I remember years ago arriving at our farm, not to be greeted by a welcoming whinny from my pony Roly.
Instead he was listless, lifting his feet one at a time towards his stomach.
This was not his usual behaviour. By now he should have been trotting up and nuzzling at me.
His head moved from side to side regularly towards his stomach.
Our other horses too, were unusually quiet, empathising with his extreme pain.
Recognising the symptoms of colic, a potentially fatal condition in horses, as well as the almost eerily unusually quiet behaviour, even of our other horses and the resident magpies, we rang the vet immediately.
My dad and I took turns in walking him, to prevent him rolling and potentially twisting his intestine, on what seemed the coldest night of the year, complete with a heavy frost and bitingly cold air.
Eventually the vet arrived and confirmed my own observation based diagnosis and worst fear.
With an arm up my beloved pony’s anus he diagnosed colic, brought about by a blockage obstructing his bowel.
We watched in awe as the vet skilfully manoeuvred a tube down Roly’s nostril into his stomach and poured in several gallons of oil.
Roly’s ultimate relief, and our own, came several hours later when the biggest gush of oily horse manure I have ever witnessed cleared his bowel of the obstruction.
Skills of observation and an immediate call to a highly skilled equine vet, saved my pony’s life that night!