Saturday, December 14, 2013

Steen and the Bad Tummy

We didn't get to the barn all week again. Much of the week was quite cold, and I was on a super productive roll with work for some reason. I launched multiple websites, got a logo design approved, and was pretty much just a rockstar on the professional front for like five days in a row. So at least if I wasn't getting to the barn I was doing something useful with my time.

Today Brian and I headed out ready for a nice ride, but Steen was behaving strangely again. He came to me in the pasture but was a bit agitated as soon as we got inside. I turned him out in the arena and moved him around with the flag. He was moving fine, he just had this restless, edgy air about him. As I tacked him up I noticed he had some evidence of diarrhea on his hind legs, and a minute later he produced something that looked a good deal more like a cow patty than horse manure. But his temperature was normal, as was his appetite. His energy levels were higher than usual. So I decided a light ride might be a good thing for him.

During the ride, he was good. In spite of clearly not feeling well, he was doing his best to listen and behave. I kept things really easy. Basically we walked around for 40 minutes. His walk was snappier than it's been lately, and while he would stop and stand, he was happier moving. We did a lot of figure-eights and circles. At times during the ride he seemed to settle, but it never lasted. Also during the ride he produced another cow-pie and peed twice. Another strange thing was that he was licking his lips almost constantly, the whole ride. Steen is not actually much of a lick and chewer, particularly when he's nervous, so that was very odd. After the ride he was a bit sweaty, which is also unusual for Steen, particularly considering how light and short the ride was.

After the ride, I gave him a serving of Bear's Platinum Performance plus half a tub of probiotics. Then we went out to check on our other horses. Everyone else in the herd seems good. When we were hanging out petting Laredo and Zoey, I noticed the hay in one of the two rings is pretty different from what I'm used to seeing out there. For the most part, the bales our horses eat contain the local grasses that grow around the barn. But this bale had some of the flat, leafy chunks I'm more used to seeing in alfalfa.

This didn't totally register with me at the time. We said goodbye to the horses, drove home, and I turned to the internet. After reading a few alarming forum posts about cushings, kidney failure, and diabetes, I came across a discussion of what can happen to a horse that eats too much alfalfa. Namely: excessive urination, loose stool, excessive thirst, and extra warmth. Those were Steen's symptoms to a t.

So, I'm hoping that for whatever reason they have a bale out there with some alfalfa mixed in, and Steen went a little overboard on the tastier than normal grass. I'll check on him tomorrow and dose him with more probiotics. Hopefully he'll cool it on the alfalfa party (if that's the culprit) and they'll eat through these bales a get back to blander fare.

Ride Time: 0:40
Horseback Hours YTD: 192:15

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