Hazel’s parents had promised to buy her a pony for her birthday. She was so excited when she saw the horse lorry backing into their stable yard and the pony of her dreams being led down the ramp. He had just arrived on the ferry from England to Dublin that morning.

Hazel thought he must be tired and decided to give him time to chill out in his new spacious stable. She had already filled his hay net and put his feed in the manger. After a quick grooming session with lots of hugs she left him to settle in while she had lunch with her parents. When she returned to the stable with her father, they noticed that the feed was still there.

The pony was rolling and at first Hazel thought it was a sign that he appreciated the deep straw bed she had laid down for him. She realized when she started to stroke him that he was sweating. At first she guessed he must be stressed because of his long journey or strange new surroundings. Then she noticed that he was looking at his flanks and pawing at the ground. He had become very restless with a wild look in his eye. Then the pony stretched out as if he was going to urinate but no urine came. He began to bend his front legs to lie down again but her father led him out of the stable and told her not to let him lie down in case he might “twist his gut”

They had both realized at the same moment that it was colic and that this could be a life or death situation. They walked him quietly across the yard desperately hoping that the vet would come soon. The day that she had been dreaming about had suddenly turned into a nightmare.

The vet gave the pony an injection to ease his pain and make it easier to perform the examination. He also administered some fluids orally. He confirmed their worst fears but he told them that it was quite a mild case and the fact that they had acted so promptly gave them a much better chance of a happy outcome…….and happy outcome it was. A few days later the pony was in great form, prancing and bucking around the sand school as if to tell her how happy he was with his new home.

–Hilary Bassak, Horse Lover