From the OTHER end of the stethoscope

I went vetting at an endurance ride this weekend. It makes a nice change and it helps subsidise this stupidly expensive sport I am so obsessed by.

The ride was at Payne’s Find, which is a LONG drive away – 514 kilometres or 320 miles. It took about 5 1/2 hours and that’s without towing a rig, so kudos to all the riders who made it up there.

It seems like a long way, the you look at it on Google maps and realise that you’ve only covered a VERY tiny part of this enormous state:

DOLA_MAP2

That little red line covers 500km…

Anyway – it was a glorious day when I left on Friday, and the countryside was pretty. We have had good rain and everything is green. as you get North of Perth, the countryside changes very quickly to what we now as “station country” – flat, red dirt, HUGE cattle stations and an awful lot of not very much in the way of infrastructure:

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Every so often you have to stop and let one of these suckers go past:

IMG_2083

As they take up the WHOLE width of the road. My little car looked a bit out of place! You also run out of bitumen after a while and get to drive on dirt roads:

Paynes Find 5

Anyway – I made it eventually, in the dark, which was a bit hairy as those trucks still run at night! The ride base was at a station homestead, so there were REAL BEDS (for the lucky vets at least). And HOT SHOWERS. Bliss.

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We didn’t have very many horses entered (40, 2 vets) so it was a pretty relaxing day:

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but I had a bad run and had to write the dreaded “Vet Out Lame” on 4 horses’ books. Lameness, nine times out of ten, is just crappy bad luck (“there’s a rock out there somewhere with your name on it”) but it still doesn’t look good on the book, or at least I hate having it in mine!

I was very jealous of those people who made it up there to ride, a sit is glorious country and I would love to see some of it from horseback. We are hatching a plan for next year….

I stayed the extra night, which was spectacular:

Starry night payne's Find

With no light pollution up there, the stars were AWESOME.

There may have been a bit too much red wine drunk round the campfire, so I was a bit under the weather for the drive home… As I got further South, the weather got colder and then the rain started, which did not help the mood. It is now lunchtime Monday and it is FREEZING and still wet. Can I go back up country??

Back tomorrow with a grab bag of thoughts on endurance from the vet point of view, instead of the rider…

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