But much to my dismay, he showed signs of lameness at the vet check. We did our initial check-in on Friday night, and he was slightly off in the right front. It wasn't very bad, but he had a subtle shortness to his stride. When I trotted him out at the check area there was a patch of gravel that we trotted over, so I asked Dr. Jen if she could wait until we got our boots on to try it again. I usually always present my horses barefoot at the initial check ins, so the vets can see their hooves in full view. Most of the vets like to pick up the horses feet and check their soles and frogs, so it makes sense to leave the boots off until after the initial check is over with.
I hadn't noticed the lameness at our house, because our ground is flat and he didn't show any signs of being gimpy over the flat surface, but the Skull Hollow campsite area has a definite incline - so the signs did show going up hill. We have been conditioning on all sorts of terrain with some boggy areas up in the mountains from the snowpack melting off, so I chaulked it up to being too much "sinky" slippery footing for him to handle. I'm going to start therapy treatments immediately on his right leg and hopefully get him back into good shape by the time the Klikitat ride rolls around in 3 weeks.
I was bummed out about not being able to ride, but I guess that this is what the veteran endurance riders would call a "temperance" situation. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, and this ride just wasn't in the cards for us. I'm really glad that the issue showed up right away, and we didn't start out and get stuck halfway in the middle of nowhere with a seriously lame horse. I'm not the first endurance rider to experience this problem, and definitely won't be the last. We'll always have the next ride to look forward to.
And we drove a few miles further to Bend and tried out a new piece of equipment that Craig is thinking about purchasing. We also visited a few of the small ghost town types of places on the way back home, which was kind-of fun.