Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lily Gets Worried

Last night the temperatures were supposed to be in the low to mid-20sF with little wind, so I decided that Lily should stay outside.  She has a paddock with a run-in shed close to the barn.  She's supposed to stay there at nights instead of in a stall whenever possible, due to a chronic respiratory condition she has called heaves.  Heaves essentially is a sensitivity to dust and mold that leads to excessive mucus production in the lungs and exercise intolerance.  Horses stabled inside are more prone to it, and a horse that already has it can have a flare up at any time.  Lily had to be retired from show jumping because of this - she could jump as well as ever, but couldn't go at speed for any length of time and would become tired.

For several years after her retirement, she would have bad flare ups with some frequency.  Now that she mostly is outside, she's doing better and rarely needs medication.  Recently, due to our very cold temperatures and constant wind, she's been inside more than I would like.  So last night she went into the paddock to have her dinner when the horses came in from dry lot.  I was doing some other things and, after a while, stuck my head out the barn door to check on her.  She was standing at the gate of her paddock pushing on the gate with her chest and nosing at the gate latch.  As soon as she saw me she called loudly and started running up and down the fence line.

I went up to check on her and discovered that she was blowing hard and completely soaking wet under her blanket with sweat - she must have been running for a while and the skid marks in the mud of the paddock would confirm this.  She had to come inside since I couldn't leave her wet and unblanketed, nor could I leave the blanket on.  So to give her a moment to calm herself down, I put on her halter and led her back up to her pile of hay.  We stood there for a while until she started grabbing mouthfuls of hay.  I then led her back to the barn - she was very "up" but was able to hold it together until we got to the barn, without doing what we call "losing her mind" - which Lily can easily do.  She clearly wanted to bolt but responded when I asked her to slow or stop.

She is probably a little herd-bound from being inside so much with the other horses.  We'll keep working at it and soon she'll be comfortable in her paddock again.

1 comment:

  1. Poor girl. I hate it when a horse gets upset like that. At least you were there and able to solve the problem. I'm sure when the weather finally moderates, Lily will start to feel more content out there. Maybe the cold and unfriendly weather contributed to her anxiety.

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