Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't worry, things aren't always as bad as they appear.

Thats what the fortune cookie said, that I opened up Friday moring  while I waited for my coffee to brew.  Yikes, not really what I wanted to read the morning we were leaving for Mt. Adam's ride.

I'm all out of pictures from Mt. Adams so I guess I'll just ramble on a little.

Dazzby hauled over to Trout Lake well, and we were there early enough to take a little leg stretcher ride on Friday afternoon.

The LD didn't get to take the orange loop, and it headed out of camp right by our camp so I decided to ride a little of the 12 mile loop.  We headed out across a couple of fields and were promptly greeted by a cute pony and a small appaloosa wearing the dreaded grazing muzzle.  Side note: I did find mine and actually managed to get it on Draol for one night.  Now I can't catch her!  She's a wily one.

This trail had a little bit more rock than the trails we would ride Saturday and also a very LONG fairly steep hill.  It was SO cool to be out on those beautiful DRY trails amongst my favorite variety of trees- the Ponderosa Pine.

I was just enjoying the solo ride with my girl and she was forward and seemed to be having a good time too.

After we had gone a few miles we turned around and headed back to camp.  Surprisingly, although Dazzby hadn't broken a sweat on her neck she was quite sweaty under the saddle and on her flanks.  It ws a little more humid than we are used to and also a little warmer over here.

We vetted in and then went over for hamburgers and hot dogs, supplied by the ride management.  I wish I had remembered to charge the camera battery because I would have taken more pictures.  We saw the most lovely pinto horse pulling a cart around the ride camp.  It really looked fun, and the horse was a real cute mover too.

I did a little shopping at the American Trail Gear store.  Finding a little scrubby mit that I think I will attatch to my saddle for vet checks.  Dazzy is quite itchy on her head when I remove the bridle for vet checks, to the point of being quite rude- as I'm usually the closest object to scratch on.  It's very hard to hold her, so that someone can take her pulse, while she's using her head like a battering ram on me!  I'm hoping a quick scratch with the little mitt might alleviate some of the itch, or perhaps I'll just sponge her head when I come in to the vet check.

I also purchased a fly mask with built in sun shade at the top, right above the eyes and finally an electric blue strip of "mane extension".  I'm debating on using it on myself, though.  For some reason I've become interested in putting a bright color stripe in my hair, but I'm too scared to further damage it by the bleaching which would be necessary to get a nice true color.

 See I warned ya'll I might ramble on a bit....

Back to the ride.

Saturday morning I was awoken by a light rain on the trailer roof.  Ugh. Oh no, please no rain!!!  By the time I acutally got out of my sleeping bag and dressed the rain was gone.  I snuck Dazzby away from the trailer while Glen and Flo saddled and headed out to the starting area.  

We worked our way around the ride camp grazing and watching all the beautiful horses warming up and milling about at the start area.  We saw Aarene and Fiddle, looking ready to complete their 50 mile ride and wished them a good ride.

Finally it was time to get ready  ourselves.  Dazz was really calm so I didn't feel it necessary to warm her up under saddle too much.  Consequently I got to talking to Flo's friend Pat.  Pat had come over to volunteer and get her young horse out for a little riding and some ride camp experience.  She's really fun, and is another experienced horse woman so is, of course, very interesting.  Before I knew it, I had 10 minutes until our start.

I saddled quickly and caught up to Alex as he and Taker were headed toward the start area. 

We had to walk across the paved road and across a big bridge  to get to the trails.  Dazzby was dawdling, but Taker was ready to go.  They had to wait for us to catch up, but as soon as we hit the trail we were off!

It was SO nice to be back on forested trails.  We were winding around in the woods on good soft trail and the horses were eager to go.  I really love this ride!!  The weather even cooperated and we didn't even get rained on. 

This first loop was kind of deceptive.  We were actually going up, up, up but it was gradual enough that you did't really realize how far up you'd gone.

Alex's horse Taker is a Racking Horse, so he can go downhill really fast.  Dazzby is, as you know, not a gaited horse.  She can't go downhill very fast.  I see horses (especially Arab's) flying down  the hills so fast they barely seem to touch the ground.  Unfortunately my TB mare isn't quite that light on her feet and I have to really slow down going downhill or risk putting a lot of concussion on her front legs.  Alex was so considerate, he kept asking me if the pace was OK for her and having to slow Taker down on the hills.

That being said, my girl can power up the hills.

Before I knew it we were back at the paved road and walking into camp.

Dazzby pulsed down immediately and I headed over to vet.  She passed the vet with mostly A's but a B (I believe) for gut sounds.  We then went back to the trailer and got some lunch.  Half way there!

The second loop was 12 miles.  I remember some of it from last year.  We did a little more walking during the first half of this loop.  There was a long section that parallels the river that had quite a bit of rock on it.  At one poing Dazzby seemed to be moving a little funny.  I pulled up and got off to check her back feet for rocks (she has pads in front only).  She didn't have any rocks in her feet, so I climbed back on and we continued up the trail.

We did some hills, and a section of stair step trail that climbed quite a bit.  All of a sudden we burst out into a beautiful grassy meadow.  Ridecamp from last year!  The photographer was set up in the field but I don't think we got a good picture.  Dazzby didn't feel quite right as we trotted across this field.  I kept trying to figure out what it was, had she stepped on a rock with one of the un-padded back feet?  She wasn't headbobbing, but her trot felt slightly uneven.

Taker tanked up at the trough, I mean tanked up,  I was teasing Alex because Taker wasn't that interested in moving quickly when he was in the lead after that water stop.  I told him he was carrying an extra 50lbs of water weight! 

Somewhere along the way we were trotting down a slight incline.  Suddenly Dazzby stumbled hard.  I saw the ground come up, way too close, and was just about to kick loose of the stirrups.  She went down all the way on front left knee, but managed to catch us with her right let and pulled herself back up.  Thank heavens for a strong mare.  I thought for a second we were gonna be rolling down that hill.

Alex pulled Taker up, he must have heard the scrambling.  We walked for a few minutes and checked for wounds, or pulled shoes.  Dazzy appeard to be OK so we continued back on the last half of loop 2.

Through out the rest of the ride Dazz seemed OK, but she did stumble behind a few times.  It kind of feels like she's going along and suddenly her hind feet just seem to drop out from underneath her for a split second.

Glen and Flo, doing the 50 caught up with us, and passed us a few miles from camp.  The seemed to be having a great time flying through the single track trails on their Tennessee Walkers Hotshot and Dixie.

Back in camp Dazzby finally really drank a good bit and pulsed down right away.

We went straight to the vet and after a few minutes it was our turn to vet out.

She again had good vital signs and vet scores.  Until the trot out.  I took off at my usual trot-out pace.  Dazzby did not.  She lagged behind me, very uncharacteristic of her.

The vet said, she wanted to have another vet watch her trot, as she saw consistent lameness.  I was surprised (Dazzby is a very sound horse) but not surprised (something kept feeling "off" intermittently out on the trail).

Dr. Foss watched the trot and immediately went to the hind quarters.  He massaged her rump muscles and she fliched a bit.  He explained what he was seeing, an uneven drop of the hindquarters when viewed from behind.   A reaction to palpation on the hindquarters.  A very uneven gait.  Basically, a lame horse.

I'd already adjusted to the disappointment of getting pulled.  What I wanted was reassurance that she would be OK in the long run.  I explained about the hard stumble and he told me to bring her back in two hours to check for swelling or other possible problems.

We walked back to the trailer. 

By now, I'm going thru the whole ride in my mind, trying to determine when I first noticed that nagging feeling that she felt not quite right.  I examined her legs, front and back.  On her left hind she had had a small scab where she had knocked her ankle with the other foot at Milwaukee Road Rail Trail.  I had thought it was an isolated incident.  She hadn't had any troubles since that ride and the scab was almost healed up.

Not now, she really clobbered that same spot again.  The scab was gone and in its place a big bloody sore, it actually looked like the surrounding hair had been clipped.  Aha.

A few hours later we went back over.  Dr. Foss was busy so Dr. Jen watched us trot.  She called me back after about 2 strides.  I then had to wait for Dr. Foss again.  Apparently things weren't looking any better.

While we waited, I watched the Dr. treating a lovely red roan pinto horse.  Any self pity I was feeling quickly vanished as I watched them treat this horse for an apparent colic.  Things can always be worse ya know.

When it was again our turn, I showed the vet the cut on her ankle and explained that she had done this at our last ride as well.  He checked all four legs for any tendon issues and found no heat, no swelling.  After watching Dazzby walk on the road he said that she was really moving close behind.  Her lameness was determined to be caused by "severe interference".  With a prescription of bute for a couple of days and ice, if I could, her left ankle.  A visit by the chiropractor was also in order.  Also, the Klickitat Ride was not necessarily off the table.  I will just have to wait and see how quickly she recovers and use brushing boots on her hind legs.

As of Sunday afternoon Dazzby trots completely sound on our driveway and there has been no swelling in the ankle.  Whew.  I am treating the injury with Derma Gel and am currently searching for the ankle boots.  Unfortunately they weren't with the grazing muzzle!

I had kinda forgotten about that fortune cookie, until I found it again while I was putting on my rubber boots on the back porch Sunday afternoon.  There it was again, sitting on the bottom step.  It had apparently flown out of the garbage sack when Todd pulled the plastic string to tie up the sack on his way to the big garbage can.

I picked it up and re-read the fortune, I surely hope its true.

1 comment:

AareneX said...

It was great to see you both, and I'm sorry about Dazzby's pull, it's a bummer. The last time I rode Mt Adams it was on the 100-miler aboard the Toad (an Arab); our riding "partners" were Paul and his Paso Fino gelding Pete. We leapfrogged the entire day, with Toad charging up the hills and Pete charging down them. It was a decent solution, but I've given up trying to match my standie with other horses for anything more than a training ride, because her strides are just too different. Sigh. (the exception, interestingly, is Dazzby--they were a pretty good match at HOTR last year!)

Interfering in back: talk to your farrier about adding support to the outside of the foot to encourage Dazz to travel slightly wider in back. You don't want to change her "way of going" significantly, but a little adjustment may help her keep from banging and stumbling. It's worth a try, anyhow. --Aarene