Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Not Finishing Tevis, 2016

Pre-ride vet check and trot out.

I wrote this on my Facebook page the day after not finishing Tevis on Saturday, 7/23/16:

"Our long 100 mile trail ride (Tevis Cup) ended earlier than planned yesterday. Rio tyed up 6 miles into the ride. Very, very stressful for the both of us. Luckily, 1) we only had 1 mile to go to hwy 89 where a vet and horse transport was vs. being 5+ miles out in the middle of this beautiful, challenging trail. 2) Since it happened early, his hydration was good vs. tying up AND being dehydrated. 3) I have an even deeper appreciation for the Tevis volunteers. They are there to support all of us riders, whether we finish or not. Rio and I have finished strong 3 times. Not finished twice now. This was Rio's first metabolic pull in our endurance career. I do not care that I did not finish. I am so grateful that my horse is ok."

We arrived on Thursday, 7/21, and we were able to park in our preferred cul-de-sac at Robie Park near South Lake Tahoe.  We normally take our dog, Hana, and now our cat, Jack, with us on all of our endurance races, except Tevis.  This year our pet sitter could not do it at the last minute, so we took Hana and Jack with us.  Lake Tahoe was beautiful on our way to Robie Park.  I would of stopped to go swimming if it was not so busy and we weren't hauling a horse.


Friday at Robie Park was relaxing.  Lots of hand walking with Rio, visiting with endurance friends, getting organized for Saturday's ride, vetting in, etc.  My new crew person, Margaret,  showed up around 4ish.  After the ride meeting, she drove to Auburn as planned.  I had reserved a hotel for her to stay at Friday and Saturday.
Saturday morning started out as usual.  This was our 5th Tevis start.  Prior to 2016, we finished strong 3 times, and we were pulled once at Red Star for lameness.  That pull was not stressful for us.  Rio was not in pain.  Anyways, we started out this year in pen 1, which we had qualified for this year.  It was not my intention to race, so we started out close to the back of pen 1 when the controlled walk began at 4:55 a.m.  All was good and then when we arrived at the ride start and moved out, Rio was 100%.  About 5 miles into the ride, Rio felt "off" to me.  After slowing down and letting others pass us, I knew that was it for us and that we would be done at the hwy 89 crossing, where a vet and trailer were if needed.  I also knew that Rio was "off" because his normal forward impulsion was not there.  We went along the trail for another mile or so once I noticed that Rio was not right, but at a slower pace.  At one point, when I pulled over to let others pass us, Rio locked up.  He was not "off".  He had tyed up.  I was an emotional wreck with my horse being in pain; however, I got it together to be strong for my horse.  I took off his tack and put his saddle pad over his rump.  Every single Tevis rider asked if we were ok.  At first, I was crying and answering "no, my horse has tyed up and can't move.  Please let the vet know at the hwy crossing that we will need transport".  Once my meltdown was over, I said the same things to the passing riders without crying.

Rio has tyed up before, but not for a few years.  I now take banamine paste with me on all my rides in case he needs it.  I had it with me, and I gave him a dose shortly after he locked up.  He still could not move.  We were there for approx. 40 minutes after all of the Tevis riders had gone by.  Thankfully, the sweep riders arrived.  At the same time, someone arrived to help from the hwy 89 crossing.  Jenn.  Not sure of her last name.  They were all so incredible.  The sweep riders were compassionate and professional as they called into headquarters.  Jenn ran up the trail and met us with a huge dog blanket to help cover Rio's rump.  She is not even an official Tevis volunteer.  She took over calming my horse and I.  She put the dog blanket on Rio and talked to him and touched him in such a calming way.  She gave me her jacket to wear.  With her help, we got Rio moving down the trail.  The awesome sweep riders followed us down with Rio's tack.  Once Rio got moving, he walked at his normal fast pace, but with much stiffness.  Within 10 minutes or so, we were at the hwy 89 crossing with a few amazing volunteers along with the vet, Rob Lydon, and the horse transporters, Sage and Matt. 

Since Rio had tyed up, he needed fluids.  At each vet check, starting at Red Star, treatment (fluids + as needed) are available along with vets to give the treatment.  Since this incident happened so early on, there were no vets available at where Rio could of been trailered to.  Instead, we were trailered to Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center, about 20 minutes from the Auburn Fairgrounds.  This turned out to be the best choice.  I have great horse insurance with C. Jarvis, so besides giving him fluids, I had them do extra things to help determine why this happened. I could of taken him back to his reserved Auburn Fairgrounds paddock that evening, but instead I decided to keep him in his air conditioned stall for the night.

Oh my gosh! Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center is an exceptional facility with likewise staff with 24/7 care.  We got to know the place well.  When we first arrived, Peter and our grr animals had arrived first and already checked us in.  We stayed for 3+ hours until I felt that Rio was stable and comfortable.  My wonderful crew person, Margaret, went back home after helping me a few hours later.  Peter and I stayed at the hotel room that I had reserved for her for Saturday.  No extra charge for animals, which was nice, since we had 2. 

We went to the Auburn Fairgrounds around 9 p.m. and watched the exceptional top 10 horse and rider teams finish as well as visit with friends.  The next morning we picked up Rio and headed home. 

So, Tevis was short for us this year, but that is just the way it goes sometimes.  I am considering not attempting it again on Rio.  We have had the good fortune of finishing well 3 times.  Next year I will still be there though, either crewing or volunteering. 

Happy trails everyone!

Photo at the pre-ride vet check.
With Peter and Hana photo bombers.