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[RC] MY Million Pines Story - Rides 2 Far

O.K. Now my turn. Here's *my* Million Pines Story.

Short version: You notice I'm not on the finishers list. Well, I *was* on
the starters. :-( Short story hu?

Long version: Got to camp early to get lakefront housing. This is the
greatest camping weekend of all. The hose reached my truck, I was near
enough to the vet check not to have to set up a vc site, everybody in a
good mood. :-)

Friday afternoon we went down to Wesley's barn by the lake to bathe and
clip Danny & Bekki's horses. There was one horse already in the crossties
in the little concrete floored, pole barn type shed, and Bekki's horse
was tied to a post nearby. Josie was holding Danny's big horse when
suddenly we heard "the commotion". I looked up towards camp and a bay
mare with a pair of reins around her neck and a bit hitting her in the
knees was heading our way wide open in a dead panic. You just have to
know how bad I fear that sight now since I see Joe Harris a couple of
times a week and his life is forever changed by the loose horses running
over him at Longstreet and causing a complete shoulder joint replacement.
I had no intention of trying to turn the horse or anything else. I just
wanted all my people to get out of the way. 

The weird thing was, this horse would just focus on you and head your
way. I saw her set her eyes on Josie and couldn't do anything about it. I
don't know if in a wierd way she wanted a human to rescue her from the
bit or what.

Josie was holding Danny's horse and trying to get out of its way and the
loose horse acted absolutely intent on running her down no matter where
she moved. It had to turn tight to hit her and she sort of pushed off
backwards and it just whacked her leg with its hoof. If she'd tripped I
have no doubt it would have run right over her.  It whirled around,
slammed into crossties where another horse was being bathed, both the
mare & that horse reared and almost went over backwards, wheeled around
and almost got Bekki. We were not trying to catch it, we just couldn't
get out of its way!  It bolted down by the arena came *back* at us, ran
through a picket line and snapped it. I yelled at Josie to "get behind a
post". It was as if the horse would focus on someone and just run
directly at them. It then focused on me and I ran into a tiny side shed,
3 walls plywood, one open (about 4'x6' full of sharp discs, etc. for a
lawn tractor). The horse went straight in with me at a dead gallop,
knocked me against the wall or something and I had a scrape with a
swollen area on my forearm (didn't notice it till later). It stopped with
its nose in the corner blowing like crazy and you could literally feel
its heartbeat in its neck. I just tried to keep its head pointed into the
corner because if it wheeled it was going to climb over me with the disc
under me. Finally got it calm enough to slip my hands around her neck and
caught her. 

The owner got there right after that and checked the horse for injuries.
She said this same mare got a blanket caught on a fence a while back  and
became totally entangled and paniced. They'd had her on a picketline
inside an electric fence but had taken her off to saddle her when she hit
the fence. 

What can you say? I am getting absolutley traumatized at the site of a
loose horse. I can just imagine some horse galloping through camp
dragging electric tape and snagging some small child. I don't think
people are going to get serious about the problem until somebody gets
killed. The incidents don't last but a minute or two and hardly anybody
sees the scarey part and it just isn't taken seriously. The second time
the horse ran through Josie had turned Danny's horse loose to dive behind
a post. That horse stood still, but after it was all over it shook
violently all over for 15 min... me too!

My ride was short but very good. I think this is the first year Wesley
announced his conclusion that the reason they have so much lameness at
that ride is the roots. Rocks move, roots don't. Interesting theory. I'd
done this ride about 10 times with no problems with roots laming my
horse.  Oh well, guess I was due.

I stuck to my usual game plan. Chose a heavyweight and dropped in behind
them. This time it was Joe Schoech's turn. The great thing about
heavyweights is that they ride large horses. If you put a short low
headed horse right behind them and swing wide on the turns you can
effectively block your horses line of vision so he never sees all the
horses up ahead that he wants to catch. It was working wonderfully and
Kaboot was traveling great. The predicted rain was nowhere to be seen.
The sky was blue, the temperature perfect, the sunrise gorgeous. The
trail perfect. The markers so heavy you could practically swing from one
to the next. There were some cool creek crossings with cyprus trees and
deep streams. Some of the ponies had to swim.  Kaboot felt great, but
then there was a little stretch of roots *right* outside camp. I thought
I *might* feel something, then thought, "Nah". He was 56 when I took his
pulse, whereas he's usually about 80. Happy, happy. Trot out...limp,
limp, dead lame. >wahhhhh< Vet said he thought he'd just whacked a root.
2 hrs. later I trotted him for the same vet and he said, "Where'd you get
*that* horse?" Took a good eye to see anything at all.

Oh well. That was my day. Josie had a great ride with Joe Schoech. Mental
note...if you've got a junior, make a point of riding with a person you'd
be thrilled to pick up the sponsorship.

Quote for the weekend:  The night after the ride Danny Herlong came over
to our camp that all bent over like a person whose back has locked up and
was moaning. Took him forever to lower himself into a chair then he said,
"I've got to remember to load my gun tonight...in case I need to shoot
myself in the morning". 

It's been a long wet winter. SOOOOO good to be back in the saddle no
matter what.


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