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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sometimes to Pull is to Win

Part 2 – Mount Diablo Part II

(see picture note in part 1. Pictures in this post are from a Fresno Zoo trip! - more randomness)

Minx started to fade early which is unusual for her. She was willing to let the horses in front of her go forward without her. Usually I don’t get that behavior until mile 20 or so. I was only 10 miles into the ride….The first real vet check (where there was a hold etc.) was at mile 25. Miles 1-10 was done at a full out extended trot with a little walking (trying to get as many miles as possible before the sun came up). Miles 10-25 were tough. The sun had started to come up. I walked in the shade, trotted in the sun. I let her go full bore down hill (we only skidded out once, as long as I could stay centered in the saddle, she could do a racing trot down hill), we trotted the flats, walked the hills. Every time I came to water I wetted her down, watched her drinking. She wasn’t acting right. She was panting and I was having trouble keeping her respiration down even with breaks. She kept wanting to stop. Even though she had peed several times (she was in season), she hadn’t pooped.

We came to a nice little water stop, about four miles from the lunch time vet check. The water stop was in the shade and there was water and hay. I decided to wait there until her pulse recovered (which I defined as dropping to 60 bpm or below) and she had ate and drank. It took 10-15 minutes for her pulse to drop to 60 bpm (shouldn’t have taken more than a couple of minutes) and she wasn’t interested in hay or water. She did drink some water once her pulse dropped. This horse is very good at taking care of herself and this was very unusual. I decided to dismount and walk into the vet check. She seemed to perk up the next 4 miles as we walked. She still had no interest in trotting behind me (so we walked) and made no effort to catch the horses ahead of us. Her pulse was better.

At the vet check:
We arrived at the vet check (25 miles). I stripped tack and watered her (she didn’t drink very much). I didn’t like how she wasn’t interested in her surroundings and was standing with her head low. She pulsed in right away and then we went to vet in. She received A’s and B’s on her vet card (much to my suprise) and was passed to go on after our hour hold. This was probably due to me handwalking her into the vet check, but I knew something was still wrong. During the hour hold she stayed lethargic, did not eat and drink significantly and continued to hold her head low. I brought her back to the vet and asked them to recheck gut sounds. They were almost silent. I made the decision to pull. Because the vet had passed her to go on, it is a “rider option” pull – my first RO. I immediately starting crying. I am the person that usually has it all together but concern about Minx, relief I did not have to push on through the heat – was too much. In retrospect, I probably had heat-exhaustion myself. I took ~10 minutes to compose myself and focused on Minx.

While waiting for the trailer back to camp, Minx started to show more interest in her surroundings (exactly 1 hour and 6 minutes after arriving into the vet check…). She starting drinking well again and did some nibbling on dried grass and hay. Still, I knew I had made the right decision to pull. She was trailered back to ride camp. I had the vet recheck her gut sounds again, which were still very very quiet. She still had not pooped and still wasn’t super interested in food. After our pull at 10am, it took until 3pm until she finally pooped, starting eating semi-normally, and her gut sounds were back up to normal. It was a stressful 5 hours for me!

Every time I do a ride and am reminded how hard it is. I come back from each ride determined to come to the next one a little better conditioned (both me and the horse). I wished I lived somewhere I could do hills more regularly, but I try to make do with what I have. I was going to try and do the Swanton Pacific 75 in August but I think I am going to scratch. Instead I will do the Fireworks 50 ride in August in Santa Cruz, and then Camp Far West 50 the beginning of September. I really want Minx to have a really solid 50 behind her before asking for more. I was hoping that this ride was it, but it wasn’t meant to be.

2/10/09 comments
This is the second time planned to do a ride and it was much hotter than predicted. Each time I have tried for a completion anyways, I was not successful, and came close to disaster for either me or my horse. The previous rides this season had been very cold or rainy without much time for heat-conditioning. It would have been better not to have started this ride, than to do the 25 miles that we did. Mentally this ride was very tough on Minx and I have had a heck of a time convincing her that endurance is fun again!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Mel :) your blog is really coming along. I actually had to read some backlog. I really enjoyed your "irrational fears" in the night riding section :P


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