Right before the challenge began this year, one morning when headed out to school, Hannah noticed he was lying down, and did not pop up in response to the coming and goings. Although it is true that horse can sleep just fine standing up, Stanley sometimes likes to lay down and have a good full out snooze on his side, looking for all the world like he is dead. Other times, he'll lay on his stomach with his legs curled up like a foal, just dozing. But Hannah correctly recognized that this was different.
Pete & I immediately went out to check on him. And he did get up, but it was clear he did not want to. Immediately, we thought colic. We made sure he had plenty of water and we started making sure he stayed up and moving around. It became apparent that he was going to start to lay down continually, so Pete and my son took to walking him and keeping him moving for several hours. And yet, still nothing happened, no bowel movement, and still he wanted to lay down.
At one point a couple of friends came over and helped Pete give him an enema. That seemed to give him some relief, but still you could tell he was not himself. We stayed up all night. We would go and walk him for twenty or thirty minutes and then leave him be for an hour, then back to walking.
Thankful that he made it to see another day, yet still no good bowel movement and not feeling right. We finally tracked down a vet that treats horses and makes house calls. He confirmed that he was in deed in a state of colic, gave him medication to help him with pain and left us a supply for "just in case" because as he said, once they colic, it is more likely they will colic again. We asked why now after all these years. He has always been on the same feed, always fed the same way, but recently we had run low on hay and had cut back on it. Vet said that would do it, especially when a horse eats a "sweet" feed for his grain. Luckily, I was able to get a bale of the hay we use from my brother-in-law. Vet said feed him only hay for a week, then slowly get him back up to his feed ration, but suggested we switch him to another, less sweet feed. He compared it to a person having irritable bowel syndrome and needing more fiber and less of other foods. Fortunate again, the man we buy Stanley's hay from cut his field for the first time this year that very week!
I am happy to report that Stanley is now a month and a half past his colic episode and back to his ornery, sweet ways.