First, I would like to thank all those who sent me email while I was
deployed with the Air Force over the summer. I enjoyed ?talking? to everyone and
hope someday to meet some of you. Talking horses helped pass the time and remind
me of the life I?d resume once I got back home. While I was at a good location
in a fairly hospitable country, I was still far from home and my horses. I
worried about how my parents were coping with my zoo as they aren?t always the
most cooperative group (the horses, not the parents!). When I got back home, I
was happy to find that all had survived the summer (although I?ve not seen much
of my parents!).
As an update
to those I wrote to over the summer, I got home on September 13th
after a rather rushed departure (no ?hurry up and wait? this time). Since the
Florida endurance season starts
in the fall, time was a?wastin?. I started back on the trails with Kramer (aka
Prince Ie Mareekh), my Arab gelding, who seemed happy to be once again gainfully
employed. This is the same Kramer that is sometimes referred to as a MULE. Don?t
tell him that as he thinks he is royalty! I hope we don?t offend any mules out
there as I?m sure they conduct themselves much better than Kramer does at times!
weekend, we did the 25 mile LD at the
Forest ride. We unloaded and I
discovered that Kramer had managed to pull one of his front shoes loose. He must
have worked hard to get to it through shipping boots and bell boots. The day was
not going well. First, there was the phone call from my reserve unit, asking if
I?d like to volunteer for another 3 month trip ?over there? (yeah, right!).
Then, this shoe thing. I was ready to go back home and crawl into a corner. Teri
Hunter did the good friend thing and kicked me in the butt, telling me we could
either pull both front shoes and do the ride barefoot or see if there was
someone who could replace the shoe. Luckily, I saw a friend whose significant
other is a farrier and we rummaged up some tools so he could replace the shoe.
I?m very thankful to his help and advice. He shall remain nameless to protect
him from getting swarmed at rides!
back issues last fall, I planned to ride cautiously considering the amount of
time Kramer had been on vacation. Since Kramer has had occasion in the past to
lose his Egyptian mind at the start of the ride, I stayed on the ground and let
the main group leave before us. Then we started our hike, me on foot. Kramer was
much better than in the past and after about ½ mile, I got on and away we went,
sanity intact! No airs above the ground, no running backwards, no bucks or
spins. Maybe, finally, my low key approach to the start of the ride was sinking
in. I hooked up with Lisa Pardus riding Maleka on their first 25. They did a
great job together. We went slow, walking and slow trotting. Kramer was on alert
for the monsters of the forest and gave the dead trees and fallen wood hard
looks and spooks. I think he was an environmentalist in his former life as he is
just aghast at the dead timber and broken limbs (?Oh, just look at the ruin of
the forest! It?s terrible!!! Maybe it is acid rain . . . ?). Somewhere around 8-10 miles,
Lisa and I parted as she went to a walk and I kept Kramer at a trot.
At the vet
check, he pulsed down within about a minute. We vetted through with all A?s
except for a B in gut sounds and a C for skin turgor! His CRI went up 4 beats
also. AAACCCKK!! I was dismayed as Kramer had been drinking wonderfully since
our arrival mid-day Friday. He?d had sloppy soupy wet beet pulp and feed all
week since about Sunday night, all the hay he could consume when stalled,
pasture turnout with good grass, increased salt, and had received
electrolytes several times Friday and Saturday before the ride. He drank well at
the vet check and ate everything he could get to (he?s been known to snatch
flakes of hay from the arms of people walking past!). There wasn?t any water
along the way until the vet check at 14 miles but we weren?t working hard. I?m
not sure he would have drank before then but since there wasn?t any water
available, I will never know. A special thanks goes to Patti Fuchs for her
crew work. She volunteered her services to about 4 riders and we used and abused
her. It was wonderful to have some help at the stop.
A mile or so
out of the vet check is when it happened. We were trotting along when Kramer
spied a sinister log along the side of the trail. Quickly assessing the threat,
he slammed on the brakes. I kicked him back into the trot. He went forward and
then decided that indeed the log was going to attack so he braked again and then
ducked back and spun, just in the nick of time to prevent being attacked by
the evil log. That did it?I couldn?t ride out that move. Kramer had found
the trick to put me on the ground. So I sacrificed myself to save my steed.
Fortunately, it was an easy fall into soft sand and I landed on my bottom which,
for a little person, is well padded! This was the second time in 2 weeks I?d
made such a sacrifice. The last time, Kramer did a rapid 180 at a trot and I
landed on my left buttock. This time, it was the right side that landed first.
Might as well keep things balanced! I got up and counted to ten. The
thought of picking up that chunk of wood to prove to Kramer that it was indeed a
threat briefly flitted through my mind but I resisted. We did ride over that
piece of wood and any other related object that Kramer looked at suspiciously
throughout the rest of the ride. I think he did one more hard spook and then
just eyed objects and did slow sidestepping for the rest of the ride. Gee, if
getting dumped was what it took to settle him down, perhaps next time I?ll just
do that at the beginning of the ride! Just a thought though?have you ever
noticed how your horse can time a spook for when you are rising at the trot????
I caught up
with Pat Thomas on her mare and we rode the rest of the ride together. We were
able to stop at a small lake and top off the tanks before completing the ride.
Once again, he was down within a minute or so. Now for the real test?the final
vet. All A?s with an A- for impulsion! (Kramer can be a rather lazy horse and is
a low mover to start with so I don?t get excited by the final impulsion marks).
Even his CRI was good?48/44. I was
very happy. This was the third LD we?ve done since getting a Reactor Panel
saddle and the 3rd ride where he vetted through without any question
on his gait or back! He continued to drink well and eat all he could
find. I went back up to the finish area and cheered Lisa as she came in,
last but not least. Her horse looked good. And the smile on Lisa?s face was
It?s good to
be back home and back to riding. With luck, I?ll get through the ride season
without any return trips overseas. I?m more than willing to share in that
adventure!! Our next stop is the 50 miler at Goethe in December. Hmmm, I wonder
how much dead wood there is in that forest
. . .