Monday, June 27, 2016

Endurance Blues (my rendition)

This season has been fraught with challenges. I ended last season with 2 50 miles horses. Fit and happy. I pulled their shoes and gave them approximately 6-8 weeks off before bringing them back. And the trouble started.

Tanna blew an abscess right before the Camp Osborn Boy Scout Powwow ride in early February. This left me with Sasha only to take to do a 50. I had planned to do a 50 there with me on Tanna and Lillie on Sasha. With only Sasha available, I went by myself. We finished that 50, but she was short-striding on the right rear and we managed to squeak out the completion.

Next up was Yellowhammer in mid-March. Should have been plenty of time to work on Sasha and get Tanna legged up after his blown abscess. I planned a 55 and a 50 on Tanna and Sasha respectively. (No, I wasn't leaving Lillie out, she had school obligations and couldn't come!)

Tanna got better from his first abscess and not a week later blew another abscess on another foot! Well, fiddlesticks. I altered his ride from a 50 to a 25 and we went to Yellowhammer anyway.

Sasha started the 55 well, but 16 miles into the first loop came up lame. Right hind. I walked her into the vet check and we were pulled. Some rest and diagnostic work and we ended up injecting her hocks. This kept her out of Biltmore.

Sasha waiting to see our vet after the Yellowhammer pull.

Back to Tanna and Yellowhammer. He was a complete jerk at Yellowhammer and finished the 25 in fine style. I took him out and ran him another 4.5 mile loop to get the willies out. A fine, fit horse, ready to go again. Yahoo. Even with Sasha out, I felt good about Tanna.

Since I was messing about with Sasha and figuring out her issues, I entered Tanna in the 50 at Biltmore. I teamed up with a great friend. We've ridden hundreds, if not thousands, of miles together on these 2 horses. But this time was way different. They were talking, communicating, egging each other on. And on and on. We were not going fast! The horses were just being silly and forward and fighting us. Finally, after two loops, we had to split up and I stayed back at the vet check for an extra 20 minutes to let them go along. Halfway through the last loop, Tanna became intermittently lame and was consistent by the final trot out.

Tanna at the vet, prepping for x-rays on the right front.

Lots of things I could have/should have changed about the Biltmore ride, but I didn't and who knows if it would have changed the outcome. Tanna is still lame from that and is in the middle of a 30 day pasture rest period. The suspect at this point is a collateral ligament injury, but without an MRI, we can't specifically tell. The initial treatment (rest) is the same, so we're doing rest now. The MRI may come later. We'll see.

So, back to Sasha!! She had been on rest and then her hocks injected. Her first big training ride after that was at Biltmore, where we did a 15 mile loop in fine style. She looked and felt great with no hint of lameness or discomfort. Yahoo. Since Tanna was on the disabled list, back to focusing on Sasha.

The next ride was Summer Slam, the same camp and trails as the Powwow ride. So I took Sasha down there and did a really hot 50 on her. She finished really well. A little issue with the heat, but overall, fine style. No hint of lameness. Good to GO! Yay, got my girl back!!

So this past weekend, we headed up to Ohio for the Black Sheep Boogie and entered the 50. Things were going really well. We were riding our own ride, walking the mud, trotting the good terrain. Walking the hills. Settling in for a long, hot day. And 8.5 miles in. Head bob. Hmmm. Really? Maybe just a mis-step. Another 1/4 mile, another few head bobs. Hop off, pick out hooves. Rock in left hind (lame on right front). Didn't think that would be the cause, but maybe, so hopped back on. Head bob. Sigh. We're done. No more. We walk back into camp and pull.

Daniel and Sasha hanging out at Black Sheep Boogie

And now, instead of 2 fit, ready to go 50 mile horses, I have 2 lame horses and a 27 year old pasture puff.

Seriously, it's enough to put me off riding endurance for a bit. I'm getting sick of the vet bills. I'm sick of planning rides I can't go to. Sick of starting a ride and pulling. I try to be careful with my horses. But this makes me think I don't know what I'm doing at all!

I have another appointment with my vet (yay, more bills) and we'll see what's up with Sasha this time.