Colic - the word itself brings fear to most owner's hearts. Anyone who has ever found their horse down and rolling in intense pain knows the feeling. But even a mild colic, a horse who won't eat and looks at his belly, is reason for concern, reason to call your vet immediately.
I want to be very clear here. I am not suggesting that you do TTouch instead of calling your vet. It is however a good idea to check your horse's vital signs before you call your vet, because this information will help him evaluate the severity of your horse's condition and the urgency of his arrival.
Vital signs: Normal ranges
Temperature: 99 - 101 degrees F 37.5 - 38 C Pulse: 30-40 beats Respiration: 10-20 breaths per minute Gum color: pinkish Capillary refill: 1 - 11/2 seconds Gut sounds: Listen just behind the ribs for the nature of the sound as well as the frequency of the sound. A healthy horse's guts emit a symphony of sound. Silent guts are a cause for concern. Listen to both sides, there can be vast differences.
Now that you have called you vet, use one of your calming oils for yourself before you start doing TTouches. A Heart Hug with Lavender for example will help you come into Heart coherence and approach your horse from a place of calm and trust. Vividly imagine your horse being well. Its easy to go to worst case scenarios in your mind, especially if you have experienced them. Acknowledge your fear and worries and then choose consciously to give your energy only to a happy outcome. Breathe! See yourself doing something fun with your horse, riding on your favorite trail, doing some groundwork, anything that you and your horse enjoy doing together.
Please keep your own safety in mind while doing the TTouches. If a horse is throwing itself down or otherwise in too much pain to safely stand close to, wait until the pain subsides and you are not in danger of getting kicked or otherwise injured.
I give my horses a 60cc syringe of Aloe Juice orally and add a couple of drops on Doterra Digest Zen oil to it.
Then I start with Ear TTouches and Digest Zen Essential oil. This oil is a blend of several oils that all soothe the stomach and help the digestive system to work well. I put a couple of drops on my fingers and the start the TTouch.
There are over 200 acupuncture points in the ear and you can affect the entire horse by doing Ear TTouches.
Use Raccoon TTouches around the base of the ear to activate the Triple Warmer meridian which affects the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. If your horse wants to walk you can also stroke an ear while he is moving. Please refer to my previous article about Ear TTouch for details.
Belly lifts are very helpful for gassy horses. If you have help available you can have one person hold the horse, while you and another person do the lifts as follows. Use a towel that is folded six to twelve inches wide. Put the towel under the belly near the elbows to start. Each person holds the towel and you lift together, slowly and gently, holding for six to 10 seconds and the release more slowly than you lifted. The slow release is most important. If you "drop" the belly suddenly the muscles than have just started to let go and relax will suddenly tighten, possibly tensing up worse than before.
I like to have one person guide the lifts by slowly counting out the lifts. For example: "Lift one two......; Hold, one two...... Release, one two... Try to lift the same amount on each side, counting up to seven or ten.
Make sure you are breathing calmly and slowly as you are lifting. Stand with you knees bent and lift from you pelvis, rather than you arms, in order to make it easier for you.
You can slide the towel a bit further back along the belly with each lift, until you are at the flanks. Repeat the lifts if your horse enjoys them. They cannot hurt you horse and in most cases really help to relieve pain as well as release gas.
If you are alone you can still do the lifts. If you don't have a towel you simply place your hands and forearms under the horse's belly and lift, hold and slowly release. Do this from both sides.
Another way of doing the Belly Lift by yourself is to use a long towel or folded blanket. If you are standing on the left side of the horse, hold one end of the towel on the left side of the horse, about four inches below the top of the horse's spine with your right hand. The towel drapes over the horse's spine and down the right side. Now, with your left hand, reach under your horse's belly and bring the towel to the left side. While holding the towel keep your back straight and your knees bent and lift. You only need to lift with the lower hand; the upper hand just supports the towel.
Here are some other TTouches that have proven helpful in cases of colic: Gently work over the areas of the flank, croup and loin with Abalone TTouches and Digest Zen oil. You can also do slides on the hair on top of the tail. (Be very careful and always stand to the side!) If your horse is comfortable with it, doing tail work may bring relief. There is a gas release point under the tail and above the anus. Rubbing this point with a circular motion with your fingers often releases gas.
Working over the bottom of the tailbone can be helpful, too.
You may also apply firm pressure to the acupressure point on the nose, just under the nostrils and above the lips. This helps with pain.
Every horse is different, every colic is different. You may not be able to use all of these TTouches in every colic... see what is safe to do, what you horse likes. Listen to his response. You have several choices and tools now and can find the right combination to help your horse.
Waiting for the vet to arrive can be very difficult when you feel helpless and don't know what you can do.
Using the TTouches, oils and Aloe will help you and your horse to feel better. Once the colic is resolved do something nice for yourself! A hot bath, cup of tea, any self care ritual that you enjoy is good. It’s a stressful event for all involved!
I put my horses on either the Aloe pellets or the juice for at least a month after a colic. In some cases I keep them on the Aloe to prevent further digestive stress and support their immune system during travel, changing seasons, injury or just because they overall do better on the Aloe!
Andrea Pabel-Deane is a Tellington Practitioner II and has used Tellington Training for over 30 years, teaching workshops both in the USA and Europe. She has also written 46 children's books and numerous articles and is the Co author of Linda Tellington Jones book "Let's Ride", a guide to Tellington training especially for children and young adults, and “Training and Retraining horses the Tellington Way” Starting right or starting over with Enlightened Methods and Hands -on Techniques, which will be released on June 15th 2019. Andrea breeds Russian/Polish Arabians and lives with her husband and three children on their ranch in New Mexico.
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