Fred Fisher's Light Rein Horses Blog

Horse show tomorrow!

Southwest Specialties Show at Horseshoe Park in Queen Creek tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

The weather is changing!

Since it's now getting into the high 90's here in Arizona, it's time to make sure you and your horses stay hydrated.

You should be drinking a bottle of water every hour that you are out in the heat. At least that much.

But what about your horse?

It's hard to make them drink, but you certainly can offer water to them when you take a break. Break out a bucket, fill it up and keep it in the shade by the arena or in the barn aisle,so you can offer it to them as you walk by. Don't worry about your horse sweating, they are built to work and to sweat. Do make sure their water is full in their stall, or if you have automatic waterers, make sure they work properly every day. The more opportunity your horse has to drink, the better.

Another thing to consider is feeding your horse electrolytes. This makes them thirsty and want to drink water. There are many varieties available in your local feed store. Most are flavored to entice your horse to eat them without any fuss. Look for cherry flavored or orange flavored granules that you can add daily to their feed. You can give them paste electrolytes, if need be, but the daily choices are much less expensive.

Water is essential for your horse's digestive system. If they don't drink like they should, you could have a case of colic on your hands.

Colic

It's been a LONG week for all of us in the Fisher household. Mocha, my wife's mare, (that's Mocha in the picture above the Winner's Circle) colicked on Wednesday. It's been a long 3 days trying to take care of her and get her past this. Walking, walking and walking. Then MORE WALKING. Trips to the vet and trying tons of different things to help her. Mocha is doing much better now, thank God. There is nothing a horse owner wants to say more than "She pooped!" after a bout with colic.

Colic is defined as abdominal pain in a horse. This is actually more a clinical sign than an actual diagnosis.

According to Wikipedia:

"The term colic can encompass all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal pain not involving the gastrointestinal tract. The most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance. There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention. Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare. Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. The incidence of colic in the general horse population has been estimated between 10 and 11 percent on an annual basis."

Looks like Mocha will pull through, but it was touch and go for a while. This incident makes me want to talk about how it's really important for horse owners to recognize the signs of colic. If it's caught early, then it might not become a full blown make-the-trip-to-the-clinic-or-vet episode.

As an example:

One of our horses in training was beginning to show the signs of colic in October, when the weather changed. We were lucky to have a sharp eye spot some behavior that was not this horse's normal behavior. This horse has not eaten all her hay from the night before, and wasn't interested in the morning hay either, she had not pooped in the night and she was circling in her stall. ALL these behaviors are a sign that something is wrong. Combine that with her eyes not being as bright and alert as she usually is and then later trying to roll alot, you have some pretty clear indicators of colic. This horse was walked, and walked and walked and then given probiotics and after several hours began to drink water and then to want to eat. A colic episode averted, thanks to some sharp eyes and quick actions. The vet later said this probably was a "pre-colic" episode and was possibly caused by a change in the weather that lead the mare to not drink enough water. It had cooled off significantly that week.

You just never know.

It pays to be "in touch" with your horse and his/her usual behaviors.

As for Mocha, she will be watched carefully for more signs of distress and we will follow the vet's recommendations. We hope to breed her and maybe that will also help her.

She means alot to us, she's a talented and sensitive mare and also part of our family, just like your horse is, as well.