Oct 14, 2012

Matters of the Heart (Pt. 3)


The volunteer who had listened to Windy’s heart beat was a seasoned open CTR rider whose horse is recovering from Pigeon Fever.  I knew if she heard something weird, there was something weird.  She summoned over another volunteer who had opted out of riding that morning and who happened to be a vet. 


“Irregular arrhythmia,”  she said.  Windy’s heart was putting in an extra “thump” here and there.  I listened to it and could definitely hear it.  She said to let her pulse down and we’d listen again in 10 minutes.  It was rather disconcerting waiting for the next reading and it was still there when she was rechecked.   


At a P & R stop, riders are held if their heart rate or respirations are over a certain number.  For this ride, you could continue if the heart rate was at or lower than a 15 (and would probably lose some points).  If it was 16 or over, you had to hold another 10 minutes.  While Windy was at 15 and could have continued, I wasn’t comfortable with the irregular heartbeat.  The volunteer vet suggested I speak with the ride vet who was checking metabolics on the horses leaving the P & R stop. 


The ride vet checked her vitals and listened to her heart.  The arrhythmia was still present and she still hadn’t pulsed down.  She said her gut sounds were a little gassy but everything else looked okay.  They would not pull her; the choice was up to me if I chose to continue.


The drive to this ride is 250 miles round trip at $3.65 a gallon for fuel.  I paid my vet for a new health certificate and my farrier to clean up her feet.  I bought a membership to NATRC so if Windy did place, she would get the points and I paid an $85 entry fee.  I just rode one of the roughest 3 miles I ever recall riding and kept the horse underneath me.  I did not have an opportunity to Google or phone a friend for advice but I didn’t need to.  In the end, Windy is always first.  It was a no brainer.  After 3.3 miles, I pulled from the competition.  (To be continued.)



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