Monday, August 31, 2009

Almost a Tragedy!!!

On Sunday we went to the Dunes to ride with friends. Everything started out great -- we actually rode with them this time! We have met these friends out there before, but we never see each other on the trail...this is usually because John and I are late, and/or our horses are taking the trails at a faster pace. But these friends have Rocky Mountain horses which are also gaited, so we don't have the problem we usually have when riding with Quarter Horse friends. Another thing that made this ride so neat was that we had a trail dog with us! She was great! It has been a lot of years since we have had a trail dog along on ride....almost forgot how enjoyable it is.

A tornado came thru this area of the county a couple of weeks ago. We saw lots of uprooted and broken trees on the trail. The park employees must have spent a lot of hours clearing the trails. I took some photos -- I hope they are clear enough. I am not the best photographer.

On the trail our friends were in the lead, and John and I followed. At one point, we went on ahead to do a bit of loping/cantering. The trails in the Dunes have bridges over the little creeks and other perpetually wet areas. These bridges can be tricky -- they are in the shade most of the time, and develop a sort of mossy glaze on them. When we are moving thru the trails, we always slow down to a walk for the bridges. We were ahead of our friends at this point. Well, we came to the long bridge, and Divna took a few steps and almost lost her footing. About that time I saw Zora struggling to keep her footing -- she lost the battle and fell....
My heart was in my throat. I screamed to John "Are you alright??" and he said yes, he was...Then I said "What about Zora??" He answered, "I don't know....."
We were almost panicky. Zora has fallen many times -- she falls in the pasture when she and Divna are running and playing, she has fallen on the trail before, she slipped on the ice one time in the winter and fell . She always jumps right back up. This time she did not. She lay there on that bridge with two legs under her and two of her hooves off the side of the bridge. She didn't thrash around (Thank God!!), she didn't do anything. She just sat there looking at John. It was strange how small and vulnerable she looked. In my mind I imagined at least one broken leg and who knew what other kinds of injuries. I will never forget the look on John's face. We were both so scared.
I could not help him with her -- Divna kept getting in the way. I think she knew something was wrong. She is so attached to Zora. Our friends caught up to us a short time after the fall. I went back to see if one of them could help him get Zora up. Karen jumped off her horse and started to tie him off so she could help, and we heard John call out "She's up! I think she is OK." I cannot describe the relief I felt!!
By the time we all got to them, Zora was up and walking. Nothing was broken!! She was putting all four hooves on the ground, which we were so happy to see....
We got her home, I gave her some Bute and rubbed her down with linament. She seems fine, but we are going to continue to watch her. What a horrible experience!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Camping with "The Girls" at Potato Creek

The forecast for the weekend was cool and overcast -- here in Northwest Indiana the weather can be brutal in August -- 90 degrees and humidity to match. So we decided to take advantage of this unusual break and take the horses camping. It may be one of the last chances we have to ride before the heat takes hold again. Last minute plans -- John had to scramble on Friday to get everything ready to leave as early as possible on Saturday.
Potato Creek is only about an hour away from our house. It is a really nice state park -- the horse camping area is great. There are nice clean showers and bathrooms, and the trails are good. Some of our state parks do not have shower facilities for horse campers, which really sucks...but Potato Creek takes care of the horse people.
When we got there on Saturday we set up camp and then took a ride. It had been a while since we had been on the trails, and it was nice and cool, so The Girls were pretty excited and wanted to run. There were not many riders out there late Saturday afternoon, so we let them lope quite a bit. It was great, as usual. Even though the trails are not very long, we always manage to get lost there. The map doesn't do us much good, and the signs labeling the trails are confusing -- maybe it is just us....But we enjoyed it.
It rained a little on us when we were making dinner, but nothing too bad. Dinner was great -- grilled a lot of our own fresh veggies from our garden. What is it about camping that makes the simplest food taste so good???
On Sunday we rode again, and it was a much calmer ride. The Girls were tired from the ride the day before, and I am sure they did not sleep much. Good thing they were calmer, because the trails were much more crowded on Sunday. We talked to a lot of other horse people, and saw some beautiful horses. We even saw one with an eye problem -- we stopped and talked to them for quite a while. They had noticed Divna's eye patch, so we traded horse eye stories.
So for a last-minute planned trip, it turned out pretty good. It was nice to spend time with the horses. I even had the time to comb out all the tangles from manes and tails, which is something I rarely get to do. Just a nice weekend...... Take a look at this photo -- this is the leg and boot of someone who rode a horse, and has the dirt to prove it!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Horse Show - Beach Day - Big Egg

Wow! It has been a long time since I posted anything. It has been crazy lately...there must be something strange going on, because all of a sudden there are all these health problems with people I know, and there have been some passing on lately. Very bizarre that it is all happening at once -- members of my family, friends' parents, co-workers. Just really sad.

The Midwestern Saddle Club had a show on Saturday, and being members, John and I were there working. John was Ring Steward -- a job he has really grown into. I was manning the arena gate, and I made a few mistakes...but thankfully the judge was good natured and forgiving. I have learned a lot in this saddle club about what it takes to pull a horse show together. It is really a lot of work, and it is not as easy as it looks.

It was pretty hot on Saturday, and it was REALLY hot on Sunday. We do not like to ride when it is 90 degrees -- we feel it is too hard on the horses. So instead of riding on Sunday, we went to the beach. We live about 10 miles from Lake Michigan, and Michigan City has a fabulous waterfront park. I took a photo of our "symbol" of the southern tip of the lake -- the lighthouse at Michigan Ciy. We have not been there in a couple of years. It is interesting how your life goes thru stages -- I spent most of my pre-horse life going to the beach. I even rented an apartment about 1/2 block from Lake Michigan when I was single. But now I spend more time in barns. It was strange going to the beach again. I even crammed my 53 year old and 20 pound overweight body into a swimsuit (frightening). We even went in the water!! If you know anything about the Great Lakes, they are fresh water which equals cold. During a hot summer, the lake will warm up to tolerable by August, but this year we have not exactly had a warm summer, let alone hot. So the water was, let's say, refreshing. But we went in, and it did the trick!! Cooled us off immediately....

I posted last month about our chicken who had a health problem, most likely due to laying large eggs. Well, we got an egg last week that was the most enormous chicken egg I have ever seen. I hope this photo does it justice. You wouldn't believe this thing.....

Here is hoping for cooler temps and a chance to ride again soon!!!