Monday, January 29, 2018

Fire Mountain, Day 2, 50 miles

Come Sunday morning, both Demon and I were still feeling our first day's ride. So I went ahead and saddled up and got Demon moving, lunging in both directions to get his blood flowing and verify his soundness to start. I had some misgivings about going, to which I probably should have listened. My left hip was giving me fits and I could barely walk fast enough to keep up with Demon without limping.

Rather than use the previous day's vetting out as the start vetting for horses doing both days, we had to present to the vets for a trot-out before being confirmed to start. I waited until fairly late to do this, as I wanted to get it done and hit the trail without hanging around for an extended period.

The trails for day 2 are the same as day 1, just ridden in the opposite direction. Demon has never been a super fan of repeat trail, but he's learned to appreciate it at least a little bit. Doing it the other direction is nice, as it still feels like new trail even though you've already seen it.

Once more over the rise, from a slightly different angle
We headed out and had a good calm start. It took us longer to finish the first loop the second day than the first. I just had to keep slowing him down because of that stupid hip.

We came into the first vet check about 10am. Once again he vetted with flying colors. I gave him plenty to eat and made sure he drank well during the hold before we headed back out for the second loop.

Tucked in, dunking his hay for combination eating and drinking.
Given the previous day's poor gut sounds, I allowed Demon to eat more at the water stops this time. And we were going even slower than we had on the first loop. That hip is really not my friend these days. We ended up coming in for the second vet check about 1:30pm, an hour later than the day before.

Coming up the rise before dropping back to camp on Loop 2
This is where that FEI thing starts to bug me.

On day one, as I was waiting to vet, another AERC rider was going around and around with the vets about getting a pulse and going to the trailer before vetting in later. It took some doing and she eventually got her way.

In light of the previous day's gut sounds issue, I wanted to pulse in and take Demon to the trailer and vet in after he'd had a chance to eat for half an hour or so. So I walked him in to the pulse box and announced my intention.

And it got circular.

The vet told me, well, vets are taking pulses, so we'll just vet you at the same time. Here, let me help you with your saddle.

I said no, I want to go to my trailer and vet later. AERC rules allow that.

Once again, vets are taking pulses, so we'll vet you at the same time.

I don't want to do that.

This goes on for several minutes before I stalk back out with Demon to unsaddle him, having the vet shouting they'll help with the saddle. My husband was outside the arena. I'd rather have him help, thanks.

So I come back in and go through the process. Since I'd been letting him eat Demon had good gut sounds. The vet then said he was a little off, and I swear I heard left front. I was told to bring him back, tack off, about 10 minutes before our hold time was over. So as I led him off, I got him trotting beside me enough to see how he was, and he was sound. I didn't bother to look at his hind. I felt good about his soundness.

At the appointed time, I brought him back, and the vet declared his lameness was worse. I was flabbergasted. I'd been watching him and because I heard left front, was only paying attention to his front end.

Turned out either there had been a misstatement earlier, or it had been his left hind all along.

Someone else trotted him for me, and the vet proceeded to explain how to see hind end lameness. I had to cut the vet off. I've been shoeing horses for 20 years, I can spot a lameness at a distance in 3 steps, I know what I'm looking at, and after the earlier incident with the pulsing thing I was already short tempered.

So we were pulled. At which point the vet proceeded to throw a pity party. I really did not need the "gee that sucks!" statements and just walked away at this point.

The worst part is, this vet is a person I really like. I admire and respect this person. To feel I was being manipulated by this person was really, really unpleasant. And the pity party bit was downright insulting.

It was still early enough in the day to get home at a reasonable hour, so we decided to pack it up and go home. Demon had plenty of time to eat and drink before we were ready to load him up. He was obviously lame at this point but bearing weight fine while standing and walking so I felt fine about taking him home. Besides, I knew he'd rest better in his pen next to his buddy than tied to the trailer for another night.

We arrived home about 10pm, got Demon in his pen and gave him a bran mash with bute which he did not eat. I took him out Monday morning expecting to figure out exactly why he was lame only to have him trot alongside the golf cart perfectly sound. No heat, no swelling, nothing to give an indication of why he was so off on Sunday. I pulled his shoes since he's done competing until I recover from hip replacement surgery in March. Not so much as a nick to suggest he had been footsore. I am doomed to never know exactly why Demon was lame that day. At least he shook it off quickly. I'm sure whatever it was, my hip not cooperating set it up.


  1. I never actually *made my horse lame* through my own lameness...but I don't doubt that it was a possibility, especially towards the very end (when I was on the waitlist for surgery and was popping pills to keep riding).

    I hope that your replacement process goes as well as mine did!

  2. Mystery lamenesses = bane of my existence! I was so desperate to find The Cause for Quig’s intermittent, shifting-leg lameness than I was pleased to see that fractured extensor process on his RF... Great, we’ll do surgery, a few months off, & I’ll get my Big Dummy back at full power!
    Unfortunately as we continued w/a full series of rads, he had evidence of moderate navicular disease. I bowed to my more experienced colleague’s wisdom that it was more likely the navicular that was causing the lameness, and Quig was officially Retired...