It has been a long time since I posted an update on the happenings of our small farm. At the end of August I started working full time at a local school. The position is funded by a special three year grant and is designed to help close the gap in student learning caused by the pandemic. This change in job status has made it more difficult to find the time to write about what we have been up to on the farm. I would have to say that this year has been a difficult year on our little homestead.
Melody, the Halflinger pony we got two years ago, died at the end of September. I have never seen an animal get so sick so fast as Melody did. The day we lost her I went out to feed them at about 9 o’clock and noticed that she did not come up for her grain. I saw her out in the pasture laying down and called to her again. She got up and came over but didn’t eat. She circled around and laid back down biting at her belly like it hurt. I immediately went on high alert because this is a major colic sign.
A few signs of colic:
- Frequently laying down or refusal to get up.
- Lack of appetite.
- Biting or kicking at their belly which is a sign of belly pain.
I finished my other morning chores then got her up and walked her around for a few minutes. I then called the vet to see if there was anything else that I could do for her besides walk her around. I also called my sister to come over to help take turns walking Melody and watching the kids. Penelope is two and did not understand why she couldn’t help me with the horses. The vet recommended giving her a dose of Banamine or Bute if I did not have the Banamine to make her more comfortable which would help get her on her feet and moving around more.
I only had enough Banamine on hand to give her half a dose so I measured out a half dose of Bute powder, mixed it in with some water and put it into a syringe. She was laying down at this time so I had the kids keep clear while I laid her head down on the ground and gave her both the Banamine and Bute orally as the vet instructed. Next, I brought them into the barnyard pasture which is closer to the house and yard so I could watch her closer. For the next hour and a half my sister, niece, nephew, and I walked her for 10-15 minutes and gave her a break for 10-15 minutes.
At the end of the last walk she appeared to have green watery stuff dribbling out of her nose. I gave her a break and called the vet right away because green watery stuff coming out of her nose is the horse version of mild vomiting. She came out as soon as she could and sedated her a bit to make her more comfortable and gave her medicine to help relax the smooth muscles of her stomach and intestines. Within a few minutes it became apparent that she was already too far gone and was close to stomach rupture. We put her down at 1 o’clock. Fighting to save her and watching her go was one of the most horrible and saddest events on this farm so far.
Jack, our other horse, was beside himself with grief. While we were walking her he walked behind her and when she was laying down while the vet checked on her he stood at her head nickering to her. He yelled and ran off when she took her last breaths but we wanted him to be there so he could understand why she would be gone. We left her there for a few hours so he would know and so the girls could say goodbye when they woke up from their naps. We moved him back to the farther pasture when it was time to take her away and he ran along the fence line yelling for her. He has been depressed since she has been gone and we’ve been keeping a close eye on him.
The kids miss Melody quite a bit. She was a great little horse with a sweet albeit spooky temperament. We called her our little hobbit mountain pony because of her small stature but giant feet. She was loved and will be missed.