand before we even noticed this morning, as the vet just got some sandy stuff and some good looking stuff, too.  Hoping that's a good sign.
GunDiva is staying the night, on vigil.  Estes's to have another shot of Banamine in a couple of hours.

I asked the vet why only Estes is having problems, as all the horses eat together and the same stuff.  He believes Mustangs tend to move sand through their systems better (gut of iron, he says) and they tend to NOT snuff up ground as they eat.  No matter; they are all getting treated this week!  I'm thinking this could be part of the reason Jesse gets touchy around the loins and rather grouchy at this time of year - every year.  Then she has a couple loose movements and she's all better.  Hmmmm?

We are always learning with horses.


  1. Sounds like you did everything just right. Praying things keep going smoothly and Estes pulls out of this. Colic always scares me to pieces.

  2. Praying it goes well. I try to do the psyllium treatment twice a year, religiously once. Still know that colic can and probably will happen sometime. Hang in there. These things happen.

  3. This is the second time I've read about a horse getting sand colic this week, sounds awful, I wish contiued healing for her.

  4. I was scared all through this post!

    Having a horse go down while colicking can be terrifying. (Especially if you are trapped under her, like I was).

    I am so glad she is doing better... I didn't even want to breathe till I got to the end of the post to realize that she was pulling through!

    You go Estes!

  5. So sorry about Estes - keeping her in my prayers.

    I live on the central TX-OK border. I'm sure you know we're in the midst of a summer long drought. We have virtually no new grass growth and the grass that's here has been eaten down to the ground so our horses are eating a lot of dirt/sand when they graze. perfect colic inducing conditions.

    Wanted to share our preventative weapon - we add a cup of powdered wheat bran to every horses feed bucket, at every feeding.

    We started doing this last month (per vet recommendation) when my gelding started showing signs of a stomach ache. He got better so there's no way to know for sure that it was early stages of colic. But if it was, the wheat bran stopped it. Colic issues aside, wheat bran's cheap and it's good for their digestive system.

    I hope Estes stays on the road to recovery and feels better soon.
    God Bless.

  6. 6:30 a.m. Thanks to everyone. Everyone here is helping out as much as possible. Estes is getting lots of 'tummy rubs'; Compass pulled out her book on equine colic massage so we would know the trigger points, like in acupuncture. We would always hear a few more gut sounds afterwards, so maybe it is helping. She made it through the night, even the rainy portions. The rest of the herd is hanging out close by, seeming to try to comfort her. I got the feeling from the vet that getting her through the night would be a really good sign.

  7. Well, Estes is still alive, and looking somewhat better. It's been up and down all day, but here at bed time, she's definitely up.

    Time will tell...


  8. I sure hope she's passed the colic now.

  9. I'm just catching up on this...horrible. I hate colic. I lost a colt to colic about four years ago. Sounds like she's on the mend though...thank goodness. I'm sorry you all had to experience it.


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