Thursday, May 1, 2008

The beginning of a bad year

Yesterday was a bad, bad day.

I arrived at the ranch for my lesson, cranky as hell. My trainer, Tina, had called my cell phone to tell me that my lesson needed to be finished by 3 p.m. because she had a dog client coming in. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that I turned my cell phone on as I got into my car to go to the ranch - at 1:45. I didn't want to hurry, and I wanted to get a good lesson, since I was planning to show Snoopy for the first time ever this Saturday.

So I raced to the ranch, then ran around trying to get Snoopy ready and ridden before 3. I lunged him in the roundpen for 10 minutes, which wasn't enough, but I got on him anyway. It took less than once around the arena for him to throw a tantrum, so I got off and we went back to the roundpen for more running.

Niki (the other trainer) joined me, and together, we kept him racing around.

And then it happened. His back end started moving "funny." Niki thought he had just tweaked a muscle, so we slowed him to a trot, then a walk. But he didn't trot or walk it off. He just kept limping.

Dr. Bridget Murphy, a friend of Tina's, came out and looked him over. She thought he needed x-rays, but optimistically told me that it might be a weird abcess.

Yeah, right.

Chino Valley Equine Hospital is just down the street from the ranch, so Tina loaded Snoop in the trailer and took him for x-rays. I joined them a few minutes later, just in time to go into the examination room and look at the x-rays.

"See this line?" the good doctor asked, pointing to a white line across a bone. "He broke his pastern."

"What do you do for that?" I asked, hoping the answer wasn't, shoot him.

The doctor took out a model of a horse's foot and explained how they would open the leg up and fuse the joints with metal plates. He probably said a lot more, but my mind got stuck on "fuse the joints."

The upshot is that Snoopy is currently in surgery, he'll be on lay-up for 6 months, and I don't have to worry about whether I ride in the show on Saturday.

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