My sister and I take our vacation days together so we can go riding. We have to pick our days weeks ahead of time because if the way her employer’s system works. It’s not like we can look at the forecast and pick the days with the best weather. Instead, we just guess.
Our vacations are notorious for having bad weather and high rivers. If we get a long weekend where we are able to ride as much as we like without being affected by the weather, it is rare.
Well, we planned a 3-day weekend, and the weather wasn’t the problem this time. The week before, we found out the park would be repaving the road that runs adjacent to the bridle trails. A few days after that, Dante started acting like he had a hoof abscess. Yes, it was vacation time.
It looked like Dante was brewing a rear heel abscess. He was reluctant to place weight on his heel and he was a little lame. We were doing the soaking routine, and nothing seemed to happen. Our farrier was scheduled to come out in less than a week, so if it wasn’t better by then, we would have him drain it.
Saturday, Dante’s hoof seemed better—so much better that he wasn’t showing any lameness at all! Could it have drains from a tiny hole, and we didn’t know about it? We led him around and turned him out to trot around.
They are only working on the street paving during the week, so there was no problem with going on a trail ride. We then took Ranger and Cole out for a ride up to the show ring area. It was a fun ride with a fair amount of trotting.
Sunday, we led Dante around outside on the hard and stony ground. He still didn’t show any signs of lameness.
Ranger can manage one longer ride at a time, but we don’t want to overdo it with him, so Cole and I left 20 minutes before Ellen and Ranger. We had a vigorous ride with a lot of trotting and cantering while Ellen had a slower and shorter ride with Ranger. I met them on the way back right at the spot where Ellen was planning to turn around, and we walked home together. She said Ranger was rather slow, but when she told him to “find Cole,” he started to neigh and went faster. (We used to play this game with Ranger and Cruiser, and they learned the find command back then. Starry knows it, too.)
Monday, our vacation day, was the day we made lemonade out of the lemons. Ranger earned a day off, so Kevin graciously offered us Starry.
Starry is a great horse in so many ways, but he has the misfortune of having a very, very uncomfortable trot. I have never ridden a worse one. You have to post, of course, but it is so bouncy and inconsistent that it is very tough to post. Once we got across the river, we started to trot, and the first words out of Ellen’s mouth were, “This is horrible.”
I just trotted happily along behind them. After a while, I suggested she try cantering, and she did. She found his canter much more comfortable than his trot. When we got to the spot that Cole loves to run, I took the lead and left them in the dust, as usual. Ellen cantered and trotted along at their own pace. I waited for them to catch up. I think she had fun.
We crossed the river and did a lot of walking because the trail conditions are horrible over there. When we got out to the street, we could see they had just sprayed the road with some sort of sealant. We didn’t want to step on it—not knowing what it was—but we were able to ride over to the intersection and go around it on the other road. Though neither horse has ever done that before, they both took it all in stride.
We then have a quarter mile of good trail, so Ellen took the lead with Starry and we began to trot. I don’t think she could manage the trot any longer due to muscle fatigue, so she asked him to canter. Cole just trotted behind. We made it to the end had headed home.
One the way home, we realized how lucky we were to pick our two best horses in traffic. By now, the paving was beginning. There were lots of large noisy equipment on the street—things that would have gotten Ranger all wound up and way more than Dante’s ever been exposed to. Dante might have been fine, but Ellen would have been so worried that it would have ruined her ride. Cole and Starry didn’t seem to notice.
All the loud noise did bother us, so we trotted to get away from the worst and then walked the rest of the way home. We were so happy we had the right horses for the ride.
Back to Dante. Ellen rode him in the arena and he seemed sound, but a little slow. She then took him outside and we walked the loop. We discovered he thinks wild turkeys are cool and wants to follow them.
When we got back, Ellen found that the abscess had busted out of his heel while she was riding him. Now, we just have to wait for him to heal his heal.