I'm still kind of numb and just have to get this out. This morning I went out at about 6am to feed and my Contender mare Skye was down in her stall and drenched in sweat ... I'd checked everyone last night at 9pm and she was fine. I got her up, got some Banamine in her, and hand walked her for about an hour. She didn't seem to be getting any better - heavy breathing, sweating, etc., but she was at least walking so I thought we would be able to get her to the clinic as soon as it opened and go from there. After about an hour of hand-walking, things took a very fast and very drastic turn ... hind legs started wobbling, then her whole body shaking ... she went down and couldn't get back up, and in less than 5 minutes she was gone. She has a history of colic - had colic surgery 3-4 years ago just before I got her, but since then she's had two healthy foals and has only shown signs of a very mild colic once that she popped right out of with a little Banamine. I'm not sure how long she was down before I got out there this morning ... we figure she must have ruptured something and ultimately went into shock.
She was a wonderful mare. She'd had a career-ending injury as a young horse when she broke her pastern, so she wasn't sound, but she still was queen mare on the farm and every other horse respected her completely even though she couldn't actually hurt anyone even if she wanted to. She could still canter better than walk/trot, so she loved to gallop around the pasture and you could see when she arched her neck and felt frisky that she was really quite the horse in her prime.
I have a 2yo Lordship gelding from her that I've anxiously been awaiting free-jumping later this summer for the first time, and she had an Albarez filly this year who is absolutely fantastic. I was so excited that I seemed to have found a great cross for her and was really looking forward to breeding her back to Albarez next year, but so much for those plans... Her filly from this year is about 2.5 months old, so she's been unexpectedly weaned quite a bit early. Luckily she was already eating grain with mom and has a very strong independent streak, so I'm hoping the transition will go as smoothly as possible, all things considered. She's been doing ok today - wandering around the pasture looking lost and confused, but seems to be settling in to life with her new babysitter, my old retired jumper mare, and hanging out with my other foal from this year who was born a day after her.
I'm still just in shock, and part of me feels so guilty/responsible even though I had no apparent reason to check her again after the usual 9pm night check. She was a lovely mare - the most wonderful mom to her foals, great with people, and had such a noble air about her. RIP Skye...
I am so sorry. This sounds so much like how we lost our Hanoverian mare this year. It went so bad so fast there was no way to get her to the clinic. She left behind a 14 day old colt. You are in my thoughts.. Hugs.
I'm so sorry for your loss, Eniskerry. I lost a grand old broodmare, too, this spring who gave the world some super babies, was a wonderful mother with a history of founder and colic. She slipped and ruptured something and was gone in about 40 minutes. Such a shock. She didn't have a foal at side and was not pregnant which was a blessing, but had colicked with her last foal when he was just a month old and had done that also with the previous year's filly which led into colic surgery. She was 19. It is so shocking when death comes quickly. Mine also was lame but would gallop around and rear up when she felt good. I'm glad you are left with her special filly and hope the little one adjusts quickly.
I would not second guess yourself. It certainly does sound like some kind of a rupture -- probably a cecum rupture. Even if you had gotten the mare to the clinic right when it happened they most likely could not save her.
I am sure she was much more peaceful going at home rather than a strange place. RIP Skye.
I am very sorry about your losing your precious Skye. I know it hurts very much to think of her pain, but sadly these things happen with horses, and we can't always help.
You honoured and loved her. Safe passage, Skye.