Knight came home from the equine hospital last week and a very odd thing happened right away.
He had an almost immediate colicky relapse as soon as he was placed back in his “stall sweet stall.”
I was working, and received a worried text from my trainer that Knight seemed sick again. He had started lying down in his stall (which is actually a 24 x 24 pipe corral with a gorgeous mountain view) and sweating. Oh no! How could this happen again?!?
Knight’s Hospital Stay
Thanks to the wisdom and oversight of Knight’s vet and team at the clinic, the IVs, and ulcer meds, my boy had been on the mend. As much as I enjoyed visiting Knight after work letting him hand graze while learning more about the delicate nature of the horse’s GI system through talking to the vets on duty, I was eager to have him closer to home and back in our barn.
The whole time he was in the hospital (after that first night when I slept with my ringer on, praying I didn’t get a call about an emergency surgery) I felt very peaceful about his state, knowing he was under watchful care 24/7. Every time I visited he looked perky and happy and very healthy.
So, when he came home and started acting off again, my trainer called the clinic to alert them. They said he didn’t try to lie down the whole time he was in the hospital!! (By the way, in the hospital he was in an indoor box stall. This is a key piece of information.)
During his hospital stay we discovered Knight not only had ulcers, but severe ones (I was told the severity is measured on basically a mild, moderate, and severe scale and his were not just severe, but on a scale of 1-5 within the severe ranking, Knight was a 4). That’s right, he has almost the most intense ulcers possible for a horse. I saw the picture of his insides; myriad red spots dotted his white stomach. I felt horrible.
What the Stress?
“What could my horse possible be stressed out about? He has a big open stall with a nice mountain view and he can touch noses with his buddy over the rail. I ride him over very small jumps. He doesn’t spook at anything. He’s not a nervous horse,” I said.
The vet retorted, “Maybe he doesn’t like the mountain view.” He then went on to talk about how we think so differently from horses. He gave an example of a horse that had bad ulcers and he and the owner would clear it up and then six months later they’d pop up again. Turns out the owner had a small runway on the property somewhat close to the horse’s stall. Once the owner figured out that maybe the noise and commotion of the runway was bothering the horse, the stall/barn was moved to another part of the property. Long story short, the horse has not had ulcer problems since then.
My trainer placed Knight in a closed-in box stall and he perked right back up and the colic symptoms went away.
How’s that for weird?
So, for the last week, Knight has been munching away on his alfalfa in an actual barn with an actual box stall with a gorgeous chestnut mare next door to him. No more mountain view. No more luxurious 24 x 24 space to roam. But a pretty neighbor and probably a lot more peace and quiet.
And the timing couldn’t be better. It’s just started to rain here in Orange County. Maybe El Nino is on its way afterall.
I’m thrilled to have my pony back and even more thrilled that it seems we’ve figured out what was making him not feel good. Something about that big stall. It’s still a mystery.
Thanks for reading! And thank you for all the words of support and concern. And prayers. I’m still grateful, not just for Knight’s health, but for the love and compassion that I felt during a scary, crazy time. 🙂