A Precautionary Tale

Zoie and Emmy

Colic kills horses. Most horse owners have heard of colic and know colic (abdominal pain) is a symptom of something wrong and not a diagnosis. How many horse owners are aware that a common material like string on bales of hay, left in the paddock or on a round bale, can potentially result in a fatal colic if ingested by their horse?    

It was October 2017 and I was enjoying a comfortable flight from Toronto to Dallas to visit family and watch my granddaughter compete on her 3 year old futurity mare in the reined cow horse event in Fort Worth, Texas.  Just arriving at the Fort Worth Show facility is special for any horse lover. To add to the excitement of this trip, my daughter had purchased tickets for us to watch “Down the Fence” documentary alongside the horse trainers and competitors who were in the film! This film showed the resilience of horse lovers, the quest to constantly improve relationships with the horse but mostly that working with the horses themselves, and learning from them, is often privilege enough. And such (the privilege only) ended up being the case for Zoie and Emmy as they never made it to competition.

Emmy was Zoie’s futurity mare, making their debut at this horse show. The mare was doing well, her practise runs were great and Zoie was excited to showcase their long hours of training; until Emmy suffered colic.  Rarely, such as in Emmy’s case, a young horse will ingest string, which can remain in the intestine undetected for months or even years. Eventually that foreign object creates a blockage. Sometimes surgery is successful, but often it is not. When Zoie purchased Emmy there were no signs of anything formidable to come, but come it did. Zoie tried to save her mare but Emmy was lost in surgery at Texas A&M Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

zoie and emmy in fieldOne thing for certain, with tears and loss (and time) comes strength, and understanding that we try and sometimes we lose – but we never give up.

In memory of Emmy.

Submitted by Janice Ecclestone, Inukshuk Farm

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