Colic is one of horses’ worst enemy. When it happens to humans it hurts like hell, so imagine how painful it is for the horse and its huge belly! Colic is a reason for death and must be taken seriously. Before calling the vet or trying medication, you can use this method as soon as you realise that your horse is suffering it. It is easy, free and really does miracles, providing that it’s caused from difficulty in digestion, and not from a more complicated condition that requires surgical intervention. But it is also a good way to tell whether the problem is just the food that the horse has consumed and not some tumor, for example.
So, what happens when a horse suffers colic due to digestion failure? Practically and in short, Its belly is clogged with food. And the food is blocked in there, unable to do move towards… well, the final exit that leads to the outer world.
First of all, we stop giving the horse any food, We just give it a lot of water. We don’t want to load its stomach with more stuff for digestion, while water will keep it moisturized.
Second, take the horse out for a fast ride. Ride as fast as you can, for at least one hour. The purpose here is to cause tense movement to the belly, hoping to make the stuff in it moving as well. At this phase, your horse must pooh at least once, and it usually does -if the colic is not a sign of something more serious.
Return the horse to its stall and observe it for 15-20 minutes. It is expected to poo at least once more. Ideally, the pooh will look more solid and less dry than before.
Then take the horse to another fast ride. Even trot would be fine, if you are not confident enough. During that ride, the animal is supposed to pooh again. And again shortly after the second ride. If the horse has not pooed at least three times after this process, then it’s time to call the vet.
I’m not a vet or an experienced instructor, but that’s what Yannis does everytime (or tell us to do when he is too busy) and it works just fine! Good luck then and… happy pooh-picking!