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RE: [RC] [RC] Howard & War Cry - Laurie Durgin

It's fall Howard. Weather change from Florida.I've owned 2 'fall colicers"(non arabs), who did it standing in the pasture.One at fall shows(with wat4er/hay in front of him all the time.
So it may not be endurance related. Just weather change. Laurie

From: Jerry & Susan Milam <milamj@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Howard Bramhall <howard9732@xxxxxxx>, AERCMembersForum <AERCMembersForum@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, ridecamp <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: [RC] Howard & War Cry
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 11:10:15 -0500

Howard, this could be any one of us telling this story. Thanks for sharing
this with us. The more I know about this sport, the more I get scared to
death I'm gonna get my beloved horses killed and the more I find I don't

I'm just gonna learn as much as I can and do what's right at the time and
pray to God that's enough to keep us all safe and sound to ride another day.

Say prayer everytime you ride out there. Even the best we can do sometimes
is not enough to save our precious ones from harm.

In His Hands,

Susan, Fly Bye & Dandy

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
    -Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings

              From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Howard Bramhall
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 10:49 AM
To: AERCMembersForum; ridecamp
Subject: [RC] Howard & War Cry

Well, after 3 weeks on the road, out of Florida, doing nothing but riding
at Big South Fork and near Asheville, NC, I wish I could say it's been a
real pleasure to get back home and rejoin the lively discussions here on
Ridecamp and on AERC Member's Forum. But, alas, after reading about the Pan
Am ride, the discussions on eliminating competition in endurance, Stagg's
article in EN that states we really don't know what causes some of these
metabolic problems during a ride (slow riders seem to get this problem as
often as top tenners), and one personal attack after another flying in the
direction of Texas, I think I might have come home too soon. Our world, it
seems, is about to change.

The truth is, if we take away the awards, take away the competition, we
might as well call ourselves the American Competitive (na, that word has to
go) Trail Conference. Make that the American Non-Competitive Trail
Conference. Actually, we might as well disband altogether, because, I do
think the whole thing will fall apart if we get that carried away with
ourselves. Members will stop renewing their membership and the numbers will
dwindle to nothing. Humans need to compete. Horses may not need to, but,
they sure seem to enjoy doing so and it's one of the many things that bond
us together with our horses. Take that away and our sport will die.

I had a bad experience at Big South Fork a couple of weeks ago during an
endurance ride. I was riding my daughter's horse, Wind Star War Cry. Check
out Endurance News and this horse, with my daughter riding, is 2nd or 3rd in
points in the Southeast, riding as an adult even though she's only 14.
You'd think this horse would do OK with me on him, GOING VERY SLOW, on the
trails that were challenging, but nowhere near the difficulty one would find
at Leatherwood. In fact, some of the trails were quite level and fast, even
though we didn't travel that speed.

The horse seemed perfectly fine, we trotted, walked, trotted. Some of the
LDers caught up to us and passed us by. War Cry and I were in no hurry to
get to that first vet check 20 miles away from where we started. I even got
off him a few times to let him eat some nice looking grass growing along the
trail. What a fine, fine, day, a magnificent day to be alive! To ride
without a competitive beat in our hearts, to chat with folks, to enjoy life
as much as is humanly possible.

  We were about 4 miles from the away vet check, I was off of him, letting
him eat, talking with a few riders who went by, most of them asking if
everything's OK.  "Everything's fine," I would reply, "absolutely,
positively fine."  And, it was.  Or, so I thought.

  I was talking to one lady, about how great the trails were and what a
lovely time me and my horse were having, when War Cry just went down.  He
went down so silently, so nonchalantly, I didn't even notice it until the
woman I was speaking to pointed it out to me.  I freaked out totally.

My terrific day had just come to an end. No warning, no idea what the
problem was here, but, I knew there was definitely a problem. So, I got him
up and we proceeded to walk back to the vet check area. Must have been 3
miles, took me forever traveling on foot, I even considered dumping the
saddle along the trail or carrying it myself. The horse looked fine, not
sweating, not warm to the touch, heart rate was low, you would never know
anything was wrong at all except for the fact he went down. And, his
appetite was there, he still stopped and ate grass, which I let him do along
the way.

Well, to make a long story short (yea, that will be the day you do that,
Howard), we finally get to the vet area, Duane Barnett is there as a crew
person but he listens to War Cry's gut sounds for me and tells me he doesn't
hear much of anything going on in there. The last time Duane said this to
me at an endurance ride was about 4 years ago with Dance Line, and, the
memories from that experience just about cause me to lose consciousness
right there on the spot.

Man, not again! I cannot go through this crap again. I'm not emotionally
equipped to be able to handle this sort of thing. It's my biggest
nightmare, right up there with the one where I'm in prison and the warden is
that woman from North Georgia.

  I won't drag this out, we get to the vet check area, War Cry is eating
like there's no tomorrow, the vet gives him a shot of banamine at my
request, and, 10 minutes later, gut sounds are there, the horse is fine.
But, I am not.  And, I may never really be again.

This sport is tough. And, to try and make it sound like running fast is
what is causing horses to get into trouble is just an easy answer for some
who must have answers to unanswerable questions. The truth is, that is not
the answer. This can happen to anyone's horse at a ride, at anytime, under
any circumstances. The whole experience is driving me nuts, and, believe
me, I was almost already there before this happened.

The only answer is, I got lucky, if you can call it that. War Cry gave me
a clue. He told me, directly, about as directly as a horse can tell a
human, that something was wrong. And, this colic episode was about as mild
as one can get, but, when the vet tells you no gut sounds, on top of the
horse going down, you will freak out and wonder why on earth you attempt
this sport at all. And, please, don't some of you try and tell me this had
nothing to do with the sport. Yea, I'm sure it was all just a coincidence
that this happened out while riding in an endurance ride after doing 17
miles with a lot of other horses traveling by.

I'm not trying to scare anyone off from this sport. Not at all. I've
analyzed this thing quite a lot and have not come up with one concrete thing
that might have caused it. But, I will say, my love for this sport is
beginning to dwindle. I am concerned that so many of ya'll are not aware
that it can happen to you. And, your horse might not be as talkative to you
as mine was to me if it does. You might not catch it until it is too late.
Take it for what it's worth. For me, I'm seriously considering taking a
very long time off away from the sport I love, but, does not seem to love me
back in return. The horse must always come first, above, even the sport of


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