Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Walk on the Wild Side

My awesome boyfriend Paul had a good idea yesterday afternoon - we took the horses for a walk (we didn't have enough time to ride). I took Nine and he took Ashley. I was showing off a bit and asked Nine to trot. He was going along alright once he realized Ashley wasn't going to eat him when he got in front of her, but then he started slowing down so I clucked at him to get him to get quicker - well, he did that! Next thing I know he was passing me like a bat out of hell, then he was out of there! He ran down the road then turned; once I realized he was heading back home I ran to intercept him at the gate. He just ran back and forth waiting for me to move.

So Paul released Ashley - yes this was off the property, but our horses are pretty predictable - especially at feed time! So Ash bucked for a few minutes, then ran off and Nine followed. They came tearing back at the speed of light, it seemed!

So that was my day. I also got on Nine - before we had them running around. He let me get up on the mounting block and slip right up there. I didn't stay on long and I was laying over his neck, but still. It's a big step :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today I went into the corral to finish mucking, and Nine was laying down. I walked directly up to him and he did not get up. Then I sat right next to him and rubbed him down. He was still fine (with two unfamiliar people and a guitar near him!) so I sat on his back. Still fine, so I straddled him. Still fine! I sat there for a while just rubbing him down and such, but when I tried to get him to lay the rest of the way down (completely flat) he stood up. Anyways, it was still a huge step, for me as well - I wasn't scared the whole time. I guess my knees aren't hurting anymore and my brain has finally forgotten the Nine + riding = PAIN misconception. YAY!

Then I was showing off to my friends and I stretched Nine's hind foot out, set it down, and squatted right behind Nine while rubbing his legs. He was so completely unconcerned that I felt like an idiot, hehe! But it got my heart thumping a bit and forced me to let go more of the lingering fear, so I really think I'll be ready next time I try to ride Nine. I'm learning not to be afraid, and how to manage the lingering fear.

Some things that have been helping are goofing off around the animals I am comfortable around; standing up on Hammer, crawling under, over, around Hammer, Ashley, and the donkeys... Today I "cowboy mounted" the donkey (I've heard it called that once before :P) - I ran strait at his hindquarters (thus the fear factor and trust building) and vaulted up onto his back from there. I used to do that all the time on my donkey Rocky but hadn't done it in forever until today. That also teaches me to just go for it - commit myself! I also stood up on Rocky several times today, and he even walked around while I was "surfing" on his back - Okay, so I wasn't totally standing up while he walked, but I was up on my knees! I was fairly impressed with myself, hehe!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on Nine Again

Well, Nine seems back to normal. I hope this is past us, not just getting worse... But for now I will think positive! He's healthy and ready for a ride!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on Nine

So tonight Nine seemed better, finally! He wasn't laying down, he took a big bite of psyllium/grain mixture before I got the hay into the feed bin, and his gut was making big, lovely gaseous sounds! This morning he was laying down but let me come up to him and even sit on his back! I was very happy about that. We'll see tomorrow if he really is better.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nine is Sick!

Saturday morning I noticed something odd about Nine; he has standing odd, and though he had his head down in the feeder, he wasn't eating. He has been buckling his legs as if he is going to lay down, but he doesn't. The way he stands is abnormal - he usually has one leg cocked, but now he's doing it differently. The leg is out from his body, like he's spreading his legs (but only one), or he stands with his hind legs stretched out behind him, almost like he is about to pee, but again, he doesn't pee. And his legs are close together, not apart like they would be if he were peeing. Usually one is also on it's tippy toe (it seems to mostly be his hind right but I haven't observed him enough to know if that's the only foot he tippy toes on). Yesterday I walked him for probably half a mile. Part way through he pooped - it seemed darker and drier than normal, so I checked his capillary refill time and that seemed way slow. But he had gut movement sounds returning, and on the way back towards home Nine showed life again - so I lunged him a bit and he trotted on his own will, tossed his head, even gave me a playful little squeal. So i took him home and thought he was better. But then he lingered at the gate longer than normal, and when he left he promptly went and laid down. He did not roll so I left him alone and just watched. He just plopped on down and sighed, so I slowly got closer and closer until he let me lay on him with my ear on his belly - his gut was making perfectly normal sounds. Through all this I kept checking his heart rate, which remained perfectly normal.

Today I put him in the round pen by himself. When I went to check on him he had eaten all his food (yay!) and his mouth was wet because he had just taken a drink. This is also a good sign, because he likes to put his grass hay in the water and play with it. So he seems to be acting somewhat like himself. But the way he was standing was still odd - he had both legs stretched back a bit, one tippy toed, and his tail was arched up and his penis was dropped, but he didn't pee. He walked up to me normally and stood normally once he had moved. I gave him more grass because hey, if he's eating then that's great! I want him to eat all he can at this point. As I left to get the hay he turned his head to look at his belly. It seems to hurt up high towards his back - he keeps his croup hollowed and there were slobber marks like he's been nipping himself. It's on his barrel but about as high as he can reach. His poop still seems dark and a little dry, but he is pooping with no trouble. I haven't seen him pee yet. I'm thinking it might be possible that he has a bean, so perhaps I should clean his sheath... Later (after I write the paper than was due on Wednesday :P) I plan to take him on a longer walk, and once the horse trailer is emptied of firewood I'd like to take him on a trailer ride - I remember reading somewhere that the vibrations from the trailer can help colicky horses.

I'd love some input from anyone! Nine is definitely feeling under the weather but since I bought the horse trailer I seriously don't have enough money to take him to a vet. If it turns bad and I have a serious emergency on my hands I'll take him, but I don't know how I'll do it... SO - ANY ideas would be MUCH appreciated to avoid a huge vet bill!

Oh, here's something - just a couple weeks ago all our horses had a week of psyllium. Nine doesn't seem to like psyllium but it's usually gone the next morning so I have to assume he's eating it. The point is that I don't think this is sand colic. Also, Nine is only 4 years old! He's too young to have built up enough sand to cause a twisted gut. And he isn't acting like this is a sharp pain - I think it's more of a dull, constant pain. I'll update frequently, I hope.