From Endurance to Dressage
Wicked, Wicked Watermelon
Someone had a tummy ache.
Hey! Where are the score sheets she promised yesterday? And what's this about watermelon?
Sorry. Yes, I know I was planning on writing about Sunday's show, but something came up last night. As you can see from the title it has to do with a summer treat.
Yesterday, I went to the barn in the afternoon instead of the morning since our weather has been so cool. All was well. Both Sydney and Speedy G got a handful of watermelon rinds over which they smacked their lips in delight. I gave them their beet pulp and came back home knowing that my boys were safe and and happy.
Less than three hours later, the phone rang. RM, the barn owner, was calling to say that Speedy wasn't looking well. He was pacing and pawing and didn't want his dinner. Uh-oh. I told her I was on my way. I live less than 10 minutes from the barn. When I arrived, RM was walking Speedy in the arena.
I listened to his gut - nothing. I watched his flanks for his rate of respiration - higher than normal. I tried to check his pulse, but he was too agitated to stand still. I asked for the lead rope explaining that I wanted to see how quickly he would lay down and once he did, what would he do.
Speedy rolled, but it wasn't violent. He also groaned a bit and then got back up. Yep. It was a belly ache. RM continued to walk him while I put in a call to my favorite vet, Dr. Blanton of Bakersfield Vet Hospital.
Speedy had just passed a nice pile of poop and obliged me with another pile as I was talking to Dr. B. When he pooped though, he did a bit of a squat, very unusual for him, and grunted. He also gave his flank a very suspicious glare. I related his odd pooping behavior to Dr. B as well as described his desire to lay down. He didn't really want to roll, just lay on his belly.
Her quick diagnosis was that he had a gas cramp most likely caused by the watermelon rind. (Hmm ... I've been feeding watermelon for years.) She prescribed a dose of Banamine which RM had waiting for me. I was to call back in an hour to see if that did the trick. Dr. B also confirmed that if a horse wants to lay down, let him. As long as he isn't hurting himself by rolling, it's okay to let them roll or just lay there.
I gave Speedy the Banamine and let him walk beside me around the arena. When we got to the far end where it is nicely shaded, I stopped to see if he would lay down. Sure enough, he plopped down and laid his head down. I tucked my feet under his back and leaned over to rub his belly. I also rocked his belly back and forth by pushing on him with my legs. He quickly lost the pained expression that was on his face and he started to perk up a bit. RM had come down to keep me company and we just sat and chat about nothing in particular. It was clear that Speedy was enjoying the company.
We sat in that position for about 15 minutes: Speedy resting on the ground with me rocking him back and forth. With a relaxed look on his face, Speedy stretched his front legs out in front of him, and I knew he wanted to get up. And that was it. I took his halter off and hung out with him for another half an hour. He shuffled around the arena looking for stuff to eat while occasionally head butting me to let me know that he wanted back in his stall so that he could start his dinner.
I called Dr. B back and gave her a run down on his current condition. She advised that he get only half his dinner, and if all looked well in the morning, he could go back to his regular schedule. She also admonished: if it comes from your kitchen, it's not horse feed. Apparently, watermelon is the most sugar-filled food you can give a horse. She also discourages the use of carrots and apples. Bummer. Speedy loves watermelon and enjoys it as a summer treat. I think I'll stick to official horse treats from now on.
Wicked, wicked watermelon!
6/26/2012 01:58:57 am
Poor Speedy! Glad to hear it seems like it was a minor and short-lived incident... You hate to see them suffer at all but I suppose it could have been worse!
6/26/2012 06:31:26 am
Now THAT'S a Trot! - A belly ache that is resolved with a bit of time and a dose of Banamine is definitely no biggie. On my drive to the barn I prepared myself for the worst (I lost a mare to colic in 2010), but was hoping for something minor. This was easily taken care of - whew!
So glad Speedy is feeling better. Talk about scary moments.
6/26/2012 06:32:59 am
I don't really know what she recommends, Sarah. I need to ask her. She likes to keep things simple though. I am guessing she probably is not a huge fan of treats.
Well who knew! Glad Speedy's okay, poor boy. So sweet that the tummy rubs from 'mum' made him feel better (reminds me of being sick when I was a child!). I think I'll still feed carrots and apples, but I only feed them in small amounts and very infrequently so I think we'll be okay.
6/26/2012 09:53:25 am
I like your idea Kelly; just a few infrequent treats.
6/26/2012 10:24:11 am
Maybe it's contagious. Is Leo's foot better? Maybe they are just wanting a little vacation. :0)
Glad Speedy is okay. Any call from the barn manager like that is heart-wrenching until you have a better idea as to what is going on.
6/27/2012 05:34:53 am
Val, I don't like getting a call from the barn since I've had one that actually resulted in a death, but since that has already happened, I now know what the worst can be and therefore always expect it to be less than that. No point in jumping off the deep end if I don;t have to. :0)
6/27/2012 12:23:27 am
Interesting. I am probably close to the worlds worst with treats. FYI. I had heard that almonds and hulls were very good for horses, so gave them last year. This year, I was ready to give them, but checked it our firtst and they are a no-no.
6/27/2012 05:36:43 am
So nice to hear from you, Glenda! It seems as though that everything that tastes good is bad for horses and people alike. I hope Baby is well and growing. Post some pics, why dontcha!!!! :0)
6/27/2012 05:38:25 am
I think there is a lot of stuff we give our horses that we shouldn't. I am not sure carrots and apples are HORRIBLE, I think Dr. B likes to exercise restraint and knows that they CAN cause lots of trouble (choke, etc). I am still going to sneak my ponies an occasional carrot or apple like I do now.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: