Always Be Prepared!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

IMG_8521Today Faygo and I went for a quick ride. We were excited to try out her new Zilco snap on bridle. It’s a beautiful bright blue and looks great on her! The headstall and bit connect with a snap to her rope halter (or a biothane halter) and make it easy to remove the bit on the trail for a rest/snack or at a vet check. We found a great deal on the bridle and I’ll probably get one for Khaleesi too.

I finally started putting together my in-season trail bag and though I still have a few items to add I filled my cantle bag with assorted necessities like duct tape wrapped around a (working) pen, hoof pick, spare easyboot, batteries (for the GPS) a compass (who knows what might happen to the GPS right?), emergency granola bar, multi-purpose tool, zip ties, radio, whistle, string… and misc other useful things one might need on the trail.

For a short ride in my “backyard” I thought the full trail kit was a bit overkill but to get into the habit I attached the bag anyway.

As we started down the driveway Faygo was a bit distracted and she went down on her knee at one point – I thought maybe it was a hole. I kindly asked her to pull herself together, pay attention, and we continued on. About 3 minutes later I was thinking how wonderful it was to be back on my horse on a beautiful spring day. There are few things in life that give me the same refreshed feeling and….. I’m on the ground.

No really- that quick- I was on the ground.

Faygo is standing calmly there next to me as seconds before I did a pretty sudden yet slow motion unplanned dismount that left me completely unhurt but confused. I thought she slipped a foot (it was wet and a bit muddy) – while it was happening she seemed to be unbalanced and kind of loopy. She went down on a knee and couldn’t seem to get her footing- she seemed like she was about to go completely down which is when I instinctively bailed and rolled onto the ground. I got up and again asked her what on earth is going on today?

Faygo- you have to pull yourself together. Are you ok?

She just stood there like “I’m fine- you’re the one on the ground.”

So I got back on and we continued at a walk and in about 3 more minutes she seemed to loose balance like she was drunk and I stayed on her trying to decide if she was going to fall over or pull it together. I had panicked thoughts of EPM and neuorogical disorders that would cause her to completely lose her sense of balance. Then I saw it below us- the cable from her rear hoof boot had gotten “flossed” in between her front metal shoe and her foot. She was basically hogtied on one side. By the time I realized what was going on she’d pulled the boot off her back foot and ripped the gator (around her fetlock) clean so that now the back boot was attached to her front foot, but at least she could stand now. THANK GOD that is all that was going on, but now what!?

The rear boot's wire is jammed tightly between the hoof and the metal shoe.
The rear boot’s wire is jammed tightly between the front hoof and the metal shoe.
Saw tool cuts through the wire
Saw tool cuts through the wire

Apparently the cantle bag I’d packed wasn’t overkill at all. I wondered why I hadn’t thrown in wire cutters, what was I thinking? I started with the multi-tool and decided if nothing in there would cut the wire cable then at least it had a screw driver and I should be able to disassemble to boot enough to get the wire disconnected. Thankfully the saw part of the tool DID cut through the cable and aside from the fact that the sharp wire left behind cut my fingers a few times as I then tried to pull it out from between the shoe and front hoof, it was a pretty simple operation. One more easy boot bites the dust (I have got to try renegades this winter).  I wrapped the boot in some plastic and put it back in my bag- and my preparedness paid off again when I pulled a spare easy boot out of the pack! I put on the spare boot and we were good to go! My farrier will be pleased this week when he has something to nail the back shoes to- at his last visit I was warned that I needed to protect those back feet or there wouldn’t be enough hoof wall to put on her back shoes at his next visit.

At this point I’m wondering why I didn’t just go with all four shoes right then. Probably because in part I’m considering going completely barefoot and using boots but I’m not really sure, and not likely to make the change for this year- and I need to find boots that are easier to deal with and hold up better than the ones I’ve been using.

spare shoe!
spare hoof boot!

With the new shoe we were on our way, but I’m worried she might have hurt herself (pulled something) with the wire fiasco. I let her walk easy to be sure everything feels normal. This isn’t exactly the ride I’d planned, or the horse I’d anticipated (from the start she was NOT into this ride), but I knew that just getting her out was important- if we were going to be slow, so be it. Ride the horse you have today. As we got within about a mile of the end of our outbound trail we started to get into the groove and as soon as I turned her around (wouldn’t you know it!) she started getting much more energetic. We did a ton of gaiting on the way home and I kept her for the most part from cantering.

Double Click to enlarge
Double Click to enlarge

Overall we had decent speed considering our setbacks. We rode over 8 miles and averaged 5.2mph moving speed. She worked hard and it was a warm day for her (not having luck trying to partially clip her- and I bought a small clipper with low vibration for “sensitive animals” but it’s not doing a good job either), but considering it was a short ride I let her push herself. When we got back to the barn I washed her legs and tail with a whitening shampoo (she’s gotten muddy stained legs from the wet spring, and her tail is a bit yellowed) also I don’t want her to develop sores (scratches) from the mud and dirt and dampness. I was able to at least cut back the hair at the bottom of her legs and by her hoof to discourage mud and dirt and hopefully stay a bit dryer through the rest of spring. She seemed to be walking fine and in good spirits when I turned her out. Another good day with the horses- looking forward to getting Khaleesi out tomorrow!

Speed Graph of our ride-starting to even out a bit
Speed Graph of our ride-starting to even out a bit