Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ups and Downs

Exactly as Scheduled But.....

My vet appointment was set for 9:45 AM. At 9:50 AM, my vet pulled into the driveway. How he manages to be on time, I'll never know, but he almost always is.

However, as it turned out, Tucker an Toby were NOT due for their strangles vaccines. They had been given it with the spring shots. Seems there was some kind of computer glitch back at the office flagging the Boys as due. At least that explains why Chance was not on the list as due. I thought it was strange that he should have been vaccinated while the other two had not.

So, my wonderful vet made a trip out for nothing except to deliver my bag of Strongid 2X daily wormer. Of course I could have just as easily driven to his place to pick that up. Oh, well. We chatted for a bit and I met his summer intern and that was that.

Now that the cool of the morning was gone, I retired to the house to do nothing worthwhile for the bulk of the day. But at around 3 PM or so, the sun dipped behind some clouds and a breeze came up. I changed into my breeches and headed out.

Collected, as planned, the big horse first, put him on the crossties, looked down and...the new shoe he'd had put on yesterday was gone! This was on the foot that had had the abscess, so it was nothing to fool around with. I put him in the stall and came back into the house to call my farrier. (Now, mind you, Scott is laid up recovering from shoulder surgery, so the shoeing had been done by his replacement farrier who comes from way up north, so he's not readily available .)

I went back out, saddled up Toby and proceeded to comb the paddocks, ring, and pasture looking for the lost shoe. After nearly a futile hour, I decided that since I'd dressed Toby in the bug armor we could take a hack in the woods. That was one of the "ups" of the day as we had a lovely ride in the shady woods with only minor annoyances from the bugs.

Next, I saddled up Chance, with the bug armor and headed out. After just a little trot work in the arena, we hacked out into the woods. Chance was absolutely bouncing with enthusiasm. He was having a grand time. Another definite "up."

Back home, I fed the Boys and again headed into the house to find a message from my farrier. He would send his assistant to replace the shoe, if I could find it. I have a whole pile of "found" shoes in the barn, so I called him to tell him I'd had no luck. He told me to go back out on foot to look again, and he'd send Kyle over either tonight or tomorrow morning to try to put a shoe on. Kyle is not quite up to fitting a new shoe to Scott's specs but he is very capable of resets and trims.

I headed back out for an extensive foot search instead of going for the swim I'd planned and spent another hour dragging myself through paddocks and pasture. Then I heard some "clanking" in the barn and, sure enough, Kyle had arrived and was rummaging through the shoes to see which ones were for Tucker's right front foot. Scott marks them with a notch on the outside rim. In short order, Kyle found a shoe and set to work putting it on.

I THINK, perhaps, Scott's substitute did not roll the toes as much as Scott does and maybe, that's why Tucker pulled the shoe off. Of course it could be something else, but now, the replacement shoe is set the way Scott does it so it MAY stay on.

After Kyle left, I saddled Tucker up and took him into the arena for a short school. The breeze was still blowing, so I didn't worry too much about flies.

MISTAKE. We had a good ride, regardless. But once, at a halt, I bailed out because I thought I saw a B52 (gigunda horsefly) on the prowl. That turned out to be a false alarm. But, when I had finally really finished the ride and dismounted, I started to lead Tucker back to the barn and he started freaking out. This time it was a B52 and the darn thing had landed right behind the saddle, where even his bucking could not dislodge it. I couldn't risk trying to swat the darn thing because of his flailing hoofs, and eventually I had to dive for cover, dropping the reins.

Well, you already know where this is going. Tuck bucked in place a few more times and then took off, bucking completely unable to get rid of the fly. And, of course, he stepped on the reins and broke the crownpiece of his bridle. He finally settled down and came over to me with the fly still there. But I guess the worst of the bite was done. I swatted the thing and finally managed to kill it. I kept reassuring poor Tucker who really looked upset. I think he was worried that he'd been a bad boy. I took the broken bridle off, unsaddled him right there in the arena and then walked towards the barn. He followed me like a little meek puppy dog. Poor kid.

Fortunately, this time, I was already on the ground when the fly struck. But, I have learned my lesson. From now until the fly season is over, I will school in the bug armor. I know that keeps the B52's at bay, as it worked really well last year. I just didn't realize the big bugs were out yet this summer. They seem to come later in the season, so it's just about time for them. Nasty things and, as I've said before, they really hurt when they bite, so I can't blame the horses.

The sad thing is that the broken bridle is a Kieffer, so it's not a cheap one. I can't seem to find just crownpieces anywhere on the Internet. But there is a good tack store--near the US Equestrian Team--here in NJ that used to stock bridle parts. I will call them tomorrow to see if they have any in stock. Otherwise I probably can take a piece off some other bridle I have lying about somewhere. It's just a shame to have lost such a nice one.

On the other hand, better a bridle part being broken than me.


  1. What is "bug Armor"? a spray? a rug???

    It sounds like you have pretty nasty flies at your place. Ours are not so nasty.

    Plus we ALWAYS spray-ed the horses with anti-flies before riding!

    You were lucky you were on the ground!

  2. Two lovely rides spoiled by a nasty bug .... I felt so disappointed for you Jean. I am so glad that we do not have your heat or massive flies. Ordinary horseflies are enough. Thank goodness you spotted it and got off !


  3. I think Dover Saddlery sells bridle parts, though I don't think they are the Kieffer brand. I know the flies you mean! They are huge and they really bite!


  4. Sound like nasty little critters...I hate those ones that just hang on and hang on!
    When out hacking Polo years ago,and chatting on my mobile(ahem), he leapt up in the air as if he'd gone over a huge jump landed then continued on as I somehow did with my conversation.My friend was quite astonished and impressed could have only been a bite or sting.

    So annoying about the bridle but you were definitely better getting out of the way!