Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sand Colic

Posting on Fugly Horse of the Day blog comments got me to thinking about sand colic. Our ground is sand, de-composed granite and composed granite. Wonderful stuff, except for feeding horses. In the early years here, I fed psyllium but found that did not work. My vet and I worked out a proceedure for tubing psyllium to each horse about once a year. Then, finally, I was able to get stall mats from a local dealer.
These were 4 foot x 6 foot and weighed about 100 pounds. I could pick one up and drag it into place, but could only go a short distance. But drag them I did, one stall after another until all 8 stalls were done and also the "Alcove" which was the first 12 feet of the aisle that opened to the arena and was fenced off to make a stall. I had my handymen do the run-in shelters.
Once the horses were eating off the mats, we had no more sand colic. There was some maintence involved. The mats needed sweeping off periodically to remove the sand the horses tracked onto them. Rodents burrowed under them and so they needed to be pulled every few years and the floor re-leveled. And the ones in the larger run-in shelters would move and had to be reset as needed.
When I am doing some heavy duty maintence on the mats, I just console myself with remembering scary colics of the past.


DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Very interesting post! I hadn't heard of Sand Colic until it was posted a while back on FHOTD (at which point I googled it and found it is pretty prominent!) I find it interesting that you were able to resolve this with these mats.

I always fed my guys from hay bags hung from the walls around 6 feet off the ground. I think this probably prevented sand colic - though it's hard to say. Most of our earth is sand.

I did the hay bag thing because I had to wash the hay and this was the easiest way I found. One of my horses was 25 and allergic to everything under the sun (not to mention asthmatic and arthritic!) ... washing the hay down helped with these ailments. I just hadn't realized that I was preventing other issues!

Sorry for the verbal diarreah ... having troubles this week with thinking in logical lines; don't know why.

CurtsBooks said...

Who needs logical lines, anyways.
I have yet to find a manager or system that totally keeps hay off the ground. The horses always push hay out onto the ground, dribble from there mouths, and otherwise circumvent managers and stuff. That is why I went to the stall mats.

And yeah, sand colic is very common in many areas.