As I arrived at my parents’ house, I saw a man standing at the side door of the house, talking to my panicked looking brother. The NAPA Auto Parts guy found John standing on the yellow line at the bend in the road (YIKES!!!), contentedly chewing on a mouthful of grass and thought he should bring him home. John was 50 feet from the driveway, whey he just didn’t go home himself baffles me, but I sent the NAPA guy a thank you card.
I carefully checked John over – he seemed fine. I fixed my tack up – nothing was broken, just slightly askew, and headed back over the hill to do the trail ride correctly. It went fine. What I noticed that worried me was that John had not come through the gap in the stonewall, instead he had jumped the stone wall ten feet farther down and knocked some really large stones off the wall – four or five of them weighing at least 50 pounds each.
Two days later, on Thursday, John was lame. Really lame. My dad said he didn’t seem himself when he put him out in the morning. I tossed him on the lunge line to see what was going on. John was lame with a really swollen left hind fetlock and pastern. I cold hosed him twice a day and kept him in standing wraps the rest of the time. I kept him in the small square to keep his movement restricted and put him on bute. On Sunday, the swelling finally went down, but the damage was done. I had to scratch our entry from the Warren Tessier 30 mile competitive trail ride (September 24th in Hartland, Vermont). That was the hardest (and most fun) ride on our circuit last year and John’s tender leg would be no match for the 30 miles of tough trail that Tessier offers, not to mention the fact that he had bute and couldn’t compete with that in his system anyway.
Of course I was disappointed, but mostly frustrated with myself. This incident proved that the behavioral issues were not fixed and we still had a lot of work to do on learning “medium.” So back to the drawing board we went.