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Pull w/o exam?

Kathy Murphy
Hi Ridecamp,
I thought a few people would be interested in this, my friend had an
unfortunate experience at her and her daughters first 100 mile ride last
weekend.  If anyone would like to email her, her address is
Kathy Murphy

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Sue Mendelson" <>
Subject: Pull w/o exam?
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 16:50:00 GMT

   We went to the Oregon 100 with great anticipation of achieving our first
100. All of us, my daughter, Sarah, 10 yrs., her horse Raven, my horse,
Micco & me, this would be our 1st 100 mile in one day. It was not to be.
   Our horses were doing great. I dealt with a few tummy aches with Sarah.
That slowed our beginning a bit, we fell behind the other 100 milers. We
kept on truckin', though. Sarah was so proud of the straight A's Raven was
getting! She was hoping to keep that trend going the whole ride!
   Anyone who's seen us on rides knows that Raven leads Micco through almost
an entire ride. He's just faster! Micco is herd-bound enough to not let him
get out of sight! Raven just keeps going down the trail, ears forward &
   He's not so happy about gaiting out in hand at vet checks, though.
This got him into trouble at the 50 mile check with the head vet, the famous
"Duck". Raven is a Kentucky Mountain Horse, natural 4 beat unanimated gait,
or pace or trot, whichever he decides to do at the time. After several tries
of "trotting out" I get a speach from the vet prefaced with "This is not
gaited horse prejudice". He proceeds to tell me that gaited horses were not
bred for this purpose. I was mistaken in trying to do long distances with
him. He said Raven has a naturally inefficient gait not suited for long
distance. I already explained that he varies between 3 gaits & a canter on
the trail. He justified his non-prejudice by saying that animated Arabs
don't do well either. (I can think of a few notable exceptions to that!) I
don't argue with vets so I didn't want to point out that we were dealing
with a non-animated mountain horse bred for climbing mountains & enduring
   He went on to tell us that he felt that Raven was fatigued & that he
didn't have sufficient reason to pull him at that point, but advised that we
should do the right thing for him & pull. He said that he didn't think we'd
get through the out check with him & said that he just about guarenteed we
wouldn't get past his check again.
   I looked at Sarah & asked her what she wanted to do. She said we should
on. She still felt we could do the 100. So did I.
   As we were heading around to the 75 mile check, the sun was setting, the
horses were full of energy prompted by the falling temps & familiarity with
the common trail to camp. Sarah was sure that the vet would pass Raven
through the next check as we flew down the trail, Raven leading with his
ears pricked forward, Micco keeping up behind.
   We got in & pulsed right down. The horses were taking long drinks &
well. Remembering what the Duck said about probably not passing Raven
through again, I requested that he come out & give his decision early in the
hold so that I'd know whether to put on the light sticks or pull his saddle
& blanket him.
   Well, he came out of his camper, I started toward him with Raven. He
yelled at me "This horse looks like garbage! He's even off at a walk! I'm
not letting him go through!" I saw Sarah look at him in disbelief, she
couldn't believe what she was hearing. I was amazed, too.
   That was the end of our 100 mile attempt. As we walked back to our camp I
watched Raven & he was walking just fine. He had been pulled without even
being gaited out or having a stethescope put to him. If he were bad enough
to be pulled from the ride, shouldn't he have been even more thoroughly
checked & treated for whatever he was pulled for?
   I chose to pull Micco, too. I felt I had to stay & keep Sarah warm in the
falling temps. The night before had gotten down to 12 degrees. With no
heater in our tent camper we had depended on "snuggle warmth" to make it
   By pulling Micco I gave up his record of no pulls in his 3 year career. A
possible Sandybaar award, maybe even Animal Horse with our planned 635
miles. There will be other years.
   I feel grossly disappointed with how Raven was misjudged & in my opinion
poorly vetted. This is Sarah's novice year & she has been so goal oriented &
ambitious it's made me very proud. Even more, I've been proud of how she's
dealt with the ups & downs of the sport. She's shown more maturity than most
of the adults around her.
   In retrospect, we would have done better entering the 75. At least we
would have added miles & points to our season end totals.

-Sue Walz-Mendelson
Sarah Walz-Mendelson

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