Just thought I'd share this, it was my first experience of Him not feeling well. He is completely back to normal now. E is on full livery but only moved here two weeks earlier.

Nearly a fortnight ago E had a lesson booked. I got to the stables early to groom him, When I got there he seemed a little quieter than normal but this could have been put down to him just coming in from the field. While I was grooming he flicked me with his tail and threatened to stamp his foot when I went to brush his tummy. For my horse this is a 'huge' reaction - usually he stands there quietly while I can be as rough as I need to get him clean. I went to the office and asked if anything unusual had happened. They said he had been his normal excited self to get to the field, and perfectly normal to get back in. There was no unusual behaviour in the field and no suspicion he'd been kicked and droppings etc all had been normal. One of the team came to take a closer look at him.

She listened to his tummy, checked his breathing and heart rate. She said that his tummy sounded a little quiet but everything else was normal except he was tender. The vet was due that day anyway so she kindly added him to the list. We went to do our in-hand lesson anyway (they said that if there was any colic, letting him move would be better for him if he wanted to). He was very full of energy so we had to let him have a play on a lunge line before it was possible to get him to concentrate. He seemed very well. After the lesson, the vet took a look at him but agreed, there were no obvious symptoms and suggested it was probably constipation (mild or early colic) so gave him a painkiller and suggested we keep a close eye on him and give him some very sloppy bran meals.

E seemed better but this could have been the painkiller. A few days later and he was displaying the same discomfort but there were no other signs of colic. I discussed with the yard team and they helped me with checking him over again (I didn't want to do this on my own as he was uncomfortable and threatening to kick and I didn't want to get hurt). The team were very supportive and, with their help, I was able to identify that the discomfort was his sheath. He wouldn't let me anywhere near to clean it, even with help from the team. I called the vet and booked him in to be sedated and have his sheath cleaned. I couldn't be there but the team took great care of him and now he is completely back to normal.

I'm glad I kept pursuing the issue, I knew he wasn't himself but with no other symptoms it wasn't easy to say what help I needed, and particularly when my 'poorly' horse spent all his day showing off how well he was! Trust your instincts.