Yesterday I spent the day at the last day of the GMHA 3-day 100 mile CTR as a vet scribe. It was my first time scribing and as promised, I learned a ton. The hands on examination at the end was a little overwhelming given how fast things moved, but everyone was patient and helpful. I have to say, one thing that really surprised me was that there is no check of the feet to see how they are holding up. I guess because the majority of people are shod all the way around, you wouldn't actually see the hoof. But still, just an observation, I had expected there would be at least some attention paid there. One mare unfortunately wasn't able to pulse down to get her completion, which was tough for her rider after making it through 3 hard days of riding. She looked totally serene and you'd have no idea she was having trouble. That one was a bummer to be a part of.
Today I had Fizz tacked up early to get a ride in, since it was already 75*F and 93% humidity at 9am. Yuck. Lovely husband and I were trying to go out together again, him running and me riding. We headed towards the extensive mixed use trail system that's just a couple of miles down the road from our house; neither of us had ever actually been on the trail portion before though, so knew there was a chance we might get lost (sneak preview: we did
). We didn't do much better staying together this time- the route we took today was all downhill right from the get-go, and Fizz and I are still walking downhills, so he got out ahead of us. Then we got held up at a stop sign waiting to cross the main road. Then
two huge dogs blasted out from the other side of a stone wall and spooked Fizz (and ME!) so it took us a few seconds to get straightened out. After all that, he was just a little orange speck off in the distance, and we eventually lost track of him. By the second mile though, Fizz and I had settled in to a nice trot with a little cantering up hill, and I thought we might have a chance of catching up. When we still didn't see him on the next mile, I figured we were just doing our own thing again. Fizz had really been motoring so I paused for a minute to let her catch her breath as we don't usually go that fast.
We turned onto the designated trail just fine, but it wasn't very long before we came to a three-way intersection I hadn't bargained on. I really had no idea which way to go, and Fizz was fidgety while I tried to read the map on the side of the trail, which seemed to be written in approximately 8-point font...So not very helpful while sitting up on a horse!
At this point, she was hot and a little antsy, and picking the wrong way was easily going to add another 2-3 miles I wasn't sure I really wanted to do. Instead I opted to just turn around and double back home so I knew we'd get there.
Unfortunately most of the way home was down all the hills we had already climbed, and that made for some unbalanced moments. Luckily the mean dogs were not by the road when we passed the second time! We got to the last, steep hill about 0.5 from home, and she refused to go down it. I hopped off to lead her down it, and she still would only walk 3 or 4 steps and then refuse to move again. I can't tell if it's her feet, stifles, something else? When she stopped, she'd be standing noticeably under herself and then drag her hind toes with each step. This is not the first time she's done this, so clearly something about it is painful. I really didn't feel anything that seemed off throughout the rest of our ride though, so I'm kind of at a loss. Our new hind boots are on their way, and can't wait to try those to see if that makes any difference.
Given that, and since we were so close to home, I hand walked her the last long, hot, uphill
quarter mile home. I popped her bridle off and just let her graze her way up the hill. We were both hot and tired when we got back- though obviously she got the first drink
We had done about 5.5 miles, which is the longest we've gone since we've been in Vermont.
I was super surprised to find out that we had beaten lovely husband home somehow. Turns out he did
pick a direction at the 3-way intersection (I guess the trail map didn't make any more sense even when you weren't trying to read it from the back of a horse!) but he picked wrong! And he went on some kind of off-roading adventure through mud, prickers, and a big open field- he ended up doing about 9 miles total! Sort of glad we didn't find him. No word on how his pulse and respiration were at the end of it!
After he got his
drink of water, he came down to the field to put up some hooks for haynets- won't be too long now before the pasture isn't doing anything for them over night and they'll need extra hay. Fizz performed supervisory duties admirably.