Monday 18 April 2016

Carrots & Cocktails II - Friday

This past weekend was my second show of the year (and Kachina's third ever show). Lots happened at the show so I'm going to break it down into a post per day.

The show was Carrots & Cocktails II, the second in a series of unrecognized dressage shows at a lovely facility in Calgary. We went to Carrots & Cocktails I last month (here and here).

I went to the show with my friend K and her mare. K just bought a new trailer and she was excited to try it out, so the plan was to use her truck and trailer and sleep in her truck-bed camper. (We tried her truck and camper last time, but her truck doesn't have enough power to pull my heavy trailer, she bought a much lighter aluminum trailer)

We both worked on Friday, but K really wanted to have one last ride at home before leaving for the show. We had arranged that I would go out to my barn right after work and pack up my stuff, K's husband would meet me at the barn with their truck and trailer at 4pm, I would load up my stuff and Kachina and drive to K's barn, at which point she would be done her ride and be ready to load up her mare and stuff.

It was a good plan, but you know how that goes...

I thought that I could leave a bit early from work and have time to give Kachina a quick bath before K's husband arrived. Unfortunately I was stuck late at work and didn't have time. Of course, our only good rain of the year so far happened the day before and Kachina was absolutely crusted with mud.

Not shined and show-ready

Time for Plan B: K's husband arrived early and we were able to load everything in record time, so I figured K would still be riding by the time we got to her barn, and I could give Kachina a quick bath there while we were waiting.

After we finished loading, he went to start the truck and it made some unpleasant noises. K's husband knows his trucks and figured that as long as we made a pit-stop to top up the oil, we should be okay. It's his truck and I'm not too familiar with diesels so I took his word for it. We started pulling down the driveway...

....and the truck started spewing thick smoke. Halfway down the long driveway, K's husband made the call "We better take your truck." We couldn't even turn the truck and trailer around, so I had to unload Kachina, walk her all the way back to the barn, grab my tank (it's a massive, dark army-green SUV, we call it the tank), unhook K's truck, hook up the tank, transfer everything from the truck and camper into my tank, walk back to grab Kachina, and bring her down the driveway to load up again. We did all of this with pretty impressive speed and efficiency but needless to say, we weren't ahead of schedule any more. Still, it's good the truck gave out in the driveway, rather than halfway down the highway! The show grounds don't have a wash rack so I resigned myself to going to another show without bathing.

We also had another problem, we didn't have anywhere to sleep. Our plan had been to sleep in the camper on the show grounds, but we didn't have the camper any more. If I had known we were going to use the tank, I could have removed the third row of seats and packed an air mattress to fit inside, but it was too late to do those things at this point.

Luckily, enroute to Calgary, we were able to call and book a hotel that was a decent rate and only 15 minutes from the show grounds. Having the hotel room ended up being nice; actual beds and an opportunity to shower were appreciated.

Hauling up to the show went smoothly for most of the way. I stopped for gas halfway there and we did a full check of the horses and trailer then, everything looked good. Later, close to our final destination, I was slowing down for a red light on the outskirts of the city and there was a big commotion in the back of the trailer. It only lasted about 30 seconds and then the movement and noise settled down again. Unfortunately, I was on a multi-lane road with lots of traffic so my only real choice was to continue on the remaining few kilometers to the show grounds. As soon as we got out, we could see both horse's heads through the window slits so everything seemed okay. Then we went to unload and found that the angle divider between the two horses was open!

Being a new trailer, we hadn't realized that there was an extra step required to lock the pins in place, the divider had seemed fully secure when we left, but we must have hit a bump in the right way to allow it to come loose. We figure that must have happened right before or during the commotion we heard. I feel so so lucky that the horses calmed down so quickly and that there wasn't a more major wreck.

Both horses hopped off the trailer and walked soundly into their stalls. I gave Kachina thorough check to make sure she was okay, and found two cuts on her left hind under the dirt. I grabbed a bucket of water and washed the area down to get a better look. There was a curved scrape on the side of her cannon bone, it was mostly just the hair taken off with a little bit of blood. There was also a small spot on her pastern, it seemed to be from where a previous scar had been torn off.

Sorry for crappy photo, but here's the cut

Thankfully, K's mare was completely fine, Based on the shape and location of Kachina's cuts, I'm guessing that Kachina swung her left hind out to the side when the divider opened, got into K's mare's space, and got stepped on.

The cuts themselves felt warm, but the overall leg seemed okay and there was no swelling. Kachina didn't show any signs of pain and didn't mind me poking it. After the area was clean, I applied some derma-gel and fervently hoped everything would stay good overnight (It did, she's fine).

By the time I had taken care of Kachina, unloaded gear, parked the trailer, unhooked the truck, driven to the hotel, and prepared for bed, it was after 11pm.

My last thought of the night was: "Hopefully we got all of the bad luck out of the way today and now the rest of the show will go smoothly!"


  1. That last sentence sounds so ominous. I'm glad you guys made it there and look forward to reading about the rest. Hopefully it all went smoothly.

    1. Haha, sorry, I didn't mean to sound ominous. That's literally what I said to K.

      My rides during the show were a combination of good and bad, but we did avoid any major mishaps for the rest of the weekend :) . I'm hoping to get the next post up tomorrow.

  2. What a stressful trip!! Glad you and the ponies made it there in one piece!