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[RC] "sometimes it's the lady (disguised as a tiger)" Ft. Mead Remount - Marlene Moss

There are times when everything is telling you to stop, but you just keep
pushing through.  That is the theme of most of our weekend at Ft. Meade
Remount!  My husband and I both ended up with lame horses 1 week before the
ride.  His stallion got a bruised tendon being an idiot when we had to
evacuate our boarding facility for a wild fire and my mare has had some
signs of hock arthritis that really became obvious on a 15 mile hilly
training ride.

My husband decided to ride our mustang/arab cross gelding that we bred.  He
is big and strong and until this year, was not interested in working
although I had done a 25 on him.  But he really seems ready now that he is 6
and has mostly figured where his hind legs are.

I decided (with the help of Ridecamp) to take my up and coming gelding.  I
had planned to take him to his first ride in about 6 weeks - plenty of time
to continue ramping up his training as well as continuing to fix some of his
handling problems.  His previous owners were NOT arab or young horse

So last week we did two last minute rides to see how the horses got along,
who would lead, what speed they liked, what our hoof care plan would be etc.
The mustang cross has the most beautiful feet you will ever see in your
life.  Textbook perfect.  But he's a wuss!  So on Monday's ride we realized
that boots wouldn't work either - he has almost size 3 feet and a wide chest
- he just doesn't fit in trail ruts with boots over those feet and is
constantly interfering.  We took the boots off and he complained about the
lightly graveled road we rode on.  So Tuesday, he got shoes.

My guy, Cimarron, has pretty decent feet, and I'd forgotten boots since we'd
used our 2H trailer for that Monday ride.  So he was complaining a bit by
the end of the ride.  My plan was to boot him in front (I'd put them on once
before) and bare on the back since Ft. Meade is not a rocky ride.

Wednesday we went out for our dry run test of the shoes and boots.  Both
horse were feeling good, willing to just trot along at 8.5-9.5 mph and their
feet were happy.  So the shoes and boots seemed to be doing their job and we
didn't see any signs of the complaining we'd ended Monday's ride with.  We
were ready!

Oh, also on Monday's ride we did a mock vet check for Cimarron and found
that he wasn't happy with other people but me touching him.  I'd done all
the training work with him teaching him to trust me, but it hadn't entirely
transferred to other people.  So 3 times a day I grabbed random people and
we did vet checks.  I gave him treats as a reward, figuring that worst case
I could use treats to distract him at the ride!  He is a smart horse and
progressed well, but I knew it would still be different at a ride.

I also had to teach Cimarron to trot out - did that on Thursday.

So Friday morning we got up early, fed 43 horses and went to load up.  Taz
had lost a shoe!  Couldn't find it in his pen, so we grabbed all the tools
and stopped at the feed store on the way out of town and bought more shoes.

For some reason, the traffic in Denver was absolutely insane on Friday.
10am and it was almost rush hour heavy traffic and people were weaving in
and out, jumping in front of us with no warning, just bizarre.  All of a
sudden, there was an accident right in front of us.  It was only Stace's
excellent driving skills that allowed him to maneuver, with the brakes fully
locked, between the stopped cars and the median.  We knew we would have
shaken up the horses, but there was nowhere to stop and we just wanted out
of town.  We stopped just north of Denver to check them.  One matt had slid
completely on top of another and Cimarron had a surface wound on his right

Unfortunately, when we dropped off the pavement, one of our tires ended up
starting to delaminate and I heard the air hissing out.  So we drove up on
our leveling blocks, pulled the tire and put on the spare - also flat!  We
were very close to a tire shop and the horses got a 1 hour break eating
weeds while we spent $300 getting 2 tires replaced.  All on a day that was
supposed to (and did) hit 100 degrees.

We made it the rest of the way to Ft. Meade w/o incident other than it was
foolish of us to trust the MapQuest directions - we took the shorter, scenic
route.  It really was pretty, but lots of turning for horses that had
already had a tough ride and it was by far their longest trailer ride ever.

Cimarron was not at his best behavior at check in - I warned the vet not to
hold his head tight and to just make friends with him before doing cap
refill and he'd be ok.  She held him tight and he decided he wasn't going to
stand for anything with her.  So we moved on to the head vet, he understood
how to deal with him (and Stace helped out, he's bigger than me).  I'd spent
the week not antagonizing him - now that we're back in our training window
we're going to have some fights!

Camp was beautiful, what a historic area!  Kerry did a bang up job arranging
for plenty of water, a great space to camp and really nice trails.  All the
volunteers were great and knew a lot about the area.

The ride started out great.  Cimarron bucks at the canter and rears when
impatient and just moves with power if he can get away with it.  He barely
saw the horses in front of his nose - he focused on the horses a half mile
in front and wanted to CATCH THEM NOW!  His bucking is laughable - head
down, but his back doesn't move, so I just have to push him through it.
Rearing doesn't bother me.  But the bullying, I'm gonna move no matter what
is in front of me is a big problem.  We had to dismount for a tunnel under a
road - tunnel didn't scare him in the slightest - but he wasn't going to
stand for mounting after!

Our 8-9mph goal turned into 10mph, but the horses dealt really pretty well.
I commented to Stace how good Taz looked at the trot - just a huge
effortless motion.  Cimarron felt good, seemed to be getting a brain, but
was not interested in eating or drinking if he could see horses off in the
distance.  He drank very well once at a tank in the trees.  Usually he is
hard to stop eating, but forward was all he could focus on.  I didn't like
that, but figured we'd regroup at the hold.

Unfortunately Taz trotted out completely lame!  Nothing happened, he'd been
fine coming into the hold.  Our best guess is that on our Monday ride he'd
gotten a stone bruise and while standing in line it finally hurt enough to
bother him.  We could see a soft spot with hoof testers, so might have an
abcess brewing.

I thought Cimarron looked a little off at the trot out (Stace handle the vet
check for me) but the vet didn't say anything - he has an odd motion so I
was hoping it was just me being overly sensitive to lame horses right now!
We got some food in the horses, Stace was bummed - he has not had a good
season!  I decided to stick with a lady we'd ridden in with - she marked the
trails!  We trotted out nice and slow and I was pretty sure Cimarron was
off.  I decided to give it a few minutes, but it didn't get better.  He was
totally willing, and it wasn't huge, but I wasn't going to let his first
ride end in pain, so I walked back to the vet check and Stace and I got a
ride back to camp with the horses.  

Back in camp, we trotted them out again.  Taz was still clearly off, but not
as bad, Cimarron's could barely be seen.  We trotted out again when we got
home and both now look completely fine.  I am guessing that Cimarron did the
same thing as Taz and hit a rock on our Monday ride and stressed it during
the first leg of the ride and standing at the hold allowed their brains to
finally register the problem.  I'm trying to decide if we're going to get a
vet out, but I don't think there will be anything to see by then.  Cimarron
was negative to hoof testers when we got back in camp, so I'm still not

But Cimarron really did great for his first ride. He camped reasonably well
- only broke the Hi Tie lead once!  He has great recoveries even when being
an idiot.  He is competitive, which I wasn't sure he would be.  This week
we'll get back on the ground work and I think after a couple rides, his
distraction issues will get better.  And aside from the lameness, my husband
figured out that Taz is going to be phenomenal at this sport now that he's
mature enough, he asked me to take him off the sale list!  

It was a great ride, I wish I could have seen more trail.  If the ride is
held next year we are definitely going back.  So if Kerry doesn't want to
manage it again next year, I hope someone is able to jump in and give her a
break.  She's certainly put out a huge effort to make a wonderful event and
gotten great cooperation from BLM and the local parks.

In the end, it didn't go the way we planned, but we learned a lot, so did
our horses and next time . . .

Marlene Moss
www.LosPinos-CO.com - boarding, training, sales
www.KineticEquineAnalysis.com - saddlefit for the horse in motion


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