Saturday, February 1, 2014

snow day=colic day

My excitement for our snow day started with Ranch Boy and I taking Junior for his first sled ride. I couldn't stop smiling because he was all bundled in his snowsuit with his arms sticking straight out. He loved it and fussed every time we stopped!

Horses love watching silly things like babies on sleds! 

The fun was cut short when Ranch Boy and I went out to feed the Ranch horses. We drove the truck into the field. The horses were hyped from the snowy night and snortin and buckin' and eager to eat. Except one. 

She was laying down and did not get up when we drove in. Ranch Boy walked towards her and she jumped up and walked off to another area about 100 get away and laid back down. Not a good sign. 

We fed the horses, haltered the mare and led her out.  I put one of my horse's turnout blankets on her and RB started walking her as I called the vet.  The snow had started falling again. 

{Luna in the background watching. }

We'd lost a mare to colic a month ago and by the time we found her she was in poor shape- low pulse, no gut sounds, gray gums, hardly able to stand and walk, and throwing herself down. However, this mare seemed uncomfortable, but was fairly calm. She walked and rested, only trying to go down on her knees twice. She wasn't sweaty or looking at her side. 

The vet arrived and assessed her. Some gas  sounds. Didn't feel anything unusual during the rectal. He went to tube her and the reflux concerned him. Quite a bit of water came back out of the tube from her stomach and it was discolored. He didn't feel comfortable putting more fluid in on top of what might be there which would cause her for more discomfort. 

She got the sedative and banamine and he gave us a tube to administer later doses. Rest, walk, no food, monitor. 

This continued for 24 hrs. Even on banamine the little red mare spent most her time down. Either lying quietly or rolling gently on her side, but not all the way over. Just quietly down. 

The first night I got her out at 7:30 pm and walked her in the snow. I was encouraged
Add she walked briskly. On one pass from our walk to the barn I thought I spotted something in the snow.

Poop! Now we'd seen her poop some since the beginning, but it is always encouraging to see poop in a colicy horse. In fact, she even found some spilled hay in the snow and was nuzzling it like she wanted to eat.

The next 24 hrs was more of the same. At times she was up and looked better, other times she was down. RB went out at midnight both nights to give her banamine and walk her.  We went to check on her the second morning and it was obvious she was much worse, much more severe agitation and signs of pain, more rolling, up and down, and looking at her side.  Darn it. 

The vet came back out and the assessment was not good. Despite an intravenous dose of banamine her heart rate and agitation did not improve she pawed the ground while standing, wanting to lay down. The vet felt a pretty severe impaction this time. Her eyelids were blood red from toxins in her system. Without intervention at a clinic to possibly hydrate the bowels on IV, there was little we could do but end her pain. 

It is never an easy decision, whether the horse is a champion, a young horse with years of potential, or an older 21 year old mare like this one. Because of the length of her symptoms and severity, the decision was made to put her down. You don't know what is going on inside- there could already be a compromised bowel, rupture, tumor, etc. We'd only had the mare a few years and although she hadn't coliced before, we didn't know her history. 

Marey was laid to rest at 2:00 yesterday afternoon.

I feel bad that I never got to know this mare better.  She was one of those easy keeper horses. No drama. She just did her job hauling kids around. She wasn't very big- maybe 14.1 hands. She had a low head carriage and ears that kind of flopped out. She looked very uncomfortable to ride- she had stiff gaits. She was never prancing or running around the pasture with her trail flagged. In fact, you hardly noticed her at all. But you could count on her. She was reliable and never wavered. She was just good ole Marey.

I hope she's running with her tail flagged
In horsey heaven now.

Ranch Girl


juliette said...

Oh, this is so sad. I am so sorry. Poor sweet girl.

Your sweetie boy riding the sled is just adorable.

What a sad ending to an otherwise fun day.

Kate said...

I am so sorry. Poor girl and my sympathies to you and your family.

SquirrelGurl said...

I'm so sorry.

fernvalley01 said...

RIP Marey, poor girl! You did your best for her and that matters a lot. I am sorry for your loss

Mrs Mom said...

Ranch Boy Jr is a beautiful lil feller!! So handsome :)

Knee mails from our corner to yours on the loss of sweet Marey. Always such a tough decision to have to make. :(

Story said...

So sorry. I was so sure as I read on that we were going to find a happy ending but our worst fears came true. Hugs to you and your family.

C-ingspots said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this! God, how I hate colic...seems like we all have to experience it sooner or later. She looks like a sweet mare, and worth her weight in gold if she took care of the kiddos. Bless her heart. R.I.P. dear Marey...

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Thank you everyone, for your kind thoughts! As we get more snow and even cooler temps we will be doing what we can to insure the horses drink a lot of water and stay hydrated!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sorry to hear about this. It's never easy losing a horse. They become part of our family.

I'm sure she's in Heaven and probably packing some kids around while waiting for their parents to join them.

gowestferalwoman said...


You did the right thing. And sometimes even when we do the right thing, it doesnt turn out the way we plan.


In the meanwhile, that little ranchboy is the cutest little guy ever in that snowsuit!

50+ Horses said...

Oh Man...I'm so sorry! She looks like she was a good girl, soft eyed. You guys did a great job, she was lucky to have you there.

On a brighter note, Ranch Boy Jr. is adorable and growing! (Love that hat!)