Moose River Farm Blog

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mayhem: Colic Part II

      Good Evening,
      Last week I began a series about mayhem.  Although Moose River Farm runs smoothly 99% of the time, chaos throws us into a state of despair occasionally.  These temporary episodes force me to appreciate how really well the farm runs and how vigilant management and acute awareness of all residents combined with an enormous amount of luck are responsible for the smooth prevailing rhythm in which I thrive.
      Colic is the most dreaded invitation to mayhem.  Without warning a horse begins to exhibit the telltale symptoms that clearly communicate abdominal discomfort.  Pawing the stall floor, refusing to eat and excessive rolling on the ground are all signals that strike fear into the hearts of us caregivers.  To date the colic cases at MRF have all ended favorably.  Many friends have not fared as well.  After expensive attempts prove futile, the horse is ultimately put down.  Worse yet, the horse dies an agonizingly slow death on his own. 
      Last week I wrote about one colic episode that did require veterinary assistance when my Thoroughbred gelding Easau was the victim on Mother's Day, (Mayhem: Colic Part I).  His condition was brought under control after hours of intervention.  In today's excerpt from Finding My Way to Moose River Farm my niece Amy's Thoroughbred gelding, Welby is the target of mayhem's sense of humor.
The following event took place in August, 2011.
      "Rod, Welby is dead in his stall!" I shouted as my husband came urgently out through the door alarmed by the sound of my voice.  "I can't believe he is dead in his stall!" I cried.
      Back to the barn I ran as Rod collected his thoughts and dressed for the trek out to the barn. 
      The crisis began on the first morning of summer vacation when I arrived in the barn to feed breakfast.  The horses greeted me with hungry whinnies while I tossed hay into each stall.  As I approached Welby’s stall, it occurred to me that I couldn't see him through the bars.  When I opened his door, I found him lying flat out on his side, completely still with eyes open staring at nothing.  Unable to comprehend what I was looking at, I entered the stall and pushed at his hind quarters with my foot.  He did not move.  That's when I took off for the house to alert Rod. 
      Back at Welby's stall, I stared at the form lying deathly still in the shavings.  With my hand over my mouth, I entered the stall and approached his head.  I squatted down next to him and stroked his face.  My only thought was sadness that he had died alone.  I told him how much we loved him, how much Amy loved him.  Then an ear moved.  As it rotated back and forth to capture my voice his eyes moved.  He sat up on his chest, groggy but very much alive.  I moved to the other side of his body and began to push on his back and hind quarters, encouraging him to get to his feet.  He wasn't inspired to rise.  By now Rod had arrived in the barn.  He approached the stall fully expecting to see a carcass and wondering how on Earth he was going to remove the walls to get Welby out of the barn.    
      "Well he's not exactly dead," I giggled through tears as I realized how absurd I sounded in my initial panic.  "Something is still not right about him."
      With both of us coaxing, we managed to encourage Welby to his feet.  He had no appetite, but there were several piles of manure strewn about in his stall; a good sign.  We surmised that the new green hay delivered just a few days before had probably given Welby a gassy bellyache.  He spent the day quietly in his stall and did not eat much until later in the afternoon.  By the next morning, he had recovered completely.  After a few days’ rest, he was as good as new.

Welby, very much alive! (with Amy)


     
      


1 comment:

  1. Oh My, what a frightening morning!
    I love how your kind soothing words snapped him back into reality.
    And it's so nice having Rod always there for support when dealing with horsey mayhem!

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