However, in hind sight, The Powers That Be kept telling me that I probably shouldn't go. Let me 'splain...
Saturday, I took Saga to a jumping lesson to try out a new jumping saddle that I have on demo. I had been feeling rather under the weather on Friday, but after a day and a half of rest felt much, much better. So, off we went to the lesson... and then my trailer brakes locked up. HARD. And would not let go, even with my foot entirely off the brakes. Fortunately I was going fairly slowly at the time so nothing broke and Saga wasn't too jostled, but I ended up unplugging my brakes so I could make forward progress. Fortunately we didn't have far to go, but it's unnerving to drive without brakes, brake lights, or a turn signal.
So at the lesson, I hopped on and it was pretty apparent that Saga was Not Quite Right. I put his Easyboots on, and still he was short - not lame, just kinda funny. I switched out to my dressage saddle, since he was doing the hopping-at-the-trot thing that he used to do when the saddle bothered him, but that didn't fix it either. So I packed him up and headed home. (BTW, I loooove the saddle, but I don't know if it's actually going to work for us. Gotta wait till Saga is better so I can try it out, you know, jumping?)
With Saga out of commission, I decided to take Red hunting, and Fuzzypony had planned to take Taran, so we agreed to take the two of them in her brand-new trailer. We loaded up at 6 a.m. on Sunday and pulled out of the driveway, and when I closed the gate I noticed that she had no running lights. Did I mention this is her brand-new, first-time-being-used trailer? We tried wiggling the plug around but nothing helped, so we decided since we had brakes and turn signal, we'd go anyway.
my trailer... which was at home. Nobody else had anything either, except an old, sticky roll of vetwrap. I wrapped my elbow to stop the bleeding, took three ibuprofen, finished tacking Red and hopped on.
Here's why you shouldn't use old vetwrap - when you peel it off, it sticks like a giant band-aid. YEEEEOWCH!!!
The hunt itself was great - we had three Tally Ho's (although I didn't see the coyote) and most of first flight had a lovely chase. I joined up with a first flight rider who was guarding the eastern property line, since the lady leading second flight was going Way. Too. Slow. Red was a little fireball and very antsy to start with, but he calmed down for the most part after we got a good run in. We did have one lady come off and we helped catch and return her horse to her, but both she and the horse were fine. I did learn that one shouldn't use Easyboots on the hunt - Red lost both of his within the first 20 minutes (there goes $120 down the drain) but fortunately never took a misstep, and the ground was very forgiving.
After returning to the trailers and untacking, I was offering Red water when I noticed that his flank was twitching. Having just read about a horse tying up on another blog, I knew exactly what was happening. I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, Googled "tying up," (I know, we live in the mobile device age, what can I say?) and was reading up on what to do when one of the first flight riders came and introduced herself as a vet. Apparently the key to preventing a major tie-up is getting the muscles to relax, since they are essentially firing without stopping. We managed to find some Ace and she gave him 1.5 CCs IV, then another .5 CCs subcutaneously for longer action. Within two or three minutes, Red had stopped twitching and was looking much more comfortable. She suggested that we follow her back to the farm, where she had some Methacarbomol, which is a much longer-acting muscle relaxer. She gave him 10 CCs IV and drew up another syringe to take home, just in case. Fortunately, Red's muscles never got hard and he never had difficulty walking, so we either caught it early or it was a minor episode, or both. I feel very lucky!
The trip home was also uneventful - Fuzzypony dropped me and Red off, then took Taran and her rig up to the barn where she boards, about 40 minutes northwest of our house. I put stuff away, fed the boys and all the other farm critters, and was juuuust about to step in the shower when Fuzzypony called to say that Taran was tying up. Argh! Of course, the extra syringe of Methacarbomol was with me, so I hopped in the car and drove up to her place to deliver it. A quick injection and the muscle spasms went away within minutes, and Taran relaxed. He seems fine now, so apparently it was also a mild tie-up.
Of course the question is, why would two horses (one of whom is at least reasonably fit) boarded at different places in different situations both tie up? My best guess is that because neither of them get much grain (both get about 1 cup 2x per day, although the grain they get is different), they are both Selenium and Vitamin E deficient. That's a known cause of tying up. Another thing is that Red tends to get very, very excited hunting, and this weekend's hunt was no exception. He did a lot of head-flipping, despite being ridden on a soft rein, and spent some time at the beginning doing a nervous Missouri Foxtrot. Horses being over-excited or working harder than they are fit for also seems to be a cause of tying up. Maybe he needs a little B-calm or something just before the ride?
The upshot of all this is that I will be doing some research on a feed for Red that provides him with the vitamins and minerals he needs, without the fat, sugar, and starch he doesn't need. He also now has a Selenium/Vitamin E supplement. I'm considering loading both horses with paste electrolytes before and after each hunt, just in case. I've gotten a new mineral block that's got more to it than just salt, and am looking at other alternatives. It's funny - I've ridden for almost 25 years, owned horses for more than 15, and I've NEVER worried so much about what they're eating as I do now that they're home. Bizarre.
And I have to say, next time my horse is off, my trailer brakes don't work, and my friend's trailer isn't right... I think I'll take the hint, stay home, and go for a trail ride.