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Re: RC: Re: How I may have killed Bucky

Vinnie, I went through a similar experience years ago and my heart goes out to
you....  My Shatirr looked perfect at lunch, vetted in with a 48 pulse and all
A's. But it was a hot and humid day (108 degrees and +90% humidity) and even
though he was in good shape and I was going slow - walking the hills on foot --
and he was drinking great, he collapsed; his guts shut down. He couldn't handle
the conditions.

I call him metabolically challenged, and now employ him for pleasure riding and
pasture pruning. I ride endurance, but am afraid to do it on him.

He's fine now, but it was touch and go and VERY scary. If I can find the ride
story I did on it I'll forward it, because you sound like you did all of the
right things, but in our hearts we always see the small things that could have
made a difference.

This experience is why I feels it's so critical to have good treatment vets at
all rides... we need to take responsibility for the welfare of our horses, not
over ride them, but there are these times when we need our good vets....

  -- Linda Cowles, Gilroy CA

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 1999 9:15 PM
> Subject: RC: How I may have killed Bucky
> Vincent J. Attardi
> Bucky is my 10yr-old Eighth-of-a-Horse (1/2 Arab, 1/2 QH).  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 m.
> Bucky has had the misfortune of being owned by 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.  I have been at this
> sport for 3 years and Bucky and I have been at this sport together for 1.5
> years.  All last year we did LD's and for the first part of this season we
> did the same... until we recieved BC on the LD ride at Longstreet Charge.  I
> figured..."Now we MUST be ready to do 50s."
> Up until this point, we fought warm tendons.  I eventually gave these
> warnings thier proper attention and adjusted my "way of going" to preserve
> sinue (sp?).  And it worked.  I would come back from long training rides
> with cold feet.  I thought I had this "conditioning" thing down.
> Metabolics you say?  Well, Bucky, aka "Bucky the Wonder Horse" also posesses
> the unfortunate natural ability of incredible heart rate recoveries.  He can
> trot into camp at 98 and hit 58 by the time we walk up to the P/R check.  It
> is unfortunate because, as a bull-headed novice, I mistook that for a sign
> that my horse was "conditioned" or at least conditoined for the way I was
> riding him.  I had myself fooled.
> This past weekend, at the IDRA ride, it was extremely hot and humid.  Our
> pace was slow and the Turtle award was our goal.  Nothing could go wrong...I
> gave Bucky electrolites..double doses.  We never went fast.  Bucky drank
> oceans of water!  How could anything go wrong?
> He gave me a sign before our last loop.  He layed down in his corral for a
> nice roll....but he hesitated on his side and rubbed his head on the ground.
> "Must be enjoying the cool earth" I told myself...but there was something
> else...he had stopped eating.  Perhaps one or the other was nothing... but
> both were a sign and I missed it.  I knew we were both tired.  I decided to
> take 1.5 hours for a break instead of the mandatory 40 min. gate hold.  It
> wasn't enough.
> I walked Bucky off-saddle for about 7 of the 15 mile loop.  He was still
> drinking up a storm...but I did not want to push him (he was in serious
> trouble already - I just didn't know it).  I troted him in the last one or
> two miles and he came in at 58.  Vets passed him and many a rider commented
> how well he troted-out.
> When I got him back to his corral.. Bucky, who had been waiting for this
> moment for a long time... laid down to die.  That big-hearted animal, who
> would do anything for me because of the trust we developed together, had
> done his duty to satisfy my demands, and was now going to take his eternal
> nap.
> The quick hands and minds of my wife, friends and the Vets that were brought
> to the scene, were the only reasons Bucky breaths today.  They worked on him
> for almost 3 hours before he was stable.  I am told that his heart
> fibrilated twice during the episode.  He had to of seen the horsey-light
> those times.
> It took 2 hours to make it to the University hospital.  He was out of
> metabolic trouble, but is now fighting founder....and it might kill him...or
> shall I say he might die from it... I am the one who will kill him.
> For those novice riders out there who have turned a deaf ear to the advice
> of experienced riders and the need for Complete conditioning...please don't.
> I would give anything to have that day back.  Bucky, like many horses, will
> go until they drop.  Bucky is the first horse I could call my own.  He and I
> have become real pals.  I cannot convey the depth of guilt and heart-ache I
> bear at this time.  I just do not wish it for anyone.  Condition your
> horses...take them up slowly...and never take any new behavior during a ride
> as "OK"  Check it out...have the vets give it a second look... don't take
> the chance.
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