'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ft Worth = WOW

WOW, was that a trip or what? We left out last Tuesday afternoon Texas bound. Our plan was to drive right thru with 2 rest stops for Doc to offload, eat, drink and walk around. Estimated trip time 24 hrs. Well, things went well the entire trip and we rested 3 times and made Dallas-Fort Worth airport in 22 hours to pick up Emily. We then headed for the Stockyards area for some vacation time and boarded Doc at the livery inside the Stockyards District. This was really cool as he stalled beside the longhorns used for the daily cattle drive down Exchange St. He traveled well but did show dehydration from the trip. I picked up 2 tubes of electrolytes to mainline his system and this did pick things up quickly. On Thursday morning, after a good nights rest we had the opportunity to work in the arena located beside the livery for an hour for some relaxed exercise. Afterwards, and this was really cool,Medicine Man and I rode the entire length of Exchange St. For those not familiar with the area this is where for over 100 years cattle were brought in and either slaughtered or shipped out from all points south and west of Ft. Worth. A lot of history lies here.
This is one place where a horse really doesn't look out of place. I highly recommend this stop for anyone traveling with or without a horse. The afternoon was spent shopping and sightseeing and we moved Doc to the Will Rogers Complex later that evening. Folks, this is some complex. We were in the Moncrief Building. It contained 2 arenas, 1 for practice out by the stalls and the other a very large air conditioned arena with seating for 6000. The stall area would hold over 200 horses, each with a 10x10 stall. What a nice place.
After we settled Doc and I had scheduled a practice session for 6pm so off we went. He was very relaxed in the large arena and negotiated all the obstacles set up with no problem. He never got out of hand, (lots did) and moved as requested. I was very impressed with his manners and discipline during this new adventure. Practice sessions lasted only 20 minutes so back to the stall, feed, hay and a good night rest was in order. Friday would consist of 2 scheduled practices,
a conditioning evaluation by the Vets and a trainer meeting at noon. The first practice was a blur as Doc decided he didn't want pay attention. Not unruly just very energetic. I guess the 2 tubes of electrolytes did the trick. I knew his conditioning score was going to suffer due to his illness so we had really been giving him the chow. We took him before the Vets just before lunch for his condition score and made out a little better than expected. With a range of 1-40 with 20 being optimum he scored 16. The top score was 19.5. His only down fall was his weight. Feet and hair coat were great! From looking at the other scores he was in the middle. Just think had he not gotten sick. He was perfect for what they were looking for.
The Trainer's meeting was very informative with a couple guest speakers, first was Cody Christian, a motivational speaker suffering from cancer. His word really gave a lift to the crowd. The second speaker was none other than the 2007 Road to the Horse winner, yes, Chris Cox. This was another great surprise. The meeting finished up with a brief description of the 2 courses laying ahead by the judges . Their emphasis to us at the time was they understood what we were dealing with and for us not to get to caught up in the small stuff. (Boy, was that an overstatement). Back for 1 last practice that evening and then Saturday...
The in hand portion began at 8:00AM on Saturday with me drawing 33rd. I watched several trainers and horses go through and was impressed with the control shown. This really gave me the jitters so I dismissed myself back to Doc's stall. Our time came around about 9:30 and I'm sure he felt my trembles in his lead.
The course led off crossing 6 poles, forward thought an L formation stopping at the end and backing back through the L not touching any pole. A right 270 degree turn, stop, and lead off at a trot for 30 feet, sudden stop at the cone. Drop the lead, pick up all 4 feet. Next a left turn and around and across 2 poles in a right angle from far to near going around a plant sitting in the apex. Then a white stock trailer, in, around, and out finishing with an in-hand trot around 5 cones starting from right to left in a W formation and out the gate. Folks, I had never been so proud of 1 horse as I was of Medicine Man. No hesitation at no time, a perfect back through the L. Yielded all 4 feet without moving and picked up the trot every time I asked. The only fault I knew of was he ticked the first pole starting off. Not enough to move it but I did hear it. Scores were posted at lunch with Doc finishing 15 of 91. A great showing for Doc. (The video should be posted this evening)
Next came under saddle. A bit more complex course so I tried to watch as others took on the task. This confused me some so back to the stall and wait until my turn. My draw was 39th. I hadn't paid much attention to the other scores but I should had. This was going to be my Waterloo. The course started out leading Doc in, then with a left lead lope around the right side of the arena, along the judges setting in chairs inside the arena and stopping at a cone on at the end. Left in place turn, lope off on right lead back by the judges, around the end, back up the other side, figure eight with a lead change and ending up at the far end from the start. Stop at the cone, or so I thought, turn left, trot into an 8x8 box for 2 right in place turns, 2 in place left turns, trot out, turn right through 3 panels set in a W formation and continue to a platform. Walk across and trot through 4 poles with the last making another L formation. Back back through the L without touching, roll right and exit the arena. Well, I again was quite proud of the little man. He did break stride when we passed the judges but picked back up immediately and had a little rough stop at the cone passing it slightly. My fault, not his, I wasn't ready for the cone. His turn was good and he loped off and completed the figure 8 with a lead change. I over reined him in the box causing him to back out of the box slightly half way through, again my fault. After that we had 0 errors completing the course not touching any pole. A good trot through the W Panels, No hesitation on the platform, perfect back thru the L and off we went. My score? A big fat 0. Don't know why I was disqualified but am in search of the answer. When they posted the judges scores the crowd was such as I was going back an look into it. Later they had already taken down the scores. I hope to get the answer after the staff gets back in the office later this week.
All in all the course was good but over 50% of the trainers were disqualified from each event. In conversation with the staff I feel this will be rectified for next year with a better understanding of course requirements. More to come of the Finals and Auction!

Is Ft. Worth Ready for Medicine Man?

Trotting through the cones

Backing through the "L"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are we ready yet?

As we work daily to prepare for Ft Worth we're having those last days jitters. Medicine Man has been a champ as each morning and evening are filled with the same old practice, practice, practice. His strength has returned from the sickness but his energy level is somewhat down. I've switched to XTN by Nutrena to bring his weight back up and also have him on an iron supplement daily. This has made a noticeable difference in his weight just in 10 days. Monday I started adding electrolytes to his feed and water to insure hydration for the upcoming trip and new environment. His feet are doing well with just a slight tenderness on driveway rocks but on smooth ground, grass or the arena there's no problem. Roll-backs and spins were going to be the hole card for event but his energy just won't make it happen. His stops are great, turns and backups are perfect for the trail. I guess we'll have to see what awaits us at Ft Worth. Our plans are to leave out on Tuesday, arrive Wednesday and practice Thursday and Friday. The show begins promptly at 8 on Saturday Morning. Will Keep you updated as the week progresses.
I did want to make mention also that several friends, driven by Helena had a send off last Saturday for Medicine Man and myself. This was a real hoe-down with over four hundred dollars raised to assist us in the trip. Thanks Helena and Dean, Vickie, George, Shorty, Diane and all my current and new friends.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Great News!

Got some spectacular news from the vet this morning. There is little, if any, rotation of the coffin bone in Medicine Man's feet. Vet prognosis- Get ready for Texas! That's right folks...Doc is headin' to Texas! He is, however, slightly anemic due to his bout last week. The vet said this should be temporary and the iron level will pick right back up again with simple mineral supplements. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, September 7, 2007

The strength of the Mustang

The visit from Dr. Kirkman went well this morning. Doc's improvements are just phenomenal for this type of injury. His exam showed no issues or concerns. We did take radiographs of all four feet to 1, show any P3 movement, and 2, to give us a point of reference in the event of later problems. The results should be back by Saturday morning. His gate showed little tenderness unless we walked on the gravel. On request he trotted around the pasture by lead with no lameness. Vet recommendation...Resume training!
George dropped by this evening and placed pads on both front feet and filled the voids with a epoxy jell to help on the tenderness as he mends. This resulted in a noticeable difference as soon as he completed the job! Thanks George for you concern and help in bringing Doc back to 100%.
Again, I can't thank my friends and readers for their support and prayers enough as we "come out of the woods" with this illness.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The power of natural healing

Just a quick update from last weeks bout with cucklebur's in Medicine Man's feed. After the close attention from the Vet, myself, and many friends Medicine Man started showing improvement on Saturday. Helena's constant concern for Doc is really showing her true feeling about this young horse. His feet were still really sore but he moved around the pasture at will to eat and would follow the feed scoop for a meal. Sunday I moved him into a stall with 6" of sawdust that proved to be welcomed by Doc. George Terrell, a wonderful farrier in the area that works extensively with problem horses came by and put foam pads on his front feet. Another welcomed move. With these 2 steps Doc was showing improvement daily. His system seems to have purged all the toxins from the feed and now the feet are on the mend. I haven't made the call regarding Ft Worth. The vet is coming out Friday Morning for radiographs. This should give us an indication as to his recovery period. Today he is without pads and walked throughout the paddock with no noticeable pain and movement left, right, fwd and backward was on demand with no hesitation. What can we say but he's a MUSTANG. A born survivor!
I'll update the results after lunch on Friday.