It is never easy to announce the passing of one of our horses, and harder still when the passing is so unexpected. Scotty left this earth last week, following a sudden and painful colic. This was his third colic in five months, in addition to the ulcers we had been trying to help him combat. Clearly, Scotty’s GI system was not a happy one, but last week’s battle was the last it will ever have to fight.

When Kaya arrived at the barn last Friday, Scotty was standing in his stall, head hung low. For anyone who has ever seen Scotty in the AM, you would know how eager he is to get outside to his turnout. Not so on that day. After taking vitals, where we found his temp to be very low (96) and his gut sounds to be reduced, we called our vets at Rainland and got the OK to give banamine. As if sensing we were on the phone with the vet, Scotty went down in his stall to further tell us that something was not right.

We brought him out to the round pen to better monitor him, and to keep him away from potentially casting himself in his stall. In the roundpen, he wanted to lie down again, and because he was not thrashing or going from up to down in quick succession, we allowed him to rest, which he did for the entire hour while we waited for the banamine to kick in. Even though he was lying quietly, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who saw him that he was clearly uncomfortable.

An hour passed, and it was clear the banamine had had no impact on Scotty’s comfort levels. When we got him up to take his vitals again, he was incredibly reluctant to rise. He was also trembling, and while his heart rate was still technically in normal range (40), it was incredibly apparent that he was not feeling anywhere close to good.

The vet arrived, and as she was getting his vitals, Scotty had a reflux. As we pivoted to tubing him, his trembling increased, and while sedation helped him feel that he didn’t have to lie down, it was not helping his shakes. The vet was also struggling to place the tube, which she felt was indicative of a potential larger problem. His temperature, that she managed to get before the reflux began, was still very low.

Sometimes, even though there is more that technically could be tried, the horse lets you know that they don’t want that. This was one of those times. Even though Bonnie was the one to use her human words to express that we felt it was time to let him go, Scotty was communicating the same thing.

Scotty passed peacefully on a beautiful, sunny day, in the company of a handful of the humans who loved him and with his horse friend Lance nearby to give him additional comfort. It is never easy to have one pass so unexpectedly, but we take comfort knowing that while he was at SAFE, we did what we could to help him be more comfortable in his body and mind as a horse, and that his memory and his sweet, sweet face will live on in the hearts of many.