Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Loss

On Christmas morning, we got the sad news that a horse in our pasture died. Of colic. This was after a different horse spent four days fighting colic and appears to have pulled through. Two cases of severe colic in short order is never a good thing, but in this case its particularly notable because in nearly six years years boarding at this facility, there has never been a single case of colic in the pasture herd. It now seems pretty likely that the bad bale was very bad indeed.

The horse stuff caused a bit of upheaval with our holiday plans. We stopped at the barn on the way out of town Monday morning. In zero degree weather, we brought all four horses in and got them moving around a bit. I was happy to see that Steen's mouth appeared somewhat better all around. The other three were also less hesitant to eat and showed good energy and alertness. We got on the road for Chicago feeling like things were looking up.

But then yesterday we woke up to the news that Litefoot had died. Apparently, it happened fast. At 2:30 pm on Christmas Eve he was fine. A few hours later, he was dead. The vet wasn't sure what happened. It was some sort of colic. The barn manager's guess is a rupture, as the vet couldn't feel much of an impaction. But whatever it was, the horse was in a colossal amount of pain until they let him go.

Litefoot was the only horse at the barn who had been around longer than Steen. Our barn owner picked him up when he was a yearling. My sister borrowed him a couple of years ago when she was out for a visit (back when I only had two horses) so we could all ride together. He was only 11.

My sister and me riding Litefoot and Steen in early 2012.

Of course, it was unbelievably sad to hear that a horse I have known for so long, have ridden, patted in the pasture, and seen pal around my our horses, was gone. But it was extra alarming because we thought the bad bale was gone, and the saga was over. The new hay was put out on Friday. Litefoot died on Tuesday.

My sister on Litefoot in April of 2012.

Brian and I had planned to stay in Chicago through the end of the week, but the news of Litefoot's death prompted us to head home early. We know both the barn manager and the barn owner are paying extra close attention to the herd. But still....

We stayed for Christmas dinner with Brian's family and loaded up the car this morning. We got to the barn in the early afternoon, and all four of our horses seemed fine. We brought Bear and Steen in and did a light ride, then brought Zoey and Laredo in and moved them around in the arena a little and assured ourselves they were ok. Steen's mouth no longer smells like a hamster graveyard, and he was only drooling a little. So again, we left the barn reassured.

Then we came home. Only to see on Facebook a few hours later that another horse in our herd is displaying colic symptoms.

Needless to say, we are not happy campers. But at least we're at home, fifteen minutes away from the barn, instead of off in Illinois. If something happens with one of ours, at least we can get there quickly. And if this latest horse turns out to need it, we can serve as relief crew for those trying to keep him going.

Ride Time: 1:00
Horseback Hours YTD: 197:15

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