September 27 2016
Dudley travelled to Utah for the first time for an endurance ride, he rode on an island for the first time, he finished the AERC National Championship 50 miler for the first time, he rode with buffalo for the first time, and he got his stomach pumped for the first time!
Wait - what?
I rode The Dude in the AERC National Championship 50 on Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake. We finished next to last, but that's not the point. The point was, we rode nonchalantly amongst the buffalo on the island, and, since I'd convinced (well, almost convinced) Dudley that they were just Big Fat Hairy Cows, he had pretty much no problems with them.
He Stink-Eyed some of them away from a water trough that we wanted to drink from.
We had to pass through a herd on the trail, and he just stink-eyed his way though them, even though buffalo sound exactly like Khaleesi's dragons on Game of Thrones, with breathy fire-breathing gurgling rumbling coming out of their buffalo throats. If you don't watch Game of Thrones, this is what dragons sound like (around 0:56 to 1:02).
The only time he got a little scared was when a big bull laying near the trail lifted up his hind foot to scratch his head. That did not look like a normal cow, and Dudley scooted waaaaay wide off the trail.
We rode with our new best friends, Simone Mauhl and Boogey. The boys got along great together.
Dudley felt great after the ride… felt better every day in fact. And except for some hand-walking around camp several times a day, he was stuck in his pen at the trailer… feeling better and better every day. I was reporting on the event, so didn't have time to ride him around any more.
So, what happens by Saturday afternoon, right about the time that the front-running 100-mile riders are coming into camp for the finish? I see the back horse trailer door wide open. I see Dudley's head down, and he doesn't hear me and pop his head up to look at me when I call to him, like he'd been doing all weekend.
UH-OH, oh $hit.
Dudley had finally figured out how to open the back trailer door, where the grain was stored, and he got into 2 bags of senior and oats. Well, I freaked out. I cussed worser than the worst cussing sailor or pirate in the history of maritime cussing.
I had no idea how much of the grain he ate; I only knew that Dudley is prone to laminitis, and he has foundered before. Ohhhhh, I panicked and howled and beat my breast and moaned and cursed and cussed some more. Dudley knew he was in big trouble.
I was afraid he might colic or his feet would be destroyed. Neighbor Cindy suggested activated charcoal, which she has treated her naughty pig of a horse before, when he got into grain. It can be used to treat toxic ingestions and as a form of gastrointestinal decontamination.
I found Kathy Backus, Dudley's favorite sweet new vet. (Sadly, she'd been pulled on the 100 mile ride - sad for her, but lucky for me and Dude!). Kathy soothed my panic, sure, she had activated charcoal and she'd bring it right over.
Dudley thought this nice, happy, fun, laughing vet was so sweet, but - wait, what was she doing, putting this syringe of nasty black crap down his throat!?!? Ooooh, it was so horrid, but the vet was so nice and happy and competent, he just kept swallowing it and wrinkling his nose, and she finished and petted him and laughed and left, and I told Dudley, "Well? THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!"
I still don't know how much grain he ate, but I do know that he did not founder, and I do know that I learned a big lesson that I already should have known, with Dudley around - ALWAYS LOCK THE DOOR TO THE GRAIN.
Dudley pouted and wouldn't look at me the rest of the evening. I took him out on a long moonlight walk that night, and he seemed fine.
In the end, he was fine. He must not have ingested enough grain to cause damage, though to him, I'm sure the icky treatment was worth whatever grain he got!
It was a good ending to a most excellent Championship adventure.
You can see more photos from the National Championship rides, including more buffalo, and more lovely scenery, and read a few more stories at