Monday, March 16, 2009

Crazy Coyote - Susan Garlinghouse, DVM

The Crazy Coyote was this past weekend and went well overall. Alexa Olney was ride manager and she and her group did a great job and really worked their tails off to get everything put together and handled. The weather could not have been nicer---almost down to freezing the night before, but calm and clear and in the high sixties with low humidity all the next day. 16 starters for the 55, 10 finished and 36 starters for the 30, 29 completions. Brad Green from Auburn on Pawnee won the 55, Audrey Scott on Fire Mtn Blaize was second right behind Brad, and Pippa Davies on MW Warrior was third and BC (also high vet score). The winning time was just a bit under six hours.

Sheila Hall on My Oscala Gold was the first horse to complete the 30 in Fit to Continue condition (the first two LD horses to cross the line were in unacceptable condition and did not receive either a placing or a completion). Mindy Wolfe on Splash was 2nd and BC. Lisa Schneider on her wonderful horse Drew was high vet score for the seven horses that showed for the LD BC. Lisa told me that even if she had gone fast enough to be competitive point-wise for overall BC, she said to give it to someone that cared about that sort of thing---no agenda here, she was just happy to have had a good ride on a good horse and compete against the trail, for which I admire both she and her husband Shel.

There were a lot of minor lameness pulls, including a bunch of tired hind limb muscle problems. There's a fair amount of sand and flat trail on this ride and if riders didn't change gaits or diagonals often enough or went too fast through sand, it came back to haunt them at the VC. One horse in the LD wasn't recovering at VC 1 at 15 miles and so was pulled for metabolic. Aside from the one horse described below, there were no treatments, which made me very happy.

On the 2nd loop, one of the LD riders (Steve Downs) was walking past a man standing near his SUV parked off the road, who very casually commented to him, "This might be interesting, my son is up there with a dog that doesn't like horses." Steve thought that meant maybe the dog was afraid of them, or might bark or something, but the guy was still just standing there like it wasn't that big a deal. Further up the trail, there's a teenage kid with a big dog on one of those retractable leads and it turns out that "doesn't like horses" means "intends to attempt to kill and eat them". It got away from the kid (who didn’t say anything and sounds like didn't put up much effort to really hold it), the dog attacked Steve's horse and bit him in the belly just in front of the sheath. He was clamped on pretty well until the horse kicked him off. The kid grabbed the dog (who was looking like he was getting ready to jump in again) by the collar, everyone was yelling and shouting, and by the time the other riders turned to see where the kid was going with the dog, they were back in the SUV and driving away, despite many people yelling at them. They got the license number and description, animal control came out to take photos and a report and they're going to track down the owner and at the very least, cite him for dog violations and so on. Steve is going to try to get reimbursement for his vet bill, lost entry fees and so on, but of course getting a judgment is not the same as getting payment.

The horse will be okay, but it was a pretty deep bite wound, and needed suturing, a drain, some IV antibiotics and so on. He was looking really good otherwise, and it was really upsetting that just because of the serious bite, the horse could not be defined as fit to continue and so could not complete. Steve was given a completion award anyway, but this sure comes under the heading of Hard Luck. On the other hand, it also could have been much worse, that deep a bite on a lower leg could easily have been a career or even life-ending injury.

Susan Garlinghouse, DVM

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