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How I may have killed Bucky

As I type, 
>he stands in a sand and sawdust stall at the Large=
> Animal Hospital at the University of Illinois.  There is a distict 
>possibility that Bucky will die, be unservicable for =
>life, or just permanently mamed.  If he does die, I  k i l l e d  H i 

Dear Vincent,

You are wrong.  Things happen.  It's horrible that it happened on your
first 50...but you were more prepared than I have been on some 50's.  

If you were as you say: 
 >"a bull-headed novice rider with a poor understanding of what
>conditioning =means and an even poorer capacity to recognize >the signs
of a horse in trouble." 

 You would be walking around right now mouthing off to everybody that
something was wrong with that horse and it had nothing to do with
you...not replaying what you could have done in hindsight.  The sort of
person who ignores obvious signs does not reflect on what they could have
done if they'd only thought. 

Hind sight is 20/20.  We all learn something new in every race.  I feel
terrible that this happened to you.  I don't remember your horse from the
race but I do remember you from the ride meeting and there was nothing
cocky  or over confident about your behavior.  You were humble, grateful,
and I told you, "THIS MEANS IT'S TIME TO MOVE UP".  So, add me to the
list of people who killed him.

The vets were experienced vets right?  Were they able to detect a
problem?  Did you intentionally hide anything from them?  There have been
many rides I've had a bad feeling about.  Last year at Liberty 100 Kaboot
got a mild colic at 80 miles and I pulled.  Then at Longleaf 100 he
stopped eating at 80 and looked funny.  I hung around an extra 40 min.,
he started eating a little and I gave him electrolytes, took off with
some of the last riders that I could team up with in the dark.  He came
back on me immediately, ate like a trooper, and looked so good at the end
that the vets said, "He just looks *different* than the other
horses....he looks... wonderful!"  His Vet Score was practically all
10's.  Now.....I took a calculated risk and came out smelling like a
rose....  What if something horrible had happened?  Would I have been a
murderer?  I probably would have thought so, and you probably would have
explained to me that we're all gambling every day.  It's a tough sport. 
All we can do is our best.  

The line between "O.K." and life threatening is incredibly thin with
horses.  It's more like flipping a switch than a long gradual transition.
 For your sake more than Bucky's I hope he's O.K.  If it's any comfort,
it seems that in most cases where I've known things like this to
happen...there was a reason...elevated enzymes of some sort showing there
had been an infection, or a weird heart, strange things that there's no
way we could have known about.  Go easy on yourself.  It's obvious from
here you're an O.K. guy.


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