Best laid plans...

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, we had high expectations for our two days of riding in the Hill Country State Natural Area outside of Bandera, Texas.

It was not to be.

We got out of town right on time early Friday morning and had an uneventful drive. Set up camp, exercised the horses a little and just generally got ready for Saturday's ride... braiding manes, packing fanny packs, making final adjustments on the tack and such.

Saturday started great. We trotted out at a moderate pace in the middle of the pack, down a park service road and then up into the beautiful rugged hills.

But very shortly my little star mare, Beri started slowing down. Her rider thought there was 'something wrong', but I couldn't see it. She had a bright expression and was walking freely, just didn't want to trot. She's a fairly well seasoned endurance horse and so I thought she was just being smart and conservative on the hills. We slowed down for her, then slowed down again and finally stopped for a real exam -- as good a one as I could do on the trail. I was looking for signs of colic or tying up (Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis). Her heart and respiration were normal, she was hydrated, had gut sounds and her butt was jiggly. But when I went to check her capillary refill, I knew we had trouble. Her gums were darkening and that's a sign of toxicity. I didn't know WHAT was wrong, but I did know we were definitely in trouble.

I sent Courtney on ahead on GLAMDRING to ride the best ride she could and I stayed with Abelino while he walked Beri down out of the hills and to a spot in the trail were we could cut through to a road. I flagged down a park ranger who drove to the base camp and let them know we were walking in with a sick horse. Beri's gums seemed to lighten a bit with the walking and her attitude perked up enough that I even wondered if it had been some minor upset tummy or thing that she had worked through. But we weren't taking any chances and so when ride management arrived with the trailer, we loaded her up and hauled back to the vet.

Her gums had darkened again by the time the vet examined her, but her other signs were not too bad so he recommended trailer rest and a close watch. But by the time we got her to the trailer, untacked and filled her hay bag, she'd started to tighten up and show all the classic signs (hard butt muscles) of tying up. We got her back to the vet and started on treatment.

It was a long day, and we have a long recovery and a slow rehab in front of us, but she's going to be fine -- which is the best possible news.

Courtney and GLAMDRING had a good ride on the 50 that day. He was tired at the finish, it's a tougher trail than he's been on before, but he still had some horse left and so we cleaned him up with the expectation of another 50 on Sunday.

Since Abelino didn't have a horse for Sunday and Beri was napping comfortably, he partnered with Ross Carrie to take a first place in the 12.5 mile RaT! They had a great time and I think he's definitely hooked on the sport.

GLAMDRING made it 25 miles on what was day 2 for him, before he started showing some strain (for a total of 75 for the weekend) and so it was up to me and GWAIHIR to bring it home.

It's not the kind of trail you can make a lot of time on, but I let GWAIHIR pick his pace and he likes to canter, even barefoot on this tough, rocky trail. I love this horse, he just keeps getting stronger and we so gained time over the last 25 miles to come in 3rd overall and take a 1st in our division.

So what else to say? We had some good rides in spite of the trouble and it's always a good day -- keeping in mind how fast things can go very wrong -- it's always a good day when you bring home a horse that pulled through some trouble.


Val said...

Man, I was sorry to miss that ride...
But also sorry to hear about Beri's tie-up; hopefully it was just a "perfect storm" of hormones/stress/unseasonably warm weather/???

Becky Burkheart said...

Thanks Val. You did miss a great ride.

And we're thinking it was what you're calling a 'perfect storm'. We'll know more once we get our follow-up visit later this week and start working her again.

Dani said...

So Sorry to hear about Beri getting sick. Hopefully she'll have a speedy recovery.

Nice that you placed so well though. Take care!

Becky Burkheart said...

>>So Sorry to hear about Beri getting sick. Hopefully she'll have a speedy recovery.

Thank you Dani.

and yes, Beri seems to be feeling great. We'll have bloodwork done on Friday to see how things are looking internally, but at this point it's looking to me like it might be what Val's calling a 'perfect storm' and if that's the case, she should be able to come out of it and do fine.

L.A. Mitchell said...

How worried you must have been. Glad to hear she's doing better. Congrats on being first in your division :)