Be forewarned…profanity ahead…don’t say I didn’t warn you, ‘kay?
I call my Girl many things…she’s Cookie, she’s a Miserable Cow, she’s my Dork, my sweet chicken livered Dolly, my Heart Horse…she’s also my Iron Paint. By that I mean, she has never been sick, hooves aside, she’s always healthy, and I can count the number of injuries (not bug related) I’ve had to treat on her on exactly 1 finger…
She is as low maintenance, health wise, that a horse can be.
Early yesterday morning I went out with the camera to take some shots of her lying (and rolling) in the grass. I get great shots in the morning light of the Girls, and figured this was another chance to showcase my Sweetie’s beauty.
The whole time I took these, I was sure I was photographing a happy (aside from bugs) horse. Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong.
I had to go back up to the house to get Daphne out of the cats food, and went in to grab a coffee. When I looked out the front window, I saw not only was Cookie down again, in a different spot, but she was rolling again. Odd.
Out I went to check on her…and then, I saw the droopy donkey ears, the tense looking belly, the all-over sheen of sweat and oh my…the Elvis lip.
Shit…oh motherfucking shit.
My heart hit the ground, because I knew…I just fucking knew, what I was dealing with. And, it scared me to the ends of the Earth.
That one thing that new mothers and horse owners fear at all times…
First stop, call the vet, because a. it’s Cookie, and um, I don’t know how to get her through and b. rolling. Oh, Goddess, rolling.
Rolling is bad.
Really, really, really bad.
It twists guts, which can lead to death.
Vet was busy, but would be on his way ASAP, and, in the meantime, I did what I do with Sable. I deal with this with Sable far more often than I like, but, at least I know what to do with her. So, transfer those skills to the Madam…
Lead rope on her was a bust…she turned into a psycho horse. Rearing, bucking, cantering around me in circles, trying to run over me…okay, lead rope off, because stressing her more wasn’t going to work. And down she goes…into her back I went, knee braced into her withers, talking the whole time…and I start the back rub that always helps Sable. At this point, I’m not hearing her guts working…this is so fucking bad…but I’m hoping it’s because my stethoscope is shit (note to self, spend the $$$ on a good stethoscope!), not because there really is no gut sounds…
When I say gut sounds, I mean, at any given time, you should be able to hear a horse’s digestive system working. Much like we have growly tummies when we’re hungry, that’s what a good working gut sounds like. It’s not because they’re hungry, it’s because their digestive system is working on the food they ate.
No sounds means things are not working…now, it could be a gas bubble holding things up. If that was the case, what I was doing could help stimulate things enough to shift it and move things along. Or, worse…so much fucking worse, it could be an impaction.
The thought scared me, because that’s a guaranteed vet visit and not a guaranteed recovery.
But I wasn’t going to dwell on that thought, because, like I kept telling her…she was going to be okay. Mama said so, and when Mama says you’re going to be okay, you’re just going to be okay. No choice.
We spent the next couple hours with her getting up, turning around, and laying back down…I rubbed her back (palms along her spine, my whole weight bearing down on her), and pushing the pressure point in her mouth. The pain was easing, I knew, because her nostrils weren’t flaring as bad, ears were not as droopy…but she was still hurting.
The vet made it out, she was still down, he listened to her stomach and found he could hear her gut working.
Stupid shit stethoscope.
He gave her a shot of banamine, and with discussion and a stern admonition to call him ASAP if anything changed for the worse, he went onto his next call.
During the next couple hours, things were more of the same…she managed to get herself cast against a straw bale, where the Kid and I had to roll her by hand…oh, and stupid fucking idiot at one point lay too close to the white fence, rolled, and got a back leg caught in the fence. I thought she was going to break her leg…the last thing I ever want to have to do is shoot my horse because she broke her leg. Holy shit did I yell at her when she managed to untangle herself and get up. Stupid, stupid horse.
Thankfully, all she has is a scrape on her inner thigh from the fence. Idiot. She has no idea how lucky she is…
Finally, the Kid and I got her settled down over by the shelter. She layed down again, but without trying to roll. So, we let her. She was exhausted, and it wasn’t long before she was flat-out, asleep. In a moment of sheer stupidity (because I can’t get out of her way fast enough if she goes to roll or get up), I sat down next to her, and rubbed her ears. All I could think was “I know one day you’re going to break my heart. Today. Is. Not. That. Day.”
I laid on her side, listening, hoping I could hear those magical, beautiful sounds, and I swear, the first growly sounds I heard, I burst into tears…and then…the tail lifted and out came this teeny tiny tootling.
Oh. My. God(dess).
Nothing has ever smelled so horrible, and yet so wonderful!
By this time, Ruby and Astrid had gone past us, into the shelter. My Girl decided enough of this outside shit, she was getting up and going inside! She heaved herself up, and walked straight into that shelter, with a tail swish that just dared me to try to stop her. She pushed in between Ruby and Astrid and stood there…at one point she tried to go down, but Ruby bit her. There’s not enough room for her to lie down, with anyone else in there, and Ruby was not leaving. The message was clear…”Stand or get out!”
That’s when I looked at the Kid and said “I need a coffee…let’s go have coffee.”
From there we went to checks every half hour, updating everyone who needed it as we went. By 3ish, I was cautiously optimistic that she was through the worst of it. By the time Hubby got home after 5, she was out in the pasture with everyone else, nibbling and being herself…a tired, far more cranky version of herself, but herself.
And finally, the jackpot…that beautiful tail came up and out came the manure…
While I sat on the deck, with my coffee, covered in mud and shit and blood from slapping horseflies off her, thanking every single Deity I believe in for not taking her from me.
Such a beautiful picture…if I can ignore the fact that she’s colicking.