Wednesday, July 11, 2018


It took me awhile to recover from the cold I had at the Wild West endurance ride. Major got to relax in his pasture, play in the trough, and do nothing.

About 10 days after the event I finally was up for a brief ride. That ended up being really brief! Tacking up Major all was fine, walking him out the road, same. Out into the forest we walked, then picked up a tiny trot. COUGH! Oh no, what was that. Hmmm, he doesn't ever do that. He was not otherwise bothered, we walked along, I asked for a trot again...COUGH!

I am unimpressed by the size of your puff ball

OK, back to the barn. A couple more coughs, but he was otherwise perfectly happy to be heading back already, (maybe even a bit too enthusiastic). I took his temp (normal), no discharge, damn. I could wait it out, but I have riding plans and a sick horse would just not do!

nervous Major at the vet

Off to the vet we went (it was 102 degrees and smokey, what fun!). As a diagnostic I had trotted him in hand the day before (a couple coughs) and the day of (no coughing, of course). The vet poked and prodded. We got to do the very sophisticated test with a plastic bag loosely on his nose to make him breathe a little harder. No bad lung sounds.

I was worried about a lingering infection, as I'm due to sweep ride the Tevis in a few weeks, and no way am I taking a sick horse. So I sprung for the whole blood workup, pricey but it never hurts to have a baseline (I kept telling myself). I got the news the next day that all looked good, no elevated levels indicating infection.

Could it have been the smoke in the air? I don't think so, as that had only recently started. His pasture/feed area is not dusty. I think he may have caught a little something at the ride (there has been something going around the area) and recovered. I'm relieved, both for his health and my plans.

A few days later I took him for a hike in the forest, trotted in hand, no coughing. Decided on a better test: trotting up the hill. But it is a steep hill, and no way can I run up it at a speed where Major will trot! So I broke all the rules: no helmet, no saddle, no bridle…and no pants (ok, I had shorts on), and hopped on bareback. He trotted up the hill happily, no coughing, yeah!

Don't try this at home (unless you want to try out for the new Teen Wolf)

Stayed on the ride him back down the hill and most of the way home. I learned a new valuable lesson: sweaty not-very-clean horse and shorts on a bareback ride do not mix. I looked like the wolfman on my legs. Lovely.

only prancing horses on the trails here

But Major was cough free. We're off on the trails again.

summer sunsets


  1. It wasn't the hair that killed me as a kid, it was the raw skin and horse sweat.

    1. I'm sure if I'd stayed on longer, that would have got me too!

  2. Ooops, I think blogger ate my comment.

    AWESOME. FWIW I'm probably going on a similar fruitless errand to the vet to (not) diagnose ML's heat issues. Could be a tumor. Probably just really hard/long heat cycles. But. We have riding plans!!!!!! So I feel you. So don't wanna spend the money on this right now...but sometimes you have to to be able to sleep at night right?

    1. Oh, I hope ML is Ok! Yes, peace of mind is good, just not for my wallet!