Wednesday, May 02, 2001

How to Impress the Vets at an Endurance Ride - Susan Garlinghouse

Gallop into the "vet area", if possible trampling several of the loose dogs and spectators gathered there. Lead your horse right up to the water trough, the one with the sign next to it saying "NO SPONGING" and immediately immerse your muddy sponge to get it all nice and clean after you dropped it a ways back. While sponging your horse, make sure he rubs his head on the nearest drinking horse, if possible, getting his tack irreparably tangled up. As soon as your horse stops rubbing and starts drinking, have a crewperson heave a five gallon bucket of ice water over the both of you, while simultaneously hitting the horse in the head with a bucket of bran mash and trying to cram a banana in your ear, meanwhile screaming, "IS HE DOWN YET???". Check your horse`s heart rate by looking for your heart monitor. It will either be missing or telling you your horse`s heart rate is 376. No matter. Shriek for a P&R person as loudly as possible and continue shrieking until serviced.

Hold your horse with a death grip by the bit, glaring at him eye-to-eye and muttering darkly that he`ll be barbecue by midnight if he kicks the vet again. Have a "P&R person" walk up to your horse, fumble with a stethoscope, put it in their ears backwards and place the bell end on your horse`s neck, stare intently at their watch for five minutes, move the stethoscope to three more places on your horse`s neck/withers/shoulder and then pronounce your horse "down" and scream as loudly as possible into the horse`s ear, "TIME!!!!". If possible, have another volunteer on the other side scream "10:42!!!" into your horse`s other ear. If *your* watch is telling you that this means your horse will be allowed to go in approximately five hours, all is going as expected.

Now take your horse to the "vet". Don`t remove any tack, in fact, drape as much as possible all over him. If possible, have some of it drag on the ground, get tangled up in the horse`s feet and either break, fall off and cause your horse to trip and fall on top of the nearest ride official. Approach the "vet" who will also place a stethoscope on various parts of the horse. As soon as he starts listening, start talking and asking questions as loudly as possible. If he doesn`t answer and gets a peeved look on his face, repeat everything again---he just wants to make sure he heard you right. When he gives up and asks for your vet card, hand him a soggy soda cracker. At this point he`ll ask you to trot out the horse---what he really means is for your horse to wheel around, knock him into the nearest clump of swamp or cactus (depending on your region), kick the nearest horse and refuse to budge. If he`s a stallion, this would be a good time for him to drop and start trying to prop himself up with his penis. If she`s a mare, squatting and peeing right in front of the nearest propped-up stallion is just as good.

Have a crew member wave their arms and/or a whip around behind the horse to get it moving. Try to get the whip to smack the horses standing in line behind him. When the horse whinnies in terror, bolts and tramples the vet, that`s fine---he can check the girth area for sores as it`s passing over him. Watch your horse carefully for signs of stiffness or lameness as it gallops off into the wilderness. Don`t forget to retrieve your soda cracker vet card from the vet`s clenched fist as you leave.


Susan G

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