Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pasturing Horses

Pasturing horses is a great pastime for those who like to work very hard! My family has been pasturing horses for almost 40 years. Only recently have we been renting pasture to other horse owners. Horses in places like Wickenburg, Parker and Phoenix like to get out of the heat in the summer months. So in May through October, they come to Camp 3L to eat and enjoy life!

Over the last 39+ years, I have dealt with horse distemper, colic, and barbed-wire caused injuries. This last week I had an experience with a horse with colic. The owners thought that perhaps the partner horse "worried" the other horse by constantly moving him around. In the past, I have had horses colic and not be on pasture. This horse had symptoms which were unlike others that I have dealt with. There was no rolling, only lying down. Actually, the horse was eating while he was lying down!

I put a halter on him, and pulled him up to a standing position. I walked him around for a few minutes and he appeared fine. I left him in the pasture and called the owners. They asked me to remove both of their horses to a non-pasture holding pen and not give the ailing horse any feed. I know that walking a horse is the standard prescription for a horse with a tummy ache. I began walking him, but he continued to try to eat any grass that was available to him. He did not need to be pulled along--he was very willing to walk - again, unlike "colicy" horses that I have worked with in the past. I put him in the round pen and he immediately began to drink water. Generally a horse with colic is unwilling to drink. We hauled him to the vet, he stayed overnight there, and then returned to the pasture a few days later. He had collicked, but we caught it early.

About a week later after this incident, I noticed one of my own horses with his eye half-swollen shut. I could not figure out what was wrong. I called the vet and he sent some medicine home with my daughter. All of a sudden, the area under his mouth was swollen, which could indicate "strangles".

I found a YouTube video which I have embedded on "strangles" (see top of page). I recently was told that strangles and distemper in horses are the same name for the same disease.

Another condition which I have encountered in the last two years is laminitis, or founder, as it is also called. In my Jing recording above, you can view another condition I encountered one summer--a horse who came to camp with an injury that led to an atrophied leg muscle.

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