Thursday, April 4, 2019

what now

I'm starting to feel like "that" blog with too much drama. Sorry folks.

The short version: It was an uneventful ride…until it wasn’t and we almost slid down a cliff. And my horse was sound…until he wasn’t and now has mystery lameness.

umm, do we have to keep going?

convenient trees fell down the hill, not across the trail!

Do you actually want the details? Sigh, ok. Long version: Headed out for a long slow ride trying to accomplish 18 miles and/or four hours, whichever came first. Spring has truly sprung here in Northern California, and there was green grass and wildflowers and rushing water and the trails are lovely. The first four miles of trail had quite bit of mud, but then the trail becomes higher and made of decomposed granite and rocks, well draining.

honestly neon green

on our way to Auburn

There were a few runners, but I didn’t see any other horses or hikers until almost back home. We were just walking, going along a medium steep section, when Major's right back foot landed on the soft shoulder of the trail and slid off the edge. And down we started to go. It all happened so fast, I just threw the reins forward to give him his head, prepared to jump off, and he had already pulled  and lurched us back onto the trail. He seemed unconcerned. Me, not so much!

creek feeding into river

about this steep!

Looking downslope I think we only would have slid about 20 feet, but then how would we get back up? Thank you Major for being smart and athletic and saving our asses! We left about a six foot skid mark down the grassy dirt cliff, the amazingly wet winter has left some treacherous footing.

finally heading home

We went a bit further, to a safe spot and I dismounted to check Major over. He seemed fine, reaching for grass and trying to eat my granola bar, but we turned for home. This day has gone on long enough already. The pace was reasonable coming home, and I didn’t know if Major was actually behaving himself, tired after nine miles, or didn’t feel 100%. Second-guessing with horses is always so hard!

not following the sign: I'm walking not riding!

Back home he actually got hosed off for the first time this season, and happily rolled in the pasture and went to get alfalfa snack. I put stuff away and went to check on him about 20 minutes later, and he hobbled up to the gate, favoring his left hind.

No better word than: fuck (sorry delicate readers). Felt all over his legs and there was some swelling on his left hind but he wasn’t reactive in any particular area. He has had swelling on that leg the last 4 days, though not lame at a walk/hand trot, and I was giving him some Dr. Green time before any vet appointment.

Could we have avoided the cliff slide? Maybe if I was hyper-vigilant about where he is putting his feet, but I think it was just a wrong step on a 12-inch-wide rain-softened trail. But… (the second guessing continues…)

Then (cue dramatic music) yesterday I was cleaning his hoof and I saw a bit of pus/gooey section on his heel bulb…could an abscess be the source of his lameness? He was now definitely tender on that heel bulb, and had less swelling. Is it two injuries I'm dealing with, or just one thing? Time will tell. It is raining again, Major is doing nothing but standing around his pasture or under the shelter, so I see no harm in giving this a little while to play out.

good horse stays "tied" to my old subaru

I was having a little tantrum/pity party that I just want to ride my horse, so I took myself on a walk. And looked at the flowers and took a deep breath of some pollen-laden air and then came back and fed Major some treats. For him it was just another day. Something for me to remember too.

spring California poppy


  1. I haven't followed your blog for a while but stopped in and saw this post. Just wanted to let you know I'm so glad you didn't tumble down that slope, that would not have ended well! I hope your sweet Major is fine, maybe he just pulled a muscle, and that you're back riding on dry trails soon. Best wishes

    1. Welcome back to reading... sorry for all the drama. We ppreciate the good thoughts, thanks!

  2. A good day for a horse is absent of expectations, except maybe some grooming and treats. Although those trails are lovely and I understand your desire to ride. Hoping for a speedy recovery!

    1. Exactly. Major could care less about it all, it helps to remember that. And feed treats of course!

  3. Okay - so we're in parallel universes, minus the beautiful trail ride and extra scary sliding down the cliff part. Yikes!!!

    So Val has been resting his left hind on his toe for a while now - basically following the monsoon torrential rain season and in conjunction with a sole bruise/punctureish looking spot of mysterious origin. (Vet and farrier have seen him - no heat or swelling) He doesn't want to weight his heel AT ALL. I made the (same) mistake (I always make) halfway through the debacle, of buteing him for a bit. Also remembered that I had keratexed the tar out of his feet in advance of the monsoon to prevent an abscess... Now I'm animalintex + sugardine + diapering + duct tape bootying, trying to calculate how long to wait before the vet + blocking + xray option.

    In conclusion I am sincerely hoping both of our boys bust fat abscesses asap - like tomorrow preferably!

    1. Arghh! It’s the indecision... is it this or is it that? Serious or abscess or serious abscess? Thanks for sharing our frustration, Major and I say get well soon Val!

    2. Lol - getting ready to pull out the big gun - ichthammol...

  4. ACK!! And it was such a lovely ride prior to that moment. Yikes. So glad you're both okay and I really hope it turns out to just be an abscess and nothing greater!

    1. thanks, Ack for sure! It does look like it is the abscess route, but he's getting plenty of time off right now.