Thursday, July 1, 2010

Riley runs me ragged

Since Riley tore his right hoof up two weeks ago, and since he has some weird hoof crud, I gave his trainer strict instructions:

  • Do not to work him hard.
  • Ride him only in the indoor ring.
  • Check shoes before and after each ride.
"Can I walk him around outside?" she asked? "Oh, NO," I replied, fighting back panic at the mere notion of that fragile hoof on uneven ground.  

Oh, what could possibly happen?
So,  on Wednesday night after work, I took Riley for a walk to the outdoor, where the best grass is.  He grazed a bit. It was hot, I was bored, and a lunge line was lying near the ring's edge. As a diversion, I put him on the end of the lunge. He trudged quietly along on a big circle for several minutes. The wind kicked up a little.  Riley lifted his nose in the air as if he smelled something, and stood stock-still. I didn't like the sudden tensing of his muscles. Wanting to get his attention, I tapped him with the whip. 

Maybe I should have held off on the little tap-tap...
He trotted a few steps, and suddenly he squealed, bucked farted and took off cantering. He's never gotten away from me but this was not playful bucking. He meant business. I held on for a half-circle but when he broke out of the circle  the lunge line tore through my hands. Did I mention our outdoor is not fenced in? He careened down the slope toward the barn, lunge line trailing.  No, Riley, no. I started running after him, but soon he was out of sight. Would I be calling the farrier, the vet, the knacker, or some wretched combination? If that line got snagged on something...

Riley's full tilt boogie
For about five minutes he galloped around the property, over blacktop, gravel, and grass, still trailing that lunge line past shrubs and trees. He almost ran out to the road, but thought the better of it and turned back.  He toured the place, but finally came to a stop at a run-in shed near the barn -- where the owners keep a mini and a goat. Four people -- me, two boarders, the barn manager, and one of the owners cornered him. He was heaving and sweating but looked fairly calm. I grabbed the line.

"Are you okay????"
He walked sound. All of his shoes were still on. He had no obvious injuries aside from superficial cuts on the inside of his right pastern. I wrapped cold gelpacks around his hooves with vet wrap (road founder!) and gave him two grams of bute. An hour later I took off the packs and turned him out for the night. Sometimes when the thing you fear happens, it's not so bad.

Note to the trainer:
Hi Denise,
It should be okay to ride him outside.


  1. Wow - what a wild escape he had! Hopefully your heart rate is back to normal now! (and his feet are still ok...)

    Kids... :-)

  2. Haha! I thought that looked like one of those "bucking fart" moments. Glad your boy is okay.

  3. Scary, I'm sure! Glad to know that he's going pretty sound in the great outdoors, though.

  4. Yikes! That would have been scary! I'm so glad he's ok though. Hopefully his hooves will stay ok.

  5. Does it make me a bad "friend" that I laughed a little (after I knew he was okay)? I had a gelding in college go for a jaunt, after he jumped out of the indoor. Bella has never tried it, but I bet she would go for a tour, too, if given half a chance!
    I loved the note to the trainer, very funny. I'm sure Riley will enjoy being outdoors, too.

  6. Oh my gosh I started feeling your panic while reading this! I'm so glad he's fine.

  7. Uh, oh! Been there, done that. But fortunately the area of the last lunge escape was all fenced in. Still the arena gate was open and off Tucker went into the pasture...Chance didn't get that far...and Toby...well actually, he hasn't done it in a long, long time. Always scary to see that line trailing along behind. *shiver*

    Glad it all seems to have worked out OK.

  8. Oh my gosh, just reading that gave me anxiety. So scary when they tear off with something dragging around their feet! What a relief that all ended okay though.

  9. Yup, been there, done that...I KNOW that moment of panic! My horse, in college, jumped out of the round-pen where she had been turned out, and ran 6 miles down the middle of a paved road. She had been in the pen because she had popped a splint - like you, I wasn't sure what I'd find when we connected again.
    I'm so glad your 'adventure' had a good ending.
    Great note to the trainer!

  10. Scary moments. We had a yearling jump the gate and bolt for the main road. Fortunately, it was rush hour and the cars where at a stand still. But she still ran in and out of traffic as we and commuters herded her back to the farm. Other than being soaked with sweat she was fine.

  11. Methinks Mr. Riley definitely had a statement to make (Er, in boldface type - ALL CAPS - italicized :o)
    Glad he's okay.

  12. And I, too, couldn't help but think,
    "Oh, gawd!" whilst reading this. So glad he is ok.

  13. Champagne bolted during a lunge session last fall, and snap, my ring finger broke from the lunge line. Champagne was all, "OMG, Run away! Run away!" until he was, "Oh, wait . . . grass!" and since he is all about food he just lowered his head and began to eat.

  14. I too had a total PTSD moment reading this.. once got to see a fellow boarder's young horse escape a lunge session, and we all helplessly watched him end up doing a horrible end-o when the trailing line wedged under a tractor tire... fortunately the smallish tractor gave a bit, so he just rolled out of it, and trotted haughtily over to some grass. He was a bit sore but OK! Very scary - I am so, so glad that you all came through the episode OK. Also very very grateful that you did not try to hang on, nor got your own feet tangled... ok, PTSD queen, calm down... OY! Again, glad all is well. Thanks for sharing, I hope it can help somebody else maybe?

  15. From now on, when I lunge outside it will be in a bridle, not a halter.

  16. Er... bridles don't help in this sort of situation... they just grab the bit and go!

    Glad you got him back safe and sound! We've had a couple of those over the years and they are ALWAYS scary!!! And the horse is having a great time! >.<


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.