So the day dawned just perfect. Sunshine, light breeze, warm but not hot. Perfect riding weather.
We had a leisurely breakfast and morning meeting and everybody took their time getting ready for the day’s ride. We rode out at 10:30, heading into beautiful Vermilion Provincial Park. (Yes, Rosie and I sent too.) The scenery in there is magnificent. Tall bluffs overlooking what I think would be the Vermilion River. Deer crossing the trail in front of us. Steep hills to climb and to go down, but the trail had all but dried out, so we were okay. (And my Rosie is wearing borium on her shoes, so it was like she was wearing cleats. She did not slip once.)
About an hour and a half in, disaster struck. We have a wonderful older fellow named Ove (pronounced like the beer — OV) riding with us for two days. This was his second day. He told us later that he’d noticed his horse was a little off his feed and water before they left home in Provost, and that he hadn’t been either eating or drinking in the morning today. Beautiful pinto horse. Wonderful temperament. Great conformation. A real head turner. There we were, having just crossed a little water, and down OV’s horse went! And I mean down! Couldn’t/wouldn’t get up … Ove stuck under him!
We managed to get OV out and the saddle off the horse, but couldn’t get him up. Slapping, whacking, whipping — nothing worked. So our 47 year old single cowboy put his rope around the horse’s neck, dallied him to the horn and started to haul! That got the pinto moving.
Once we had him up, Ove was saying he had started kicking at his belly just before he went down, so we all knew what we were looking at. Colic! ACK!
I probably haven’t mentioned our young ladies yet. Carly Carrier and Maddison Dewane are with us as Longriders. They got off their horses and offered to walk the pinto back to the trail head. Off they went with Earl Grey in tow, in case the pinto went down again. (Yes, that is really his name!)
Most of the other riders went on ahead down the trail. Our fabulous guide, Doug Stewart, Ove (on Earl’s horse) and I turned back to make sure all was well with Ove’s horse. We phoned ahead and Rusty met us. We loaded horses and headed for the vet’s office, where it was ascertained that, yes, it was colic, but mild. The vet administered pain killers and muscle relaxants and we brought Ove’s horse back to camp.
Phew! Don’t need any more of that kind of excitement!
At this writing, the riders who went ahead have just come into camp. It’s 6:00pm. They are a happy and tired bunch of campers!
So once again, all’s well that ends well.
Happy trails from Vermilion.