From my window this evening, I witnessed a young lady succoring her colicking gelding. Her sympathetic boyfriend at her side, I watched her hand-graze him, listen for gut sounds with her ear to his flank and wanted to slap her upside her stupid, vain head. We at the barn have witnessed this beautiful animal colic time and again, and most of us know what the real trouble in his gut is – and it isn’t his hay.
When our beloved animals, cats, dogs – horses – have the same problem over and over and over again, shouldn’t we look further into how we care for that animal? A horse is different than a cat or a dog. A horse has a very delicate intestinal system. A cat’s well – lets just say its self-reliant. A cat solves his intestinal disputes by hurling on the carpet. Hey, problem solved. Yet, a horse cannot vomit. Too many of us wish they could. A horse has miles of intestines coiled inside that belly, and kink or blockage can immediately put the entire system into panic mode. Yes, we immediately want to blame the weather, stress, bad hay, stomach ulcers, the rowdy kid yelling in the barn for our horse’s colic.
My own horse colicked twice in one month. After the second, I knew the issue was human-caused. He hadn’t had his teeth floated for two years. Bad teeth mean he isn’t chewing his hay right, hence blockages. Since I had his teeth floated – no colic. Back to our troubled child. Yeah, she’s a child for all she’s technically an adult, for children are by nature immature. She’s admittedly good with horses, knows a wealth of information about them, can ride like a dream. But she’s an insecure child when she cannot realize she’s to blame for her horse’s problems. This child has been told more than once to put her horse out in a run where he can move and stretch and BE A HORSE. But she won’t. Why? Because she’s selfish and insecure and needs to control every aspect of her environment.
Good luck with that.
Because of her selfish vanity, her need for control, her horses stand in stalls 24/7. They get turned out once in a while, but they MUST be indoors. Only the very best horsemen keep their horses in the barn, safe from weather, harm and God’s impending wrath. Heaven forefend she put her horses in outside runs where they can walk about 24/7, nibble on whatever might grow, pin ears at their neighbor, have a roll when they feel like it, and above all MOVE AROUND. Horses were never meant by God to stand in stalls.
I’m a firm believer in emotional health leads to physical health. If we’re depressed, stressed, unhappy, our bodies follow along. We’re sick, we ache, our bellies hurt, we don’t feel good. The opposite is true: if we’re happy, spiritually well-fed and emotionally content with our lot in life, our bodies reflect that. We’re healthy, seldom sick (outside the South Texas allergy situation), and for the most part pain-free. I can use my ex-boyfriend as an example, but I’ll post about him in another rant. Why can’t this be true for animals?
Most horses in barns are exercised, ridden, turned out more times than they’re made to stand inside. In general, I think, they are happy horses. I invite anyone to take a look and compare the horses in our barn and the horses kept outside. With the exception of those few true horsemen who turn their horses out as often as possible, the outside horses are happier, healthier, have brighter expressions and are loving on their humans.
They stand with their heads down, dull eyes, little spirit – they eat their feed, drink their water and swish their tails. If I lived in that existence, I’d run screaming into the madhouse.
The barn horses turned out more often than they stand?
They eat, they drink, they play and they greet their owners with happy whinnies and haven’t colicked even once.