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.