Yeah yeah yeah. I’m finally getting around to a real post, and continuing my series. You know, things like VET SCHOOL seem to get in the way with mundane things like….posting anything at all relevant to the actual stated subject of the blog…..
But first…..some updates.
Farley is in week 4 of her rehab. The medications are done, the wrapping is finished, and now she’s to just hang out and heal herself. She’s quiet in turnout so she’s in a largish pen by herself – with my vets approval. It’s a fine line between a horse given too much freedom that the healing process is set back (or they don’t ever heal as well because of continual reinjury), and keeping movement restricted but having to deal with a slightly maniac horse that also might reinjure. In Farley’s case, there’s less risk of her being in a bigger area, than keeping her sedated in a smaller pen. When it’s raining, she’s up in a small pen and gets handwalked (except for days like yesterday when she decided I was insane for trying to handwalk in the rain and wind and INSISTED she go back to the barn). There’s more to my decision besides what I’ve explained here, so if you are reading this and trying to make a decision for rehabbing your own horse, please realize this isn’t the whole story and you need to discuss your options with your vet.
At this point I’m doubting that the lameness was due to suspensory damage. Part of the initial block showed up as white in the ultrasound and obscured part of the deep digital flexor. I believe that is where the problem is. The lameness presents itself so atypically for a suspensory injury, what was seen on the ultrasound didn’t match what was being seen in the lameness exam, except for the nerve block, and now, 3-4 weeks out I can feel definite thickening of the deep digital flexor.
The bottom line is that the treatment is the same for both, with the suspensory being perhaps more conservative. I *could* go back to get her reultrasounded. BUT, I’m not sure what that would gain me. I would be following the same treatment plan, I would be undermining my vet, and for what? My compromise is to take her back to have a recheck ultrasound in 8 weeks (rather than wait until 12 weeks), let him know that I’ve noticed the thickening and could we please check it out, as well as the suspensory?
Back to the scheduled topic – Endurance Camping!
Situation #2 – A 50 or an LD that you going to stay 2 nights (the night before and after the ride)
Priorities: Basic creature comforts that aren’t going to take an eternity to set up and take down. Needs to be fast enough that I can get down to what really matters at these rides – socializing and having fun.
Choosing a spot: This when I start to get a bit picky. If it’s going to be hot, I try to find some shade, I calculate the distance between my camp and the nearest water source, and I would like something resembling level.
Sleeping arrangements: 2 nights makes it worth it to set up a tent. I usually use a small backpacking tent, either inside my horse trailer if it’s windy or the ground is rocky and unsuitable, or next to my rig with my door situated so that I can peek out and check the horse without getting up.
Cooking/eating: An ice chest is a must and I try to “prepare” as much as I can before hand – sanchwiches etc. I try to keep my heating needs to hot water only, but I’ve been known to scramble an egg or two for breakfast, and perhaps a hamburger the day before. I also don’t insist that everything take place on the tailgate – I’ll set up a camp table, a chair and bring my base camping kitchen kit- that has plates/bowels etc, along with a one burner butane stove. I mostly use paper so I can avoid having to set up a wash station and wash dishes, or use my backpacking mess kit that cleans up easily. I set up a water jug so that drinking water is always available (thus I’m more likely to drink it) on the table, along with snacks.
Clothing considerations: I bring 3 sets of clothes – one to arrive and leave in, one to sleep in the night before the ride and ride the next day, one to sleep in the night after the ride. It’s sheer luxury to slip into a pair of comfy clothes that are clean and soft and that smell nice and then wiggle into your sleeping bag for a well deserved night of sleep. You’ll want a good nights sleep before hitting the road in the morning so splurge on a extra set of clothes that you will sleep well in.
Weather: Weather starts to matter here. Too much rain and you are faced with having to set up a camp more elaborate (and requiring more effort) than I’m usually willing for a 1 day 50. But NOT spending that effort means that I’m uncomfortably cold and wet for a tad longer than I really happy bearing adverse conditions (2 nights). My compromise for inclement weather is to set up my tent inside the back of my trailer. Most 1-2 person tents set up perfectly in the back of a horse trailer. I’ve done the back of the trailer thing with and without a tent and I sleep much better and warmer inside of a tent (really mystifying as it’s just a difference of a very thin layer of nylon).
Mel’s Must-Haves #2: (in addition to what I mention in #1)
Sleeping bag – For two nights I prefer a sleeping bag that’s easy to set up and to pack away. My mummy bag fits the description perfectly.
Camp table – Those aluminum tables seem like a bit of a luxury…..after all couldn’t you just use the tail gate, or the trailer, or the picnic bench, or…..I will tell you, that I find a table that I can put exactly where I want invaluable. I tend to end up with all sorts of small things I want to keep track of and have handy and I like putting them on the table so I know where they are at all times. The aluminum roll up tables don’t rust, last forever, don’t take up any more space than a camp chair, fast set up/take down, and clean up good. They are big enough for me to set up my small “kitchen” (one burner stove) and accessories, while still leaving ~half the table for my small objects that I want to keep handy. They do tend to be unstable, so I tend to set up the water jug on a more solid surface, such as my truck or trailer.
Camp chair – my favorite camp chair is from REI and sits low to the ground. Well, I should say “mine”, as it’s my boyfriends and I haven’t actually gotten around to purchasing my own. I currently actually OWN a walmart camp chair. The REI one is so comfy, we actually use it as regular furniture in my boyfriends living room, and it’s what I’m sitting in right now as I type this post. Hands down the best portable chair and I’ll probably get one in the future, or beg for one as a xmas gift. I usually throw an extra chair in with my gear so that I can have a friend or two over to camp.
Tent – You don’t have to buy a fancy tent – a simple 1-2 person walmart dome tent will be fine, and fits in the back of horse trailers! You will appreciate the easy set up and take down, and small tents tend to be easier and faster to take down and stuff into their bags. I recently bought a rei quarter dome 1 person tent – a tent I saved up for 2 years to buy and I adore it and it’s been worth every penny during my backpacking trips. But before that, I used cheap tents and they worked just fine for this.
Camp stove. I really like my 1 burner butane stove, but I’m not sure whether I’ll replace it with a propane one eventually. They both have their advantages. I find I rarely need 2 burners, and I appreciate the reduction in weight and space that a one burner offers.
Base camp kitchen – I set up a very basic “base camp kitchen” that fits inside of a duffel bag. It holds my stove, fuel, basic seasonings, paper service, a pot, a skillet, ziplock bags, cooking utensils, dishwashing stuff, and a few other odds and ends in a compact, organized way. Kitchen and cooking stuff can kind of get out of control and I find this to be very useful, especially for this type of ride – I like having the option to cook up something delicious, but don’t want the trouble of having to bring totes of kitchen stuff. This is a nice way to keep the kitchen part of the ride simple, yet comfortable.
Conclusion: A few well chosen creature comforts can make these rides more enjoyable, without adding significantly to the amount of time spent setting up or taking down. I bought junk the first couple years I did this, but the quality pieces I spent time researching and deciding what I want I still use AND they bring me immense satisfaction and joy when I do. I would think about each piece of camping equipment that you want carefully.
Series continues in part 3 – Multi days