One morning nearly four years ago, as Travis dropped me off at work, I had the feeling I should tell him to be extra careful on the way to his own office. I brushed the feeling away and didn't say anything. Five minutes later, he called my cell phone to tell me he'd been in an accident.
Two years ago, on New Years Eve, I sensed something was going to go wrong with the horses. All evening, as Travis and I sipped wine and played Trivial Pursuit, I paced back and forth from kitchen table to window, though nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Finally, just before midnight, I looked out again to see a dark shape moving beyond the mare paddock. I grabbed our big flashlight and beamed it at the beast. It was Insider. He'd mysteriously escaped from his stallion pen and was wandering loose amid a minefield of freshly-dug postholes.
For several days now, I've fought back the inkling that something was going to interfere with my and Aaruba's plans for the Owyhee Fandango. Just nerves, I told myself. Nothing to worry about.
Well. Last night, I joined Aaruba in the round corral for twenty minutes of liberty work. He trotted out like his usual, eager self, all snort and whipping tail in the 30 mph winds that haven't let up for days.
When I halted him and walked to his side, I was horrified to discover a bloody patch on his offside, front heel bulb above the hairline. His hind cannons were spattered with blood. I hadn't seen a single misstep during his workout, but the angle of the cut indicated he'd caught his off heel with his near hind. This was most surprising, as he's never had an over-reach or interference problem before. The bleeding had all but stopped already, so I tied him to a post and ran to the house to collect Travis and some first aid supplies.
A long rinse with the hose loostened the dried blood and revealed a crescent-shaped slice into Aaruba's skin (just skin, thankfully!) above the coronet. It wasn't particularly tender and didn't seem to have any impact on his freedom of movement. We soaked the foot in epsom salts, disinfected the wound, then let Aaruba go have dinner while I went inside to dwell miserably on a host of questions:
Will we be able to ride in the Fandango? (Maybe.) Will his hoof boot irritate the wound? (Maybe.) Will it get infected or cause pain over the miles? (Maybe.) Should we pull? (Not yet.) Is it worth the fuel and effort to drive to the ride only to quit before we start? (I don't know, is it?) Should we risk our entry fee only to pull or be pulled? (Gah!) Could we do the ride barefoot if the boots are a problem? (Doubtful. Old ride photos indicate that some sections are rockier than I want to risk at this stage, though we do most of our conditioning barefoot.) Is there another ride nearby within the next two months? (No.)
Frustration and tears ensued.
This morning, I braved the the pre-dawn wind to soak Aaruba's foot again while he chowed down on beet pulp mash. It was too dark to tell for sure, but the wound didn't seem swollen or painful. Still no sign of lameness.
This evening, we'll boot his other front hoof and try to evaluate what effect an Easyboot Bare is likely to have on the injured heel. No rigid part of the boot should touch it, but the neoprene gaiter might be irritating. A protective coat of vetwrap might be just the ticket, but I worry about it causing rubs after it gets wet in the creek crossings.
So many questions. Here's another one: Why, oh why, can't I get a good premonition for a change?
Cross your fingers for us.