Old Poke Meets Mr. Smooth


Oh, what a long weekend we had.  It was 4 consecutive, sunny October days—perfect for riding.  Of course, we had our usual vacation disaster, but this time, it had nothing to do with the weather or a high river.  I will get to that, later.


Thursday, we had our plans, but they changed suddenly when Kevin invited his friend, Sarah, out to ride Starry.  She used to ride him all the time until she moved to Missouri.  She was here to visit her family and had a chance to visit Starry, too.  Kevin asked if we could all ride together and if he could ride Dante.  Of course, Ellen said yes.  Kevin has leant us Starry so many times, it was the least she could do to pay him back.  He had ridden Dante in the arena for a few minutes last winter, and he has always wanted to try him on the trail.  Now, a reminder—Starry’s trot is a killer.  You have to post it, and it is not very easy to do at that.  Dante’s trot is fantastic.  It is incredibly smooth no matter how fast he goes. 


Ellen was on Ranger, Sarah was on Starry and I was on Cole, of course.  With Ranger in the ride, it wouldn’t be fast.  We are respectful of his age.  Also, no one is allowed to pass him or he gets mad and tries to go faster than Ellen wants him to.  When we trotted, we would allow Ranger to get a head start, and we would try to stay back.  Kevin pretty much stayed in the back.  Cole knows the rule when we ride Ranger, so he didn’t have any trouble.  Starry is a different story, so Sarah had a tougher time.  At one point, we let a lot of space between Ranger, and we all got to canter a bit before we caught up.  It was a little chaotic, but everyone obediently stopped when we reached Ranger.


We walked all the way home, and that gave us plenty more time to trot.  Ranger may not trot as fast as he used to—and he was really fast—but he still has a super speedy walk.  I would look back at Kevin trotting to catch up and there was always a big smile on his face as he sat the trot.  Dante and Kevin were very happy with each other.


Everybody was perfect on the ride and all of us were smiling. 


Now, it is time for the disaster.  After we got back, we were just standing around, talking.  Dante has a weird habit of sticking his mouth through the opening of the bars on his stall where we pour the grain.  He rests his upper jaw over the metal covered wood of his stall wall—just behind his incisors.  We just ignore him when he does it.  Well, he was doing it and something happened and he got stuck and panicked.  We still aren’t sure what it was, though Ellen and I saw the whole thing.  I did see the board go forward and then he tried pulling back.  For a long 5 seconds, he struggled and there was nothing we could do—and then he was free.  That was a relief—until we saw the blood pouring out of his mouth.  It was awful!


Ellen looked in his mouth, but all we could see was blood, blood and more blood.  She got a syringe and filled it up with water and started rinsing it out.  It was hard to tell, but most of it seemed to come from his canine tooth on one side.  We didn’t know if he cut his gum or damaged the tooth.  He didn’t seem upset about it, and when his afternoon hay showed up, he didn’t have any trouble eating it.  It still kept bleeding and bleeding but not as profusely as before.  We decided that it could wait until the next day when the vet was scheduled to give them shots.


The next day, the vet said the tooth was fine, and it was just a cut on his gum.  It finally stopped bleeding, and it didn’t look bad at all.  The grain opening of his stall was altered to prevent it from happening again, and all was well in the world.

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