Last Thursday I spent an inordinately long amount of time saying bye to Henry when I left the barn. I was flying out to Utah the next day for a family Christmas vacation, the first time I’d be out of town for Christmas since I got Henry in 2013. Two of the very specific instructions I gave him, as I bid him farewell, were “Don’t hurt yourself. And there’s a cold front coming, PLEASE DO NOT get sick.”. Surely you can see where this is going.
We left Austin on Friday afternoon, flying into Vegas and then driving the 2.5 hours to Cedar City, Utah. We found our Airbnb, got dinner, and went to bed. The next morning we were getting ready to head out and explore the town when my phone rang – it was the barn owner. We all know there’s only one reason for the BO to be calling you in the morning when she knows you’re on vacation. My heart stopped and my mind ran through every expletive it knew (which are many) in the split second it took me to pounce on the phone.
And of course, she said “Henry looks a bit colicky this morning, he just picked at his breakfast and now he’s laying down. He’s not rolling, but you can tell he doesn’t feel well.”. Pretty similar to what he did last winter after a cold front that necessitated them staying in for a day or two. I asked her to give him Banamine and walk him for half an hour, and I’d text my vet and tell him what was up. Last time the Banamine and walking fixed him right up, but I wanted the vet on alert just in case. He responded immediately and said no problem, just keep him informed.
The only thing worse than a colicking horse is being far away and thus unable to witness or assist in any way. I am NOT a very good hands-off type of owner, and I was panicking. So I paced the floor, waiting to hear back from the barn owner.
An hour later she finally called back, saying that he seemed to feel just fine now and was hanging out in the round pen, screaming for food. Times like these make me glad that Henry is such a big baby about pain… stoic, he is NOT. But in instances of a minor tummy ache it means that we catch it fast, which makes all the difference.
I asked her to leave him out as long as she could that day, so he could move around, and soak his dinner/give him a flake of alfalfa for a few days. Again, it’s what we did last time, and it worked, so why mess with success. She called me again late that evening and said he’d acted totally normal throughout the day and at dinner, seemed thrilled with hitting the alfalfa jackpot, and was tucked snugly into his stall with his blanket on. I relaxed about 20%, but not enough to let my phone out of my sight, and not enough to quell the panic at seeing “NO SERVICE” in the upper left corner as we went about our vacation weekend.
Luckily I never got another phone call and we did manage to have a fun weekend in Utah, filled with lots of parks and hiking. We hit Kolob Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon over two days, and they were all beautiful. The weather was perfect, too, with just enough cold and snow to make it feel like Christmas, but not enough to make it miserable. We played some games, drank some hot chocolate, tromped through the snow… all the cool things you’re supposed to do on Christmas holiday.
Of course, I won’t officially relax again until we’re home (we don’t land back in Austin until tonight) and my own eyes have personally accounted for the dogs, cat, and Henry. That naughty horse. I swear he did this on purpose, pretty sure I saw a gleam in his eye when I was leaving. He is in SO much trouble.