Shelley McCutchen - Gower, MO

Big RedBig RedWe were on the second day of a two day show and I was just cleaning up breakfast while the girls were warming up horses in the arena. I turned around when I heard my oldest daughter yelling "Mom, Mom!" I saw her ripping off the saddle of our trusted AQHA gelding Big Red. He was going down fast. I ran over to her and pulled him up on his feet. He was in great discomfort and showing all the signs of colic. She quickly told me that he was just fine and then all of the sudden dropped to the ground. I ran to the trailer for the tube of Banamine and then instructed her to keep him on his feet. I found the number of the closest vet clinic and called. On a Sunday it would be at least an hour for the vet to arrive. I searched my trailer again for the "Colic" formula from "For Love of the Horse" and then remembered it was in the cabinet in the barn at home. I yelled for my husband to drive the 30 miles home to get it, and make it quick!

We had our hands full trying to keep the 1300 lb sorrel gelding on his feet as he wanted to drop every 20-30 feet. It was a long and agonizing hour until the vet arrived. He immediately checked for gut noises and checked his gums for circulation. The doctor calming but solemnly stated that he heard NO gut noises at all and that Red's gums were white and showing signs of full toxicity. Next, he palpated him and found a large blockage on the upper right side. He advised surgery was needed, and really the only option to save this horse. Our hearts sunk and tears flowed. The closest surgery possibility was 4 hours away and many thousands of dollars. As a family we knew the costs of surgery was not within our financial means and the low percentage of success was not in Red's favor.

The vet advised we put him down then and put the horse out of his misery, but he would not put him down at the show. I advised the vet to medicate the horse and help relieve his discomfort. I wasn't going to give up on Red… and besides my husband hadn't gotten back with the "Colic Formula" yet! In addition, he agreed to go ahead and tube him and gave the horse mineral oil and at least 2 qts of water. Still no gut sounds! Just then my husband got there. I quickly mixed up a DOUBLE dose of formula and tried to give to Red. He wasn't swallowing very well and most came out the sides of his mouth. I mixed up another and had several men hold the large head of the 16 hand gelding up so it would run down his throat. It was no more than minutes when the gelding that was almost in a standing coma came to life and showed signs of cramping and discomfort… we started walking him and the vet walked along side... He almost shouted..."I've got gut noises!" We continued walking and walking. I thought he was as good as dead but came back… again, we knew he was fighting and we weren't going to give up. It was noon by now and no more improvement. The vet palpated again...the blockage was still there. He advised again that surgery was the only way to possibly save this horse. I asked if he would still try. What else could we do? He said, even though he didn't think it would make any difference he could infuse him with fluid to hydrate him. I gave him the go ahead so off he went back to the office to get gallons! Volunteers helped keep Red on his feet as we were exhausted by the heat and the stress and the tears! Finally the vet returned after what seemed like hours and we got Red under a tree and started the IV. He was heavily sedated and stood for the most part, but we had to walk him during the treatment; one person leading, one holding the IV, and several taking turns holding the IV bag in the air. Still no change and the vet told us to take the horse home and call our local vet to put him down. We had fought so hard and were crushed that we couldn't pull him through. The vet also stated that he had never seen a horse that was so bad and coliced for so long ever come out of it. We, in his view, were only delaying the inevitable. I asked if he would humor me and tube him once again, but with the Colic Formula. He smiled and said "I understand you want to save this horse and if it makes you feel better, I will". We mixed another double batch of formula with 2 qts water and tubed the mixture. We quickly threw tack and the two other horses we had in the trailer and cleared out the rear tack department in the trailer to make room for him if he went down. The vet again medicated him before we loaded him in the trailer to try to make the ride home. We left the show balling like babies because we had a dreaded feeling our beloved Red would be down in the trailer by the time we got home.

Much to our amazement he was standing when we opened the doors. He obediently backed out, but again, wanted to go down. We continued to walk him, not ready to make the dreaded call. A few friends came to support us and helped out. We offered him water and he drank a bit, but really showed no change. When dark was creeping in we called a family meeting. Call the vet or turn him out. We decided that as long as he kept getting up, we wouldn't give up on him. We said our goodbye's and put him in the pasture with his buddies. I checked him a few times during the night and he was still fighting...rolling, but getting back on his feet. At 5 a.m. I walked out to find him lying flat...I thought he had finally given up and passed. When I called his name he lifted his head. Guardedly, I went to him and asked him to get up. He did and just stood quietly awaiting my next request. We brought him up to the barn and called the vet to tell him he was still alive. The vet couldn't believe it and told us to call our local vet for an exam. When the local vet arrived, he checked for gut sounds and palpated him, not saying a word the whole time. The silence was almost more than I could bear. The vet looked at us and with a little smile, calmly and quietly said. "Big Red is just fine." Then the tears came again, but this time...they were tears of joy.

There is no doubt in my mind that Red is alive today because of "Colic Formula". My trailer doesn't leave the place without it.

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