The Race That Wasn't
I have a disappointing story to tell, so I'm hoping all the photos of cuddly dogs will help the medicine go down.
See, we left early on Friday morning to head to the race. Dobare was all wrapped up and attempting to drag us around while we loaded up. The weather was a beautiful 55 degrees. Basically everything was looking good.
|I mean, lookit that thing. How can you not be happy after seeing that?|
|Don't let this peaceful photo lie to you. This little guy apparently spent all morning running around the pasture evading capture, then dragged me around for awhile searching for the perfect grass.|
We headed out for Ivanhoe, VA. The drive took about 6 hours for the trailer, and 5 for me in my car. Both vehicles ended up making a ton of stops while we cared for our various charges. Dobare's owner was concerned the horse wasn't drinking on the drive. My dogs, meanwhile, were concerned I wouldn't let them drink enough.
|We are the thirstiest of travel companions, and will squeak copiously until you pull over and give us water!|
Arriving early meant I could search out the spot saved for us by a friend and block off enough space for our large crew. Not only would we need space for Dobare and his owner as well as myself and my dogs, but we also needed a spot for my mom and her friend.
Spots saved, I set up my tent and waited for the others. At this time I noticed a horse corralled at my friend's trailer was becoming very aware the electric fence surrounding her was not on.
|If only her antics had stayed this innocuous...|
In no time at all, the mare managed to tangle three of her legs in the tape, panic, break one of the posts, and run to the trailer. Thankfully she was quite sensible, and I got her untangled and tied to the trailer.
Remember, kids. Electrify your tape fence, or else it's useless.
Finally Dobare and his owner pulled in, and I set about making sure we got liquid into the horse. I knew we would need to vet in soon, and I wanted to make sure Dobare's hydration and gut sounds were good. I made an alfalfa cube slurry, and Dobare started slurping it up.
|Camp was quite scenic, surrounded by the mountains and nestled in next to the New River.|
My hard work paid off. When we went to vet in, Dobare had great hydration and gut sounds. He got A+'s all around, with a heart rate of 42. I was elated!
Then it came time for the trot up. As I trotted the horse out, my heart sank. Despite his enthusiastic energy, I could see his head bobbing along next to me. He was very lame. When we finished our jog, the vet shook her head.
"He's at least grade 3 lame on his right front. I can't start you like that. Is there a reason you can think of he'd be so off?"
|Basically all of our feelings about this random mystery lameness.|
The only thing I could think of was an old injury to the coffin bone that caused Dobare to sometimes come out stiff under saddle. I told the vet as much, and she suggested we warm him up some with a ride or jog to see if he worked out of it. As there was no heat or anything indicating and acute injury, this seemed like a reasonable idea.
Knowing he can take about a 20 minute warm up, I grabbed Asterid and headed out to the nearby trail to go for an in-hand jog.
|Warm up the horse, get some exercise, and wear out the husky? Yes please!!|
After a slow mile, I didn't notice the head bob any longer. Also, Dobare was starting to rip my arms off trying to chase down other horses on the trails. I figured we should try to vet him again. Unfortunately, though he was improved, once I saw him trot it became apparent he still wasn't 100%.
We decided to take the vet's advice and go for a short ride to see if some more distance would work him out of whatever the issue was. Once I was on, however, it became obvious something was very very wrong.
|The trail went along the river, which made it beautiful. I wish I'd been able to enjoy it!|
We went over to the vet to ask if we could trot him up again in the morning, hoping he just tweaked something on the trailer and it would resolve by morning. In the meantime, I kept going over Dobare's legs obsessively. I was hoping some sort of heat or swelling would become apparent so I could point some some reason behind this sudden lameness. Nothing showed up.
|Here's another sleepy Asterid photo to cheer us up at this point. She was such a good girl in the tent!|
The next morning dawned cold, probably about 45 degrees. We'd blanketed Dobare the night before, hoping keeping him warm would help with any stiffness or injury issue. His owner walked him around all morning, hoping to limber him up before we trotted him to see if he was sound.
When the time came, I watched him jog a bit before we took him over for our last opportunity at a vet-in. My heart sank as I watched him go. He was still very off on the right front.
The vet saw the same lameness I did, and was also perplexed at the lack of acute injury markers. He suggested we have the old coffin bone injury checked out when we get home.
|This fuzzy monster has always been a great camping dog. She upped her game this weekend by curling up on my feet when the temps dropped. She is the best.|
The race management was nice enough to refund part of our entry fee, and as the race kicked off we started packing up instead. It was heartbreaking to watch Dobare get excited about race day, only to get loaded back on the trailer and head home. Despite his limp, he wanted to go out and do the job he's grown to love.
|I was really wishing I could see the trails at this location. Everyone who had ridden on Friday raved about them. Saturday was perfect weather, and I was so sad to pack up and leave instead of ride.|
As Dobare and his owner pulled out of camp with the truck and trailer, the rest of our group headed down to the river to play a bit. I figured I might as well take advantage of the opportunity to see if the dogs enjoyed the river.
|They did not. Haha! Lyra likes wading in, Asterid only comes in because she's afraid I'll drown and leave her forever.|
Finally, my mom and her friend were packed up and ready to head out. We drove a bit up the road to hang out at a fun shop, then headed our separate ways home. While it was nice to get home a day early, it was not the way I'd like to get an extra free day.
|Old ugly coffin bone injury that's been cold and set as long as I've known the horse. Note the right leg isn't the one that lost the shoe a few weeks ago.|
After getting home, Dobare is still off. I've continued to check his legs, and still no heat or swelling is apparent. His owner is working to get him into a local clinic for diagnostics. We're hoping this is something easily resolved, so he can get back to trotting happily down the trails. Fingers crossed for him!