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[RC] Skymont, Hahira, and Gunner's hoof injury - rides2far

Well I'm caught up on my other deadlines, so thought I'd give a report on
my horse's cut hoof & the last two rides.

I posted about 2 weeks ago telling that I went out to ride Gunner and he
had what looked like a bad hoof injury that went from the corner of the
frog, straight forward as if it had been sawed for about 1" forward. It
was about 1/2 way up his heel. He was totally oblivious to it, couldn't
care less when I put testers on it, no sign of blood or any wire that he
might have hooked it on. John posted pictures and most thought it was
probably a wire injury and he'd be sore soon. Farrier came out Tuesday,
thought the same, didn't seem overly concerned and put patching material
on it. He didn't think a clip of any sort would help.  

It was four days till Skymont and I was supposed to sponsor my daughter
Josie and Joni Buttram. Dave Bennett had offered me his good horse
Rocketeer as a backup, but we had a pretty complicated situation where I
had to drive an hour and a half, drop the horses off at the ride site,
vet in, leave them with Bill and drive 120 miles to my school's football
team's playoff game, film it (it was COLD!) pick up Josie there and drive
back to the ride at about 1 AM. I didn't want to leave Cade, Josie's
horse without a buddy he trusted, so we decided to gamble that Gunner
would stay sound. I've gotta admit. I didn't mind the 2 1/2 hour drive
after the game because I knew that was the warmest we would be the rest
of the weekend. :-P

It was cold enough to have ice on the buckets Sat. morning, but perfect
ride weather. I had washed our girths the day before, left them out to
dry and thought they were, till we got ready to put them on Sat. and they
were both frozen solid!  The horses stayed sane though, and we had a
great ride. The thing about Skymont that gets you is that you just don't
seem to get anywhere very fast. The trail is nice, but very time
consuming. There's lots of twists & turns, knee knocker trees, loose
trippy rocks and just stuff that seems to slow you down more than you
realize. The horse has to be careful every time he puts his foot down and
it wears them out. The good part is that the trail is beautiful and the
colors are at their peak, so it's still enjoyable. The scenery looks like
the movie "Last of the Mohicans" and you get lots of views off the
mountain with beautiful rock formations. This is my fourth time to do it
(I think) and I've learned my lesson...don't fool around or you could
very easily get caught out there after dark, and you have to allow for
the short days.

Jody had sworn they were there to take it easy and get a completion but
the truth is...and don't tell everybody this...Jody is *kinda*
competitive. >g<  We drove her insane being 2 min. late to the out timer
every time.  My Bill's personality profile said he "enjoys waiting" which
is why we say he was born to crew. After the ride, Bill said, "Jody
wouldn't make a very good crew...she doesn't like to wait". >g<

Our little group traveled very well together though Josie & I both agree
it's more fun to ride with Joni when she has her mom to argue with. They
are very entertaining. :-)  I had no idea  how high the attrition rate
was until we were leaving on our last leg and they told us we were in
11,12, 13 places. It was slightly tempting to speed up, but not really.
This trail just wears a horse out and Gunner was getting tired,  so we
took our time and walked the uphills. As it turned out someone else got
pulled and we finished 10,11,12 out of 31 starters and 20 finishers. Our
ride time was 7:20 which I think is pretty quick for this trail.
Everybody was 100% sound and we were 3 for 3  in our crowd so I was very
satisfied. The completion awards were the nicest I've seen in a long
time. They were purple V-necked pullovers, brushed cotton, lined with
taffeta, embroidered in gold with the ride logo. Unfortunately, I
couldn't wear mine for a week or so since those were the school colors of
the team that kicked our butt in the playoffs. :-(  June & Larry Jordan
did a *great* job managing the ride. I had ridden the trail a week before
the ride and there were trees down everywhere. Larry had cut all of them
off the trail himself...and he does this just to help the Boyscouts make
some money. June had it marked so well a bunch of psychotic idiots on
runaway horses couldn't miss a turn...and not one of us did!

I've actually heard riders say they're afraid to come to this ride since
it is on Monteagle Mountain...a mountain that used to be so notorious for
trucks losing their brakes and wrecking that it is mentioned in the theme
song of Smokey & the Bandit...but they redid that road years ago and it's
such a gradual descent now that I barely have to use my brakes so for
goodness sakes people, come next year!

Now...what to do. If you *really* love the Hahira ride...and you have the
excuse of having books to sell >g<  and your horse appears 100% sound and
the patching material makes it very easy to pretend the cut was never
there...what do you do?   You do what any endurancahaulic would do.
Hahira was WONDERFUL. We great weather, the Linahans are the *best*
hosts, the weather didn't get too hot. There was a breeze, the sand was
packed from recent rain, Corky put out TONS of water, and it was a great
ride.   We left Josie & Cade at home since he's younger and Josie needed
to be at basketball practice or lose her position.  Kinda fun to be
independent and fancy free. Gunner was positively *cruising*.I was a
little worried my wooly horse would get hot on the 3rd leg (it hit 82
degrees) but it had lots of open dirt roads and Bill drove in front of me
and I was sponging over the tailgate (redneck version of sheiks throwing
out bottles of water). My shaggy horse never even got *warm.  So, without
me even realizing it we arrived at the 3rd check in 11th place. He was
drinking...eating, happy,...then he trotted out grade 1 or 2! :-(((

 The vet first said he looked like he was coming down harder on the
right (that's the hoof that had been injured) and then she started
examining the right. I said, "If he's coming down harder on the
right...then it's his left isn't it?" And she said, "Oh, yeah!" and
switched. :-P He was totally unconcerned when she checked his tendons and
suspensories, no digital pulse. She wasn't going to pull me right out,
but we were deciding if I wanted to pull myself.I told her I thought I'd
hang around awhile, since I had 5 hours to do 12 miles, and see how he
did.  Bernie, a farrier friend checked him out with testers and he was
negative on both feet. I decided he had probably either whacked it on the
roots & stumps we'd been tripping over in the woods, or maybe twisted it
a little on one. We'd just gone through a bad section right before the
vet check. We iced it a little, then all the horses I'd been riding with
left. I had Bill video me trotting him out then watched it in slow motion
and it was almost gone. 

I sat around for another 20 min. or so figuring I'd pull, then
remembered that 5 miles out on this trail it went right back by camp
again. I decided I could lead him that far if I felt like it and that
would probably be better than hauling back and standing on a picketline,
so with the vets blessing I headed out leading him. He was OK with the
first few horses that passed, but after 45 min. I got on him and when the
next group came along he was anxious to go with them. He felt 100% sound.
but I got off and led him till they were gone. That was a lot of fun. He
was very ticked off and really made me walk fast. We had to circle two
huge fields so I was pulling grass and handing it to him and he was so
ticked off that he just grabbed for it and bit the snot out of my hand.
:-O  I almost didn't manage to get back on him that time since he was so
wound up. Not a lot of hills to stand by in South south GA. Finally got
on, took my time and only trotted the best, most level & firm ground on
the way back and he trotted out 100% sound at the finish. He was fine the
next morning too so I guess I got away with it.  :-D Karen Chaton will
choke if she reads this but that's my first back to back weekend 50's
ever. >G<

So, Gunner finished his first season 7 for 7 on 50's. I feel awfully
lucky to have found one that did that right out of the box. I guess you
never know on injuries. The ones that look bad end up not doing any harm
and the harmless looking ones get ya. I've always been very quick to pull
myself when my horse was questionable, and want to make sure I still do
that when it's the right thing to do, but in this case I was really glad
that we checked out all the options and made it through. :-))  He moved a
lot better than I did after all that walking in wet riding shoes. :-P 

Angie & Gunner


Angie McGhee
http://www.lightersideofendurance.com


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