Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rebecca Farm Day Six

Well today was the big day, and I wish I had better news to report. After getting fluids last night Dually seemed fresh and perky this morning and looked and felt and great during his morning hand walk and graze. I was pretty nervous but mostly excited for the task ahead, and my nerves vanished as soon as I got in the tack to head out to Phase A.

We started off Phase A at 8:15 sharp, the first of the three Preliminary Three Day riders. Dually felt very happy and forward and we got in to the end of A two minutes early, as planned. A few circles through the start box, and then we were off on steeplechase! Dually was absolutely perfect. He slipped fairly badly on the grass around the first turn, but I didn't think much of it because he seemed so unfazed by it and kept moving along in a lovely forward rhythm, taking every fence beautifully out of stride (and refusing, as always, to brush through the 4' brush!!). It was so fun! After B we had a quick shoe check and headed out on C; as we got trotting again, he seemed a little wobblier than usual on his front end, but I hoped that it was merely the fairly uneven footing and nothing serious. He otherwise seemed quite relaxed and happy and trotted forward very loosely and freely. Around 2/3 of the way around C, he began to forge on his right side, which I thought was unusual, but showed no other worrisome signs so I decided to continue.

We rolled into the 10 minute box a minute and a half early, and Papa, Gina, and Bec immediately went to work on cooling him off. He came in quite warm but cooled off admirably quickly, and had stopped blowing pretty much altogether after 6 minutes. Papa took him off to jog for the vets, and heartbreakingly he turned up quite sore on his right front. They allowed us to jog him again on the gravel road, as the footing was quite uneven in the box; doing so made it quite obvious that something was bothering him on his right front. It was gut wrenching to see him like that, not only because it was obvious that I wouldn't be continuing with the competition, but that in 6 years of ownership of the dude, I had never seen him so uncomfortable looking. We took off his galloping boots and discovered that the lower of his two big splints (that he has had since he bought him as a 5 year old) had been rubbed raw through the boot, presumably when he slipped on steeplechase, and had become very warm and sore to the touch. This meant that the choice to withdraw was quite easy, though fortunately it seems likely that his injury is fairly cosmetic and could be totally gone even by this evening, fingers crossed.

So, it certainly wasn't the way I had imagined the morning going, but thankfully the time in the 10 minute box allowed us to identify his injury early and thus limit any possible damage. I am quite sad as this was my last competition with Dually before my dad takes over the ride, but couldn't be more pleased with the dude, both over this weekend and over the course of our entire six year partnership. I owe him a lot, and he owes me nothing at all.

The next steps will be, of course, to ensure Dually's comfort and well- being, and then to get him safely back to California before his big flight back to Massachusetts in a little over a week.

Photos from steeplechase:

1 comment:

Albigears said...

Hi,found your blog through facebook. I got up early yesterday just to get to the farm to watch the steeplechase- and it was totally worth it! You guys looked fabulous! It was the first time I'd seen the steeplechase live. Quite inspirational, got me thinking about my young TB event prospect... just maybe...!

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