I really, honestly, do not know what I was thinking.
Before heading out to Bryce, I had decided Bryce would be our last ride of the year, and I would skip the local "Most Of One/Best Of Both" ride.
So of course, when I got home, I found I couldn't resist dropping the stupid entry in the mail.
I knew better.
My husband was home, so he came along with us to the ride. We drove up to camp on Friday afternoon and vetted in.
Already I was a bit grumpy and impatient. My hip hurt. I had already scheduled my hip replacement, and somehow that made it all the worse. Probably at least partly because committing to the surgery, without any guarantee of relief, was stressful in and of itself.
After the ride meeting, we sat down to a wonderful catered dinner. We chatted with other riders, and I was able to visit with some people I hadn't seen in some time.
We turned in early, with my obligatory glass or two of wine, which by this point I needed in order to get any sleep. The only prescription pain relief I was being given at this point was Naproxen 500, which I can tell you was a long shot from enough.
In the morning I got Hoss ready to go. Since the slip on Wipe Out Hill at Moab in 2011, Hoss's hind legs have had a tendency to swell a bit after rides and long trailer rides, so I decided I'd start using a pair of neoprene boots while riding, and do ice wraps after events. He's now gotten to where he doesn't even notice the neoprene boots, but on this morning, he had to do the "cat with bags tied to his feet" thing. I didn't think to lead him around before getting on, which I should have, since I'm aware of this phenomenon, so when he did it with me aboard I immediately thought something was horribly, horribly wrong. Fortunately other riders were able to assuage my fears.
The start was a bit of chaos. The trail was narrow and there were a lot of horses. Hoss was feeling particularly strong, and my legs were particularly weak. Despite aggressive spurs, he was able to foil my attempts at controlling him and became an absolute nightmare, at least in terms of how he made me look to other riders. He doesn't think much of passing too close and will bull his way through given the opportunity. I was trying to get him in a pocket. Other horses were slower, and there was room to pass, but he had to try to be as close as he could while passing. I looked like an arrogant bitch. I knew it, and I didn't care. I just wanted to get the day over with. My hip hurt with every step Hoss took.
We finally managed to get away from other riders and I just clung while Hoss made his way down the trail. I can truly say Hoss is a magnificent animal and incredibly forgiving and charitable. He took care of me that day, even though I wasn't doing a very good job of taking care of him.
We made the first vet check in decent time, but I really had an ugly feeling this was not our day. The vet expressed concern about Hoss's gait. I hadn't noticed anything while riding him, and of course I haven't had occasion to watch him trot from behind since his fibrotic myopathy was diagnosed. However, the second time I trotted him, Fred Beasom, the head vet, who has seen Hoss trot many many times, was happy with the way Hoss was moving. I was prepared up until then to toss him in a trailer and pull. If Fred was happy, I was happy.
Hoss of course did his typical foot dragging when it was time to leave the vet check. I assured the vet he was behaving normally, and if he didn't perk up down the trail we'd come back. Of course Hoss did perk up and behave like his usual self once we were out of sight of the vet check, and his gait felt normal, so we continued on our way.
By the time we made it to the second vet check, we were starting to push the cut off times. This only added to my poor attitude, which was deteriorating rapidly. After we vetted, I got Hoss his food and found a chair to sit in to wait out our hold. When it was time to get moving again, I dragged my butt out of the chair and got Hoss ready to head back out.
We hit the trail, and I just knew we needed to push it to make the next cut off. Unfortunately the trail was not forgiving on this section, and it was going to be a matter of going faster than we would normally over some pretty gnarly trail. Hoss knows what sort of trail conditions should be walked over, so this resulted in us having quite a few disagreements about speed. The rocky sections also happened to be in areas that were reasonably flat, and we couldn't do the safe thing and still make time.
At one point, while we disagreed about speed, Hoss stumbled pretty hard. He took three or four bad steps, then seemed fine. So we kept going, kept pushing, and managed to make it into the vet check just before cut off.
When I trotted Hoss out, I couldn't see him, as he was behind me, but the vet said he looked off. Now, at this point, I was really grumpy and in pain. I just wanted the vet to say she was pulling him. But, no, she wanted me to somehow decide he should be pulled. She wanted me to see he was lame. I couldn't see it, he was trotting behind me, and it was all I could do to jog forward without eating it. Finally another rider trotted him for me, so the vet could be satisfied I had seen Hoss was lame.
We loaded into the trailer.
Hoss was a total pill about getting in the trailer. At this point, he's been pulled enough times for me to realize he doesn't like it. No matter how badly he feels, he doesn't want to quit without finishing his job first, and he hasn't finished until we've made it back to camp. It took me hollering at him to get him to load up, a horse who usually cheerfully jumps aboard.
We made it back to camp in the trailer. I unloaded him and my husband grabbed our saddle. We went to our camp. My husband poured me a glass of wine while I tended to Hoss. Doing the Ice Tight wraps is a pain, but I think it is well worth it, at least so far. We've only tested it on one ride. Hoss's legs did not swell up, and he looked good when I removed the wraps the next day.
Overall, the choice to do this ride was kinda stupid. I shoulda stayed home. Still, the lameness was transitory. Within 24 hours, Hoss was perfectly sound and showed no signs of a problem. I suspect he bruised the outside wall of his right front foot.
Our ride video