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[RC] Maggie speaks - Maggie Mieske

We are home.  Tired and exhausted but happy and relieved!
This is not a ride story but I know people are expecting to hear from me and I think there are some things that need to be said to dispel any concerns or doubts or misinformation.  I am going to leave the ride story up to Jenny this time...she has a good one and I will make sure she posts it for your reading enjoyment.
Malik and I were pulled at the 4th check for a metabolic problem at the NC.  I am sure that is common knowledge.  Malik was treated on site and then later went to UC Davis.  I am not going to go into a long drawn out story about the whole thing.  Basically, we were doing great....in fact, had just moved up into top ten positions.  Malik had nothing but excellent recoveries and scores all day.  Melissa Ribley informed me that they do not for a minute think he was overridden (which I think is probably what most people think as soon as they see "metabolic").  Malik DID lay down in what we thought was his attempt to take a nap.  It did not seem unusual to us and we were not alarmed.  The treatment vet WAS alarmed and we were immediately pulled and he was immediately treated.  There is rampant speculation about the whole scenario and I know tongues are wagging.  We were unhappy with the initial lack of communication with the treatment vet but later discussion with this vet and mutual apologies from each other resolved this issue before we left the ride.  There are no hard feelings.  We were faced with the decision none of you ever want to make... to treat or not to treat.  Yes, we were asked if we wanted to refuse treatment.  We did not see the distress the vet saw.  But I was sure as hell not going to take a chance on my horse's life that I might be wrong.  He was treated within moments of laying down and on IVs very quickly as well.  We had lots of questions and the vet wasn't in a mood to talk while she was working on Malik.  It may have appeared to some that we were balking...we simply wanted to know what was going on, why, how, etc.  As I said, we later did talk it over with the vet and feel better about it now but at the time felt totally left out of the picture.  Unfortunately, later, after coming around, having peed, eaten, drank and pooped, Malik was uncomfortable...he was not doing right.  He had gut sounds.  But his pulse would rise, he would poop and then it would drop.  His mucous membranes were pale and dry.  But he was just not comfortable.  Something wasn't right.  We fetched the vet.  They drained reflux (2nd time) and performed a rectal...he had some inflammation of a couple of small intestinal loops.  Something WAS wrong.  Decisons were made, arrangements arranged and the only hospital able to accept emergencies was UC Davis (3 hours away in CA).  The vet and assistant there were AWESOME.  Malik managed to remove his NG tube en route so they had to do that again and stuck a huge needle in his belly to check his stomach fluids and did a rectal, most of it done without sedation...he is such a good boy and knew we were trying to help him.  He spent a day and a half at UC Davis recuperating.  The vet there suspects he might have an ulcer and we have an appt for a scope next week and to have his small intestines ultrasounded again.  I will update everyone on his progress....as it is, he tolerated the trip home well (he actually seemed to GAIN weight on the trip out and hauls like a dream!) and came off the trailer hollering his head off and lying again about beating everyone at the ride.  I am happy to bring my horse home alive.  Regardless of how devastating the experience was, I am looking only toward the positive that can be gained from it.  I chose to allow Malik to be treated even though I initially felt it wasn't needed.  We had only seconds to make this decision so it's not as if I sat down and debated the value of my horse's life while I smoked a cigarette and had a cup of coffee and thought about it.   I had to trust that vet.  In light of the problems that later cropped up, I feel it was the best course of action....even if we had been able to convince the vets he just wanted a nap and had continued on, we wouldn't have known about those small intestines being inflamed....much worse could have happened (like he could have DIED!) and I feel in my heart that a higher authority was watching over us and that all is well that ends well.  Even though the treatment vet was rude and bossy to us (by her own admission!), she took care of Malik and though it was uncomfortable at first, we later did have a good dialogue about the experience.  :)  I hope perhaps in the future she might be a little more sensitive to the rider and that anyone reading this who doubts a vet will ask themselves...but what if I'm wrong and my horse DOES die?  Always err on the side of caution.  Shit can happen with no indication that it is about to happen. 
Now!  The National Championship ride was great.... the trails were truly magnificent (and we even saw coyotes, wild horses and a snake) and I am sorry I missed the last 30 miles but soooo proud of Jenny and Max for finishing it!  I learned a lot of neat things that Jim Yell and I plan to use for the NC when it is held here in Michigan in 2006!  Please put it on your calendar and plan to attend...it will be awesome.  And I have two more NCs to steal ideas from before then, too!  :)
I have to admit, I do not plan to go back to next year's ride though I will say that if you didn't go this year, you should go next year...it is a great ride.... but right now sagebrush is on my list of things I hope to never see or smell again!  :)  But it is NOT because of anything ride management did or did not do or anything else...it IS a long way to go and my main purpose was to be an advocate for Michigan and promote the Wolverine ride as a site for the NC.  I never did get to attend the meeting as we were with Malik at UC Davis but I was told that we did get the 2006 NC by official vote of the Board....I did not say much to anyone before as I considered it "pending". 
There are too many individuals to thank publicly but we have personally thanked those who needed it, including the vets and RMs.
ONE BIG SPECIAL THANKS to Mike and Joyce Mocilan who were parked next to us (the mystery rig that blew by us on our way out) and who went above and beyond the call of duty...not only did Joyce and Jenny finish the ride together but when we could not be there and were with Malik in CA, they were always there checking to see if all was ok, did they need anything and when they left with a friend for some sightseeing, they left their truck and keys for their use.  Their hugs and support and just knowing they were there mean more than they will ever know! 
I would appreciate that if there are any questions or comments about the NC regarding Malik or myself, that they be directed privately to me and not made an issue on Ridecamp or anywhere else.  I want to learn from this experience and am happy to share what I learn in a positive manner but I do not want to start a debate about shoulda, woulda, coulda kind of stuff. 
Thank you all for your hugs, prayers and kind words.  Thanks for believing in us before and believing in us now.  Right now I feel that making it home with Malik ALIVE makes us winners.
Miles of smiles,
Maggie
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"So many of our dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable."  Christopher Reeve