When I arrived at the barn this afternoon, the first thing I noticed was that the horses were not down in the pasture, but rather hanging in front of the garage where we keep all our food and shavings. The second thing I noticed was that the door to the garage was OPEN. Oh no!!!
It is every horse owner's nightmare to find their horse devouring a bag of grain in the feed room. Obviously whatever had happened, had happened a while ago, since both horses were standing in the shade and sleeping, as if there wasn't a worry in the world. When I looked into the garage I saw two hay bales on the ground, a pile of poop and lots and lots of grain flung around. Yikes. I made an inventory of the feed bags and discovered that out of the five in there, four had been ripped open. It looked like both horses had been at it, one from the other side, the other from the other side, as the bags had holes on different sides. One bag was half full, one had some feed missing and the other two looked fairly intact. The grain we feed is a low protein low energy grain mix with no oats. Not that it makes a difference colic-wise. But perhaps we didn't have to worry about founder?
I cleaned up, trying to estimate how much feed had been consumed. It was hard to tell, but I would say certainly atleast a half of a 20 kg bag was gone. Or was it a bit more? And who ate it? Did they split it, or did one eat more than the other? When did they eat the feed? They had been put outside around nine in the morning and by the time I got there, it was three in the afternoon. Technically the feeding frenzy could have happened any time during the day, but was more likely of happened in the afternoon as usually the horses spend the morning on the other side of the pasture.
I talked to Becky's husband (Becky left on a business trip yesterday) to see what he knew about the open garage door. He felt really bad, as he realized it was he who had left it open, after getting a bale of hay last night. Last night?! Both the barn worker and Becky's husband had been there in the morning, too, but failed to notice the open garage door.
I called the vet, just in case, to see what she thought I should do. I also wanted to know who was on call for the night. She recommended we wait and see, as it was hard to tell when the horses had eaten the food. Perhaps they would be alright? It was not like they had had a bag of grain each. At this point they both looked and acted perfectly fine. I took Little Love out and soaked her feet and then walked with her in the arena for a while. I took Col out, too, and brushed him and walked him around a bit as well. Obviously the horses were not going to get their regular evening feed; instead I gave them both some hay. Little Love started eating, Col didn't, which made me look at him long and hard. He must have felt my worry, because after a while he pulled out a few straws and chewed. Ok, maybe he wasn't colicking yet?
After six I had to go home. I gave David a long list of symptoms to look for. I made him swear he would check on the horses several times later that evening and morning and send me updates. He sent me a text message an hour ago and apparently all is well. The vet recommended only hay for the next 24 hours, no grass pasture and giving them both a bran mash tomorrow evening. She said it could take a good 12 hours before problems started. IF they started. Now all we can do is wait to see...