My personal experience with colic, thankfully, has been limited. The horses I’ve had were blessed with good overall health, but that’s not to say we didn’t accumulate our fair share of extra vet bills over the years…
My Buddy did experience one bout of colic at Quarter Horse Congress in 1999. He was always a fit, easy keeper, but if you’ve ever shown at QHC, you know October in Ohio can bring a wild array of climate changes. Pair that with the stress of being in an unfamiliar barn, around unfamiliar horses, and you have a recipe for any number of health problems.
The week we were stalled at the fairgrounds came with some icy cold nights and steamy warm days. It was in the afternoon after a workout that I got a call from a friend who’d stopped by my stall looking for me. They weren’t “horsey” but knew enough about Buddy to tell me that he was lying down, and looked uncomfortable. I hustled back to my stall, paged the on-site vet, and got him up to start walking the barn aisles until the vet arrived. Luckily, apart from being a bit dehydrated (Buddy was always a little picky about strange water), the vet declared it was not a serious case of colic, and most likely due to stress. He gave him a shot of Banamine (I think?), told me to watch him carefully, and give him the rest of the day off. By that evening Buddy was his usual self, and I was grateful we hadn’t had any more problems. Even the most seasoned show horses can still get a case of nerves when travelling, so it’s really important to monitor them closely. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
My other experience that I recall was actually with one of Buddy’s “girlfriends” at our local county fair when we were in high school. Buddy had met “Blue” earlier in the week during a Showmanship class. I suspect his reaction was largely due to not having seen many light-coated horses before, but one look at her beautifully dappled grey color, and he was smitten! He couldn’t take his eyes off her (so paying NO attention to ME) as she trotted to the judge to work her pattern with my friend, then as she trotted back, breeze blowing her banded mane, he let out a guttural rumble saying what I can only imagine was Buddy-speak for “hubba hubba!” We all enjoyed a good laugh at his behavior that day!
Later in the week, after classes had ended for the day, a lot of us still milled around our stalls, chatting and playing games with friends to pass the time. We heard other people in what sounded like worried voices, talking about our friend’s grey mare, and that she seemed to be colicky. When we ventured out to the arena, there was our friend and his pretty mare, walking the perimeter of the arena. He had a noticeable dejected slump to his shoulders, she was switching her tail uncomfortably and trying to lie down every few steps. The entire horse complex went into action, the 4-H’ers took turns walking poor Blue, and helping keep her up when she wanted to lie down. The parents who were there got on phones to the vet, and arranged transportation for her to the hospital. We all banded together to help keep her stable until she could be sent to the vet. I don’t remember the final prognosis, other than she was eventually okay, and returned to the fair the next day, but it was so nice to see everyone working towards a common goal, despite having been competitors only hours before.
Buddy & I during Fair days
(I’m still trying to locate a picture of his love interest, please stay tuned!)