I went riding with my second son this weekend...the one who is going to Iraq in February, and apparently whose sole desire upon coming to visit was to go riding (and visit with his siblings....mission accomplished in spades). Anyway, the horses had just had their feet trimmed and no shoes (I was going to shoe the Arab who has kinda tender soft feet, so we could ride in the hills, but opted out when my farrier tried to rip me off or was just too stupid to add). The weather, after two days of hideous rain, wind, sleet, and various ugly stuff, cleared up the night before our planned ride and blew all night, and dried things out a bit (when it's muddy here, it's pretty dangerous to ride the hills...very slippery and rocky, sharp volcanic rock..I saw a horse pretty much cut his foot off sliding down a hill once). So we saddled up and I made the boy ride our grade mare, Purdy, around our lot while I saddled up the Arab, and wouldn't let him ride her out. I've only ridden her out once before, she needs a little tuning, and so does he, so I just thought it was best. We rode out and through town to the wonderful arena we have just a few blocks from where my horses are. You have to cross a highway and go along the streets for a bit, but it's a pretty safe ride...though my mare wasn't quicked she throws her weight a little with any rock under her (not Purdy, though, she has feet of iron)...but we took it easy, and believe me, it's a good incentive for her not to be a complete jerk. We got to the arena, and rode, and he rode the Arab and I videoed him (badly...sadly, I decided to zoom which made it blurry, and then when he was close would forget I was filming and move the camera off him to give directions, because part of her needing tuning is not acting like a poop when asked to move away from other horses, which I was standing by...I didn't ride Purdy in the arena, I wanted to film the Arab). But we had fun, rode for about 1-1/2 hours, maybe a little more, and rode back home, no problems....I brushed the Arab (Purdy wasn't sweaty at all, Arab foamed up a little more, she's a little hotter and faunchier. Purdy is a lot like riding a calliope horse....only less motivated). Put the horses away, I don't generally feed them when I bring them in after riding because it spoils them for the kids, who have a problem riding a smart horse who figures out that at the end of the ride there are goodies. I'm okay with it, but kids don't know what to do when the horse wants to hurry home or stand in the barn waiting for dismount. In the evening, I went back to feed the horses, and per usual for nighttime feeding, took a little hay in a plastic garbage pail out to the pasture, to divide into two feeders for the horses, just to give them something to chew now that the weather's colder, and fed them their whole feed (Equus senior, plus some alfalfa pellets and dry cob). The arab, per usual, sneaked around behind me as I was pulling the garbage pail with hay into the barn to divide it up, and per usual, grabbed a huge honking mouthful of nice grass hay. She wolfs hay, especially when it's first given her. The first few bites she opens her mouth wide and grabs as much as she can stuff in there, shakes a little, and then gobbles it down. So I went into the barn, divided up the hay, put it out, then went back to fill their feed pans with the rest of the feed.....she came in, put her nose down to the other feed, lifted her nose up, lowered it, lifted it again, and then went outside of the barn and laid down. VERY BAD SIGN. She wasn't kicking her belly, she was fine when I drove up, she ran to the hay, she wasn't looking at her belly (signs of colic, besides laying down and rolling). I was of course wearing sandals. I got her up, listened to her gut, which was making good gurgling noises....when a horse colics, the gut doesn't make any noise. Either the intestines are twisted or whatever, but all stomach functions halt. So a colicked horse's stomach makes no noises, and because it's painful, they indicate where the pain is..by reaching around to their bellies with their faces, biting at their stomachs, kicking at their bellies (btw, they also will do that when they're infested with ticks, but that's another story). Anyway, at this point, I'm thinking shit, she's dying and it's not colic. Either she's choking or it's an aneursym. Which does happen with horses. She laid down again, I got her up again, and held her chin up as high as I could and then ran my fist down both sides of her esophogus, from between her jaws down. I know how she eats, I though she was choking. But horses don't show the same symptoms humans do, it's really hard to tell what's going on with them. She laid down again, and this time, she stiffened her legs and stretched out her neck, and her eyes went white rimmed. She had a little green foam on her lips. I'm thinking crap, I'm going to have to cut my hose and either pump oil (mineral oil, it takes gallons, and I didn't have any) or put a tube down her nose to give her an airway. And then, because I was sure she'd be dead before I could do that, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with my dead horse and explain to everyone what had happened. I raced to the car, drove home where I put on my boots, called and left an emergency message for the vet, grabbed my son's cell, grabbed my bamamine (injection for colic). I didn't think she had colic, but I was willing to use it anyway. I had it because we had a horse boarded with us once who DID colic, and his owner got two doses, one for her, and one for me, in case he colicked when she wasn't around. Anyway, I raced back...and she was on her feet and eating, like nothing had happened and perfectly fine. The girl who lives at the house where I board her and who (I feel so lucky) keeps an eye on the horses and feeds them when I'm gone, was just coming away from the barn. The vet called me back right then. I asked the girl how long she'd been up...5 minutes. I'd been gone 10. The mare had gotten up after I left, laid down again, then hacked up a tiny amount of hay..and then was fine. She got up and went into the barn and started gobbling her complete feed (she avoided the hay, they usually eat the other stuff first, she just likes to grab a bite before I dish that stuff out). My horse almost died. It was choke, and it was from wolfing that mouthful of hay. The amount she choked out was tiny...just a few strands of hay and some slobber, MAYBE a tablespoon full, and not wadded up, at least not by the time it hit the ground. I pulled the fricking hay. No more hay for my hay wolfing horse. And I put big rocks in their smaller feeders (the kind that you feed grain in on the ground) so she can't wolf that either. THat pissed her off, because she can only sort of lip around and take little bits at a time. Anyway, she's fine, the rocks mean it takes longer for her to eat, which is better anyway. So that was my day on Sunday. She's fine, no side effects whatsoever. THe vet said rubbing her thoat down (thoroughly but vigorously and quickly, because I wasn't sure she wasn't going to fall on me) was the right thing to do, because if it can be moved, that will sometimes do the trick. I've seen a horse die, and I've seen horses that had to be put down post haste, but this is the first of my own horses that has ever had an event. It was not jolly. It was not fun. But we all survived, thank God, and I still have my good Arab. But her hay eating days are OVER, the pig.