Reno’s Accident

So Reno, the orphan foal, had a little accident while I was away at the ride. No one is sure exactly what happened, but Linda went out and found him in the little paddock with blood everywhere. He had cuts all over his legs, and he was bleeding pretty badly from his head. Best guess is that he got tangled in a gate. But there’s really no evidence of anything in particular.

The vet came out and cleaned him up. He figures most of the wounds are superficial thank goodness. But his face is still kind of swollen and he’s a bit sad and wanting lots of cuddling today. He is such a good boy to work on. I had to clean off his legs and put dermagel on all the cuts. Linda held him, without a halter, head resting on her shoulder, while I did all that. He never moved away at all. Just flinched a bit with one leg when I touched it. But immediately put it back down and let me finish. He’s very trusting and confident with people.

Big Jerk

King is out galloping around the pasture. Up and down the hill. Happy and apparently perfectly sound. I’m tempted to take a baseball bat out and hit him in the rear a few times to make him lame again. The big jerk. I massaged him this afternoon, and the muscle feels much more pliable than yesterday. I imagine he’s still a bit sore even so. But he didn’t seem to mind the pressure.

The problem with the replacement gaiter on my Easyboot Glove was, it would seem, my failure to take my glasses with me to the ride so I could actually READ the instructions. I put the screws into the gaiter in the wrong order. Sigh. It’s all assembled correctly now.

Much Improved This Morning

Well, King looks pretty good this morning. He was lying down in his stall having a nap when I went in. But jumped up nickering for his breakfast. He looks very comfortable, and is not favouring that hind leg. Nor is the muscle cramping or particularly tender. It’s raining, so I think I’ll leave him in for a bit this morning and turn him out after I get back from work around lunch time. Then I can watch him and see if he’s moving freely.

Too Much Careening

Brooke and Dressy finished the 25. Dressy was quite tired. Her pulse was going up and down at the end. She had two minuses on her gut sounds so got a B there. And her gums were a bit tacky, so mucous membranes were also a B. But she did get her completion, and given that she was really just barely fit enough to do this ride, that’s not too bad. Brooke had a wonderful time I think. She got her first ribbon and completion certificate. And Dressy, despite being tired, looked perfectly cheerful at the end. I think she enjoyed being back in competition.

Misha was extremely happy with how Diego did. He was very forward, and she felt that she had way more horse under her than at any of her rides last year. She said he was anxious to go for the entire 25 miles. He’s looking more and more like he’s going to be a very nice horse for her. There was one issue though… he tried to kick every horse that wanted to pass him. Luckily Misha had put a red ribbon in his tail, just in case. She also had a number of people tell her that he is looking better, with more topline this year. Which made her beam.

King was not quite so stellar in the 50 as those two were in the 25 though. When I got on him this morning, I knew instantly that I was going to have trouble with him. He bounced sideways, bucked, piaffed, and generally made an ass of himself before the start. We started after everyone else to try to reduce the race brain. But he knew they were all out there ahead of him and it just made him very angry. I’ve had a lot more braking power with the myler combo bit, but it still was not enough to slow him down today. I took advantage of his training (many years of having to walk all downhills) to get him down to a walk in a few spots. But the moment I asked for a trot, he would step into a canter, then just gradually (not all THAT gradually either!) speed up to a gallop and try to run away. I was in a tug of war with him for miles, and after only about six miles I started to worry that my strength was going to give out completely. My hands were numb, shoulders aching, and I was drenched with sweat even in the early morning cool temps. Eventually, the one horse that was behind us caught up (there were only 13 entries… very low turnout for this ride), and King settled down a lot. Towards the end of the loop though, he got away from me a bit again though. He knew he was nearly back at camp, and he just kept speeding up. He had quite a few little slips on this loop too. The footing is sand, but it’s been raining for days off and on, and there are quite a few leaves left on trail from last fall.

We passed the vet check after the first loop with no problems. The card was all A’s.  But I suspect we’d already done some damage from all the careening, spooking, and skids we’d done for that first 12 miles. His second loop was much more controlled, and he went very well for most of it. But somewhere around halfway, he started doing some odd things. He stopped a few times on downhills. Then started acting like he had to pee, but not actually peeing. Once he cross cantered for a few strides, which I cannot remember him ever doing in his life. He’s a naturally balanced horse and has always cantered on either lead equally. So the cross canter (wrong lead behind) was quite alarming. After a little while though, he seemed to sort it all out and went on pretty well. He cantered (correctly) for quite a bit of the later part of that loop. Though of course, in hindsight, I know that when he’s sore behind he chooses to canter more than trot. Anyway, I got into the check and went to the vet. As we got up to her, I stood at his head and noticed his left hind. He unweighted it completely for a moment, then touched the toe to the ground. Then lifted it again. Then touched the toe down. Then stood on it. I knew there was a problem and pointed it out to the vet. She asked us to trot, and I could see that he was lame behind even while I was running at his head. It was pretty bad. So we were pulled. Again. Argh.

The problem was easy enough to find. He is very sore in the hamstring muscles of his left hind. The vet came over and gave him a shot of banamine before we loaded up to go home. Just so he’d be a little more comfortable for the trailer ride. It did seem to help him get more comfortable. But he’s home in his stall now, and I can see that he’s still not weighting it as much as the other. So trailering was still probably a bit tough on him.

Oh and we had another boot failure. The right boot came off. Found it in his paddock this morning before we even started the ride. So at least it’s not lost. The back up was supposed to be one of my Easyboot Gloves with the new gaiter (only managed to get one, not both… the other is still enroute). However, when I tried to install the gaiter, I realized (after much struggle and angst) that the gaiter is too small for the boot. We went out with one boot on, and one off.

The new Christ saddle pad worked very well though. I used it without the inserts (tried them, but it seemed a bit unstable). King had no problems with rubbing, and the saddle sat nicely. Still love my Australian saddle too. Saved me quite a few times on that first loop as he zigzagged along.

My truck and trailer worked great. The truck tows easily. And the trailer tracks and rides very smoothly. Misha had a spare double mattress that she gave me, and it was very comfortable to sleep on. So my little cubby hole living quarters were a big success.

Getting Ready

I’ve been packing all day for the ride. There is now a nice mattress in over the gooseneck.  Almost all my stuff is loaded or ready to load. I hope that eventually I’ll have a lot of the stuff that I normally pack permanently stored in the trailer. Little stuff… flashlights, lip balm, sunglasses, pen and paper, logbooks, red tail ribbons, batteries, safety pins, scissors, etc.  And also bigger stuff… a campstove, folding chairs, fencing kit, etc.

Last night I glued King’s front boots on. That was a bit of a trial. It was my first time doing that. There’s not a lot of time before the glue gets tacky, so you have to be fast and accurate. I was neither. And I got frustrated. So King got anxious and started pawing. Which, because I was frustrated, made me yell at him. Strangely, that did not make him calm 🙁 Sometimes I’m not a genius. Sigh.  Oh well, I did get them on after a bit of struggle. They are aligned correctly, and fully seated. I just hope I used enough glue and that I got the heel bulb sealed properly. Next time I will start by applying the glue on the BACK of the foot, not the front. Once you have glue on the front wall, you can’t hold on to the foot anymore, so that was bad planning. The boots are still on (or they were when I last looked a couple of hours ago anyway), and he’s been running around in pretty muddy footing since this morning. I hope that doesn’t compromise the glue. Julie, the local EasyCare dealer, has promised me that it will get easier to glue the boots on as I get more practice. I sure hope so.

Misha and Brooke will be here in the morning to scrub and polish the horses while I’m at work. I’m sure the horses will be very shiny by the time I get home. We should be on the road just after lunch.

Obsessive

So, as usual I’m obsessing madly about everything in the week before a competition. King and I are entered in the Aprilfest 50 mile Endurance on Sunday.

The horse trailer is in getting the annual safety inspection (it needs tires for sure… hopefully nothing else!). The truck also needs it, but since it was inspected in February when it was plated, I am pretty sure it will pass without a problem. It will go in tomorrow or Thursday.

I picked up King, Dressy, and Diego’s coggins (or more correctly ELISA) paperwork this afternoon. We have our OEF, AERC, and OCTRA memberships up to date. So the paperwork is now done.

I also picked up the new Christ saddle pad from Baker’s Tack. Carmen gave me quite a good price on it actually. It always surprises me, but Baker’s often give me really good prices on special orders. I think of Greenhawk as the cheapest source for stuff. But a lot of the time they are just the source of the cheapest stuff. A slight, but important difference!

Anyway, the pad is lovely. It’s the treeless model, so it comes with foam inserts that slide into pockets on either side of the spine. The underside is full sheepskin. Top is heavy quilted cotton. It’s nicely contoured, so that it will not bind over King’s rather high withers. I’m hoping that it will work well with the Aussie saddle. That saddle was custom fitted to his width, but he’s been losing weight like crazy, and I can see the pommel dropping a bit, which is a worry. I hope I will be able to ride in it at least a couple of times before Sunday to see how well it works.

I’m making all kinds of lists of stuff to take to the ride. I don’t know if other people do this, but I always want to take every bit of horse gear I’ve ever owned, just in case. I have a wool quarter sheet that has gone along to nearly every ride he’s ever done. And it’s never been on him in his life. I end up with coolers, fly sheets, blankets, and rain sheets. Girths and reins and martingales. And I never need any of it. There are bottles of sunscreen in the bottom of some of my tubs that have never been opened (probably because I’d never find them in the bottom of a damn tub if I needed them anyway!).

I really hope that with this big trailer, I can get my stuff organized. Misha brought a big shoe organizer thingy that we’ve put up in the tack room for little stuff. I’ve just picked up some of those clips that hold broom handles. I saw a cool gadget on a trailer accessory website that was sort of like a cup holder for flashlights so that it can stay right inside the trailer door. What I don’t have is some sort of saddle rack. It will have to be easy to remove, because it will need to go in the fourth stall – which could, in theory, have a horse in it at some point. Stayed up way too late last night reading articles on organizing trailers, and browsing eBay and trailer websites.

Oh, and just because I don’t have enough other stuff to obsess over, I’m gluing boots on King for the first time at this ride. And it’s going to pour rain all week. Which means his feet will be soggy. Luckily, I poked around and found a heat gun in the farm tool room. Hopefully that will dry them out enough to let the glue set up properly.

If this post seems kind of scattered… well… that’s pretty much what my brain looks like this week!

More Photos of Reno, the Orphan Foal

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