I left them wandering around in the area outside of the barn and went to work. Midday, I called my son and asked him to water the animals and move the alpacas back to their stall and paddock. I also asked him to turn Nadia out with the other horses for some exercise. I usually keep Nadia separated from the other horses because she is such a slow eater and I'm trying to put weight on her.
A few hours later, I received a call from my neighbor, Lisa. The only times she calls me is when bad things have happened:
when my newborn foal went missing,
when Annie had a blowup with the horseshoer,
when the neighbor's horse was killed,
and now...what was wrong?
She said that Nadia was wandering around outside of the arena and in her yard, without any halter, so she wondered if anyone was watching her. I do let Nadia graze loose sometimes but I am outside with her, watching over her. I thanked her and called my son.
I called my daughter.
I called the house phone.
My mom answered. She said my son had gone out to the horses and then he had driven to town. She called my daughter over to the phone. I asked her to please put Nadia away.
I called Lisa back and thanked her for letting me know.
This evening, when I got home from work, I went out to feed the horses and, much to my dismay and apprehension, Nadia was locked in the barn, with her stall door wide open. (The stall door won't always latch if the door is slammed shut and Nadia is expert at pushing doors open.) She had had a feast! Every morning, I prepare a couple of cans of beet pulp with water for the next morning's feed. She ate the whole bucket full. I had a pound of alpaca feed and corn in a bucket, sitting on the chair. She ate all of it. I had several unopened bags and one open bag of complete horse feed leaning against the barn wall.
She didn't get into the unopened bags (Thank God!) but I don't know if she had any of the opened bag. She looked like a stuffed pig! All I could think about was that I hoped she didn't colic.
Earlier in the day, I had thought about riding after dinner. Well, with a horse potentially busting her guts, I figured I'd ride her a while and see if that would help her digestion and maybe, keep her from colicking. I put her in a bridle and bareback pad and I added the pink jingle bell/rhythm beads I received as a gift some time ago. I put on my sweatshirt (it's cold at night- 39F most mornings) and my orange reflector vest and we headed out into the black night. We stayed on the gravel neighborhood roads and we walked and trotted, clip-clopping and jingling all the way. She is such a perky little mare when ridden. She pricks her little ears forward and moves out in a very animated stride. It's hard to believe she's 29! Back at the barn, Scout was trumpeting and Yalla! was neighing frantically, the whole time we were riding around.
I rode Nadia a half hour or so and I could hear her pass gas a couple of times. She was moving out well so I decided that she should be okay.
We went back to the barn and I brushed her down, picked her hooves, and put her away. Then I wandered over to the other horses to say "hi." In the past, when I presented the rhythm beads to Yalla! she didn't want them near her. Tonight, I pulled a trick from the movie, War Horse. I put them around my neck and let Yalla! sniff them. She grabbed them with her teeth and I was afraid she'd break the beads. I pulled them away from her, then I put them over her head, on her neck. I thought she'd take off and run but she never budged. Well, she did step back and they jingled, but she didn't seem to mind at all. I put them and took them off several times. She fidgeted, when I draped them over her side and swung them around her head to tail, but she stood. Good girl! I can see that she's growing up. During the time that I was with the other horses, I could see that Nadia was okay, so I hoped she would continue to do so.
I intend to sleep with my window slightly open tonight so that I can listen for any disturbances in case Nadia does have problems. Hopefully, all will be well. (fingers crossed)
update: all is well this morning. I gave Nadia a flake of hay rather than her usual complete feed pellets.