With Mom in the hospital, on a ventilator, and the future uncertain, I somehow still managed to saddle up Hoss and head out on the trail. Perhaps because of what was happening with Mom, it wasn't until later I recognized the small voice in my head telling me something wasn't quite right.
Well, of course something wasn't right.
MY MOM WAS ON A VENTILATOR!
The voice couldn't quite penetrate to tell me it was my horse it was talking to me about.
My level of distraction caused me to forget my video camera, so there are no images from the ride. Not that it matters much. There's enough old video and pictures from this ride no new ones are particularly interesting.
Hoss hadn't eaten as well as usual, and he hadn't drank as much water as he normally does. I really didn't think much of it; he's not so consistent for this to cause me to panic, but I did note it. He was also off his stomach supplement, so it was easy to chalk it up to that and decide I would just have to manage him carefully through the ride.
The start went well. Hoss threw a bit of a fit, but settled in easily enough. We kept up a good, easy trot over most of the morning.
Hoss does get a little race brain, and when we were passed by a pair of riders he got hot. He wanted to catch those horses, and no amount of me telling him it was hopeless would convince him to give it up. It was tripping in a culvert at the canter that finally slowed him down.
As we rode along the first section of single track, we came upon a rider sans horse. It turned out someone had allowed their horse to run up on hers, and her horse had spooked, dumping her, and running on. We continued past her with assurances we would keep an eye out for the loose horse and relief she seemed to be okay.
We kept up a steady trot pace over much of the trail, neither slowing or speeding up appreciably. When we passed the photographer, we had caught up to another horse which stopped at the water trough just past the photographer. We stopped alongside them. Hoss dipped his nose in the water, but seemed more interested in keeping with the other horse. This should have been a clue. He didn't drink at all before moving down the trail.
The other horse was well ahead of us even before we crossed the highway and continued on our way. Hoss kept up his pace cheerfully enough, but I was watching him carefully now. He didn't seem quite right, but I thought I could manage him through the ride if I was careful.
At the top of the hill, before we turned toward Harvey Moore Trail, Hoss took a big drink at the tanks.This was a relief. If he continued to perk up, we would be able to finish.
Several horses arrived at the tanks shortly after we did, and once Hoss had finished drinking we moved on. He moved out slowly, as is typical if he knows there are horses behind him. Eventually they caught up, I let them pass, and we continued on our way.
The Harvey Moore Trail has a lot of rock and few areas where trotting is advisable. We were careful, trotting where we could and walking where we should. Hoss was willing enough to move out, though there were a few moments he didn't feel quite right. So long as he seemed reasonably cheerful, I wasn't worried.
We pulled in to the vet check at 8:30, a very respectable time for us. But it wasn't great. Hoss passed up food and water. He wanted to wander around. Nothing could capture his attention. He was interested in a bran mash with oats in it (which I shouldn't let him eat; he's allergic to oats), but not for long. The only thing he really wanted was carrots. It took him longer than usual to come down to criteria.
Once Hoss recovered, I let him eat what he would, pretty sure at this point we were going back to camp in a trailer.
I took Hoss to the vet, and as expected, it wasn't awesome. On the trot out, it was like taking my horse for a drag. As is typical at these local rides, it felt like a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to get me to do it on my own, which I really did. I said if they didn't like the way he was going, I trusted their judgement. We went back to camp in the trailer.
Under the circumstances, I loaded up as quickly as I could and got Hoss home so I could drive to La Jolla and see my mother. A craptacular end to the day.
A couple of days after the ride, Hoss started blowing snot. It was clear he had an upper respiratory infection. Due to Mom's hospitalization, he was effectively on the Get Better Or Die plan, but he did, indeed get better.