Heavy rains don’t bother me (bring it on, El Nino!) and although uncomfortable, freezing temperatures like that of my native Chicagoland are a mere annoyance. The heat and sunshine of the Southwest can seem oppressive–especially when you’re trying to get in the Christmas spirit when your lawn is turning brown. I prefer the above mentioned straightforward weather conditions and detest my nemesis: colic weather.
What is Colic Weather?
Southern California is experiencing colic weather as the temperatures keep fluctuating. (This is not a technical definition; I’m not a veterinarian nor a meteorologist.) It seems Mother Nature can’t decide between summer and winter and so over the course of a few days, we will experience both.
I rode Monday night and was it quite brisk by the time we had finished and the sun had gone down. Notice on Tuesday it dipped into the 40s at night. Then Thursday it felt like the 80s.
On Thursday my riding lesson got canceled as my trainer texted to say, “I think Knight is mildly colicking.” Thankfully his stall is right by the arena and she noticed his unusual behavior (lying down) and grunting. After a bit of Banamine and hand walking, he felt better and my mild hysteria passed. When I made it out to the barn after work he was happily sloshing his extra soupy beet pulp mash. He seemed perky and himself.
On Saturday I went to the barn and panicked when I didn’t see Knight standing up eating hay. He was down and I was sure he was mildly colicky again. It was about 2:30 and it was really hot. We’re talking 80s.
“Get up! You’ve got to get up!” I urged him after I stormed into his stall and threw the halter on at record speed. He groaned as he got up and his entire left side was covered in shavings but he didn’t shake.
A woman I hadn’t met yet but soon became my new best friend was body clipping her horse.
“Have you noticed anything with my horse since you’ve been standing here?” She said no and as I led my mellow, potentially sick horse near her she commented on how quiet he was. I told her his normal personality was quiet, “He’s kind of a grandpa, but he’s only 8.”
I thought for sure Knight would poop if I put him on the crossties to groom. I curried and brushed and picked his hooves. He lifted his tail and passed gas, but only a small squirt of green liquid came out.
I told my new best friend what happened and she said if that’s not normal for him, it could indicate a blockage and that’s why only a little came out. Cue the intensity.
I called the vet: “Does he have an appetite?”
“Yes. He is trying to eat the random bits of hay on the ground as I walk him around.”
She said there had been lots of similar calls this week due to the changes in temperature and to turn him out and see what he’d do.
Like a dog, Knight began sniffing each pile of manure in the small paddock. And as soon as he inspected each small mound, this happened.
And when the girl realized her horse wasn’t dying and the horse realized he wasn’t going to be ridden, they all lived happily ever after.
Your Turn: What weather pattern or condition is your riding nemesis? Do you ever encounter colic weather?