We are very lucky to have the Guadalupe River about 15 minutes down the road, and yesterday was our day for fun on the river! This pic I grabbed off the internet as I (sadly) do not have a waterproof camera. I wish. I could have gotten some great pics! We did a two hour "trip" and only ran into a young couple hanging out and talking. We did, however meet the rapids (and then some!) of the type you see here, probably a bit more rapid!
My friend Linda had been talking about going down the river on inner tubes, and I am always hearing stories from co-workers and other friends about how much fun it is. Last summer, thanks to a big lack of rain, it was NO CAN DO on the river. Yesterday, after getting two tubes patched, and a kind gentleman in Bandera selling us two for $20 each (reasonable when you consider that to rent them, it's $10 each time!), we were ready to hit the river. Linda bought two for herself as we had borrowed the ones that we had patched from our friend Lorri. We took my friend Linda's truck and my VW, that way we could park at the "start" and then have a vehicle right where we wanted to get out. This worked. Mostly.
We entered the river, and the water felt great! My son Miles was so excited and happy; which was a pleasure to see, we have been having a tumultous time lately. Teenage-hood is hitting, and it is hitting hard and fast, among other things. The water started out slow, and we floated and relaxed. Our first set of rapids were fun "baby rapids" over a really shallow area. I got over them fairly easily, but Bubba Bob may not have! :) We continued on, just enjoying, and then hit an area of faster moving water, which was DEEP! Probably about 8 feet. It scared my son a little bit as he had been loafing along not in his tube, playing with some boat and toy that he had brought along. Linda helped him back onto his tube, and got him settled with that boat of his (not big, probably 12 inches by 8 inches) and helped him tie back up to her tube. After that we floated for quite some time, and then hit some rapids that we all had a blast on, just a little feeling of, "Oh sh**, I really have no control here!" We then had probably 30 more minutes of floating at a decent rate, not skimming along, but not in the doldrums either, just perfect for an enjoyable (AHHH!) float on your back, catch some rays time.
Then it happened. Major rapids. I did fine, going first, which had nothing to do with it, I just got lucky. Miles got bumped around a bit, and of course now has quite a story. We had gone around a bend, and I couldn't see Linda. People do and have died tubing that river, and while I could hear her voice saying something, I couldn't hear what it was over the rapids. So I waited. She didn't sound distressed. And I waited. Then I freaked. Did she have a broken leg, what had happened? I left Miles with the tubes in the shallows, with STRICT orders NOT to move, and preceded to backtrack THROUGH the rapids (I was thrown backwards and had to start over twice!) before I made it to her. On the way, I retrieved Miles (darn) boat which he had lost, and the truck cable which we had been using as a tube tie. What I failed to retrieve was the KEY to the truck which Linda had had carabined to her tube somewhow. She was looking everywhere for that key (to the side of the rapids), but I convinced her to give it up. We were near the end spot by this point and managed to fit three huge tubes and three people into my VW bug! Yeah!
All was well, that ended well, sort of, as there is a bit more to the story. The spare key opened the doors to the truck when we got back from driving all the way back to her house, and back out there again :), but would not start it. It had gotten it's steering wheel locked, and the front tire was stuck against the curb. Have you ever locked the steering wheel and it will not start until you have a free moving wheel? Imagine that, with one tire totally using the curb as a brake. We had to get back to Linda's for Shorty's chemotherapy appointment, so roadside assistance was called later, and we both hit the the door at the same time, me to get home, her to hopefully unlock the wheel. Finger's crossed that some BIG MEN or their toys were able to help the situation.
Of course I saw my boy, and spent some time with him, unfortunately, not nearly what I had planned, and then I JUST HAD to watch Shorty's chemotherapy...get to that in a sec. Tried on Jackson's new Happy Mouth French Link with Dee's, and he was largely unimpressed. Which is GOOD! I will ride it in the next couple days and let you all know. I do know that I shoved it into my mouth (brand new) for at least 10 minutes and didn't detect a hint of apple flavor, which is what is supposed to get them chewing at it and loving it. My trainer is ALL for it, and named off a few top jumpers she has met who use them, so maybe J. will taste something I missed!!! :) I found a bargain on it about a month ago ($25 off!), and being anxious to get rid of the full cheek look, and liking the look of the Dee's, bought it. We are still using a French Link, no plans to fix something that isn't broken. I have NO control issues, stopping issues, and do not need anything stronger, for sure!I certainly don't expect it to fix any of my riding deficits, but Happy Mouth bits have such a great rep., and then when my trainer was all for it, I thought, why not? I got a pic of him on my phone that I really like, but the quality at 5.0 megapixels is a bit sad I'm afraid! But I love it!
On to Shorty. If you read my blog, you may remember Shorty, Linda's spotted Appy who was given six months to live last September, diagnosed with cancer of the sheath. At the time she had recently had a growth removed, and then when another vet came out to the ranch to do Coggin's, shots, etc. he told Linda that it was already growing so agressively in the ONE month since she had it removed that the prognosis was grim.
At the time, Linda decided NOT to do anything and to let nature take it's course. The reason behind this was that chemotherapy is EXPENSIVE, usually thousands, and why make him feel like crap from chemo. with such a bad prognosis?
Since I had Karen McLain (fellow blogista) paint his portrait for Christmas, I firmly believe that is why he is doing so well (hee hee).... but on with the tale. By TOTAL coincidence, Linda was out on a trail ride three or so months ago, with our Equine club "Equine Hill Country Friends", and met a vet and his wife from Boerne. This guy is a sweetheart, I was so impressed with him when I met him yesterday. Anyway, she told him Shorty's medical story while on the ride, and he told her about a treatment he does (and he and his friend have had quite a bit of success with) injecting the site (Shorty has carcinomas around his sheath, quite common in a pinkie skin Appy) with a chemotherapeutic agent called Cisplatin, and the hores's own serum (spun down into a liquid form). By using the horse's own serum (a blood product) it helps the horse's body kind of "recongnize" parts of the concoction as his own, and basically more effectively killing off the bad things, and leaving his good things alone. Very basic concept, but I hope you get the picture.
Yesterday was his last treatment (four in all), and while he was down the vet ligatured the two growths. Now, they really have no blood supply, and the next six weeks should be the tell all. Will it work? Apparently there has been much success in this area, but most of the studies you read you won't find the vet using the horse's own serum. He says this is "his rocket science oncologist vet friend's idea", and really, mixing it with the horse's own serum makes more sense than the agents they say many vets use--like peanut oil!!
I really liked this vet, he spent about 20 minutes while we were spinning Shorty's blood telling me all about hoof abcessess (which Jackson has decided to give me FOUR of this spring) and what to do, and what not to bother with. He also spent a good deal of time telling me what to look for in a horse transportation agency when I do move him to Gainesville, FL. He also knew all about the pyrolplasmosis test and all the paperwork I will need to get him from Texas and into Florida!
He was there for about two hours for the whole thing, start to finish. One thing I did NOT like. Shorty had to be given Ketamine and totally put down for this (understandable given that it is in the sheath area and so extensive), which was really freaky. Shorty started out just by closing his eyes, and then losing his footing (REALLY FREAKY) and then wham! DOWN! I don't think I'd be able to stand seeing this if it was Jackson, (thankfully Linda would help) because just ask Linda or my friend Lorri; I don't know as much about horses and the ownership like they do (both with like 30 years expereince on me), and I am a huge worry wart with Jackson. I think they would both agree that I have gotten better, but it is REALLY nice to have experienced horsewomen like them around to soothe me when I get freaky!
So I did take Linda's calm cue from her, even though I was wondering why she was doing all this treatment when he was going to have two broken legs (JK)... The vet did his injections, ligatured the growths, we fly sprayed it, and not five minutes later Shorty jumped to his feet! The vet said Shorty metablolizes it fast, because normally with that amount he could get throught an entire castration on most other horses!
Please think positive thoughts in Shorty's direction, he is one fabulous gaited guy, with a wonderful personality and so much fun to ride! I thank Shorty (Spotty--my lil' pet name for him) for some of the most fabulous cantering, confidence building rides of my life! I want that horse back, as does his mama! We ALL want to ride him again, even Miles who really isn't all that into riding! The pic below is my last ride on Shorty, from early summer 2009, not very long before we found everything out.... I remember being very happy that day!