While Grayson was cooking up a yummy breakfast, Richard and I visited with him while keeping an eye on the horses while they grazed. After living with our horses around the clock for 8 months, we know them and their habits intimately. Apache was just not acting right. I couldn’t put my finger on it- but he just didn’t seem right. So I watched him closely out the window. He was grazing, but then he lost interest in that and was just standing there- but his legs were pretty close together like he was uncomfortable. Just as I was getting my coat on to go check on him, he laid down and started to roll. Bad sign. I got up to him and he was shivering uncontrollably. None of the other horses were cold, and he had not been shivering when we put his hobbles on early this morning. I knew that he was mildly colicing- which is a horse term for an upset stomach. It is the number one cause of death in horses and can be caused by a myriad of things. If colic is caught early, it is usually reversible. But if a horse’s stomach twists from gas or rolling, it usually causes death.
I started making Apache walk to try to relieve the gas and prevent him from trying to roll. He seemed perfectly willing to move, so I had him trot in circles- trying to warm him up. It didn’t work. So Richard and I collected all the saddle blankets and piled them onto Apache, then we covered them all with a tarp and tied them on with lead ropes! Eventually, his shivering subsided and he became interested in eating and drinking. We left him loose to eat with the other horses since food in the belly also helps warm them up. It wasn’t long before he passed gas and left a nice pile of manure. Phew! That was a good sign! But even when we were getting ready to go for the day, Apache still just didn’t seem right. He was eating, drinking, walking around, and not shivering- but like I said, we know them intimately. There was a look in his eyes that just wasn’t normal. So we decided to give him some banamine- a medicine that relaxes muscles and is used when a horse is colicing. It also made me think back to yesterday- he had been dragging all day. We literally had to drag him along because he didn’t want to walk fast enough to keep up with the others. We thought he was being lazy, but apparently, he started not feeling good yesterday. We have no idea what caused this, but sometimes with colic, there is no explanation. But the story has a happy ending because Apache felt much better quickly and hasn’t had any problem since. Praise God that this happened during the day and not at night when we were asleep!