Rusty lying down - is he just weird? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Rusty lying down - is he just weird?

I know I'm not the only one who would freak out a little seeing her horse lying down often in the pasture, but I also have a history of being a little paranoid. He did colic last fall, so anytime he lies down repeatedly, I keep a close eye on things.

Background:

- just turned 7, Appy gelding
- he was de-wormed on Friday. No worms showed up on fecal, but I de-worm twice a year regardless.
- they were switched to a new pasture Saturday. Not seeded, not particularly rich (in fact, there are bare spots where grass doesn't even grow). There are some dandelions though, and he loves those.
- when he colicked last fall, he went downhill fast. My first clue was lying down and not wanting to eat. Within about an hour and a half, I could no longer get him up and the vet arrived just in time to tube him. This is different but I'm still on high alert just in case.

Last night:

- they were let out on pasture around 11 am. By around 4-5 pm, I noticed he was lying down. Didn't pay much attention, but I was doing chores (picking manure) so within a few minutes, noticed he had gotten up and was lying down again. Not up-down-up-down, just a few minutes standing up, then a few minutes lying down. Not biting at his belly, not rolling, just... taking a nap. Literally. I see his eyes close, his head gets heavy, sometimes he rests his chin on the ground and naps for 10 minutes, then gets back up to eat some more.
- I panicked, and brought them into the dry lot (easier to keep them together rather than stress him out). I walked him around a bit. He wasn't thrilled with the idea, but didn't attempt to lie down, so I decided to leave him for a bit.
- They got nothing to eat for an hour or two, but I noticed Rusty was not laying down, was playing with Harley as usual, energetic and frisky. I gave them hay in slow-feeder nets and he happily ate.
- As a precaution, I kept them dry-lotted for the night with some hay nets.
- This morning, I let them back out around 10 am. It's 10:22 and both Rusty and Harley are laying down. Rusty is not rolling or nipping at his sides.

Other symptoms absent:

- As of last night and this morning, there are gut sounds, he's passing stool (I literally just saw him pass it 20 minutes ago and it was normal, ball-shaped not liquid), his hooves aren't hot or sensitive (quite cool in fact). He's not acting differently other than laying down frequently.

Other info:

- I should mention that this new pasture is directly behind my house so I see him all the time. The other pasture was behind trees so I couldn't see him. Maybe he was laying down before and I just didn't see it. Maybe he just likes laying in grass (cool and soft)? I should mention we have a lot of flies right now. He wears a fly mask but his belly and sheath are exposed when he stands (not so much when he lies down).

I know dandelions are a diuretic. Could he just be feeling that? I also know they're high in sugar, but these are not new shoots, in fact, they're older, overmature plants.

Obviously I have the vet's number ready if needed, but it's Sunday and I'm broker than broke so I won't call unless I see something off. Right now he is acting completely normally other than laying down more than I would think is normal.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 09:48 AM
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At this point I would just watch from out of their sight, in the house...
He may just be resting...mine lay down from about 11:00 - 1:00 everyday in the shade and soft sand under the barn.
He sounds to otherwise be acting very normal...
If he is on a "new" pasture he may just fill up with grass sooner as more plentiful and then with full belly need to take a siesta as they say.
Now, let him rest quietly with his buddy nearby tells me much.
Use your gut instinct...not steered you wrong yet.
Watch, observe and if he suddenly is different you will know...then call for help.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 09:53 AM
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Horses truly comfortable in their environment lay down a lot more than many realize...


Feeling safe and protected is something your horses know they have...
Having a buddy to pass the time with also tells me much and your mare is standing guard yet not far away is very normal.
...
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 10:21 AM
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I find my horses lie down more in the summer time than winter therefore it does become more noticeable. Their schedule, depending on the day, may include a mid to late morning nap, followed up with a mid to late afternoon nap and on top of that if you happen to be checking on them around midnight there may be another nap at that time. The multi nap days tend to be warm, sunny, minimal to no breeze and low humidity - I guess that describes the lazy days of summer and the horses are using those days to make up for the lay down naps they didnít get to take in the winter.

Between lying down and rolling, I pay more attention to rolling. Whenever a horse rolls, I wait to see them get up and look for a shake of some description (full body shake or even just a head and neck shake) with maybe a nose blow thrown in. The shake tells me itís just a dust bath and not a colic incident.
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 10:33 AM
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I understand you being on high alert since he has colicked before. I did the same the other day when I let Hooey out on the grass to munch and he stopped suddenly, similar to when he colicked a couple of years ago. My stomach dropped immediately then relieved when I realized he was intently smelling something in the grass.

But if everything is normal and he is just lazily napping and sunning himself I would say he is just taking full belly naps.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, hopefully I'm just worrying for nothing. I had to go pick my daughter up from a birthday party and he is fine. Up and about, acting normal still. Luckily I can watch him from the house quite easily and am home for the day so I will keep watch.

I know they lay down more sometimes, but this was several times in a rather short period (about an hour to an hour and a half)! The other two lay down on occasion, but not like him.

Will let you know if anything changes, but for now, I'll just assume he's just chilling on a sunny Sunday afternoon!
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and thanks for humouring me everyone! I can worry too much, but I also don't want to take this lightly. Your responses encourage me to watch, but not panic just yet. I appreciate it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 04:17 PM
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My mare had a one-off episode of 'sandy gut' that was irritating enough to make her lay down, similar to colic but without the blockage. Treated it with dampened psyllium pellets and lead-walking, but it was a wake up call.

My mare is on pasture turnout with a few nibbles here and there, and access to hay. We're finally out of the rainy season, and it's been hot weather with cool times in the morning. She's started laying down in the morning to get some sleep, and seems to just prefer these times. Sometimes, she will get up, eat, and then go lay back down later. Sometimes she rolls. Just her thing to do, apparently, and I'm glad she's getting rest.

Colic risk is scary but it sounds like you're very aware and playing it safe. Bravo!
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Rusty is still fine so I guess it was a false alarm. Phew!
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-16-2019, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Rusty is still fine so I guess it was a false alarm. Phew!
The very best kind of alarm!
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