Oktoberfest Endurance

There was ice on my car at 5am Sunday when I woke up to feed the horses.  I am NOT ready for this kind of weather, please bring summer back!

The ride itself started at 7:30 and Bentley was slightly less bouncy than for the ride N tie, but he was certainly full of himself.  We started off and my frozen fingers were struggling to keep him together, even with the gloves they stung!  The group eventually spread out, and with the leader no longer in sight, I was able to loosen my grip on him and he settled into a good working trot although still quite zesty.

Despite the cold, it was a beautiful day, with the sun cascading through the treetops into the forest.  Loop 1 was the red loop which has a big downhill into the valley, then a long steep uphill.  Shortly after we turned the corner to go up the hill, WOAH!  A large tree had fallen over the trail.  After stopping for a moment to assess it, we decided we could get under it… just barely, and if we turned in just the right way.  It was one of the more creative trail elements we have come across, particularly given the steep hill and drop off to our right.  Getting through safely, and that was kind of fun!

We got through each of the loops with enthusiasm.  I was expecting him to pulse down a little faster than he did (he was pulsing down at his usual rate, but i was expecting faster due to the cold), but I think it had a lot to do with his new thick coat of hair (which appeared sometime between Thursday night and Saturday morning!), the deep sand, and moving at a faster pace than the last ride.  Our friend Laura was there crewing for us, and she did fabulously, always having his food ready for him and taking great care of him while I puttered around camp doing all those “need to do” things.

Somewhere around loop 2 or 3, we ended up riding near Bob too, and the 3 of us pretty much stayed within each others sights the rest of the ride.

Solstice took over my gopro for the last loop (red again) as we were hoping to catch video of the great fallen tree.  Sadly and happily, the tree had already been cleaned up!  Wow that is efficient.  Bentley was very keen through the loop and I allowed him to canter throughout.  He was thrilled he got to do his favorite thing!

The 3 of us came into the finish galloping for a racing finish.  It was thrilling and lots of fun.  Solstice won it by a nose, and Bob was right on our heels.  Despite the speed of the last loop, Bentley pulsed down in just about the same time as usual, wasn’t puffing, and looking bright and happy.

We put on the cooler, presented for our 10 minute CRI, and then chilled and cleaned him up for our BC vetting.  He was looking good except sweaty under the blanket, got all a’s with one picky B.  After the BC vetting, I decided to remove the blanket because of the sweat, and after a little while, we went over to dinner.

But something wasn’t right, as we watched from dinner, he was laying down in his paddock. Not unheard of, but not always normal for him either.  We wandered back over there to check him out.  He got up when I asked him, but was looking uncomfortable and wasn’t interested in treats – definitely not like him.  We checked his heartrate and gut sounds, all were ok.  He was pooping and drinking.  Maybe he was just really tired?  We took him for a walk, and he decided he wanted to lay down outside of his paddock.  Ok, time to get the vet!

Kathy gave him a full checkover and everything was good on paper, but although there were lots of gut sounds, she said they did sound gassy.  Likely a mild spasmodic colic from the change in temps.  She gave him a shot of banamaine and buscopan and within minutes he was looking perkier and searching out the best blades of grass to gobble down.  Within a half an hour he had taken an apple juice pee, and was looking perky again.   By the time he got home to a stall, he was mugging my pockets for treats and looking like he might just destroy anything within mouth’s reach of his stall.

I also came up the following day and he looked fantastic.  No soreness, no heat, lots of energy and bright eyes.  I gave him a long massage and he was quite keen to reciprocate and move around to show me what spots felt the best.

So despite the scare at the end, we had a fantastic ride.  I have a few puzzle pieces to work on over the winter to continually improve our performance.  And now we get some well earned vacation!

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