Gina Miles - Journey to Rolex 2015 #RoadtoRolex
This has been the biggest roller coaster ride to Rolex I have ever done! Everyone who has ever competed in a CCI*, knows that the two weeks leading up to the big event is when the wheels tend to come off of the bus. That rings true in this case and then some!
It started the Tuesday before Twin Rivers when Ron suddenly came up lame. He was sound when I rode him as my last horse the night before at 6 p.m. and markedly off on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Luckily, one of my vets on my team, Dr. Bruce Keusis was scheduled to be there for a follow up. After pulling the shoe on the left front and x-raying the foot, he was able to locate a small abscess track, likely the source of Ron's soreness. A couple of days packing the foot, we were able to get the shoe back on Thursday and successfully competed in and won the Four Star Combined Test at Twin.
I had a great dressage lesson with Sandy Phillips on Monday morning and all looked ready to go for our flight on Wednesday. However, on Tuesday when it was time to jog again, that left front was still bugging Ron. The abscess was likely the result of a deep stone bruise and the bruising was still causing some lingering pain. We made the very tough decision to not put Ron on the plane for Rolex and cancel our plans to compete. Although we figured he would come sound in a few days, the welfare of the horse is of top priority and we could not risk him heading to Rolex if he wasn't feeling 100%. But the Roller Coaster ride was not even half over.
The plane left on Wednesday without Ron. On Thursday I decided I would give him a jog just to make sure I made the right decision. Ron was sound. I thought it might be a fluke so waited until Friday morning. Sound still. Did I make the call too soon not to send him? Lot's of conversations ensued with all of the people responsible for Ron's care as well as logistics. There was another flight going on Monday from Las Vegas, but it was full. Morgan had already left for Kentucky and we hadn't packed any of my tack or equipment. All of the other California horses had already left by truck and I didn't at Ron's age, driving him across the country was a viable option anyway. So many challenges to put the plan back to go to Rolex back in to action! But by Friday afternoon, the stars began to align. Greg at Tex Sutton was able to get us a spot on the Vegas flight with the horses traveling from the World Cup. Morgan was able to re-route his trip and meet me with the tack and equipment that I loaded in to the back of my car. I gave Ron a dressage school and he felt ready to go. Dr Sadie Ziel pulled blood and made up Ron's health certificate.
Last piece of the puzzle was getting Ron to Vegas. My truck and trailer were already on the road. There was no room on Ron's flight for me to travel with him, so I needed a separate flight. It can be tough to locate a commercial shipper last minute, but again luck was on our side and I found someone on their way south that could drive Ron to Vegas on Sunday. Saturday we were doing our final dressage school, packing a few last minute items for Ron's trip. On hopefully the final drop of this particular roller coaster, I started to have trouble connecting with the shipper and began to have doubts that he was going to show up! Was I going to have to borrow a rig and take him to Vegas myself?! Just as I was ready to pack him up and hit the road, the shipper came through and showed up to take Ron. I would like to say it was smooth sailing from there, but not yet. The shipper arrived at Thomas at Mack at 3 a.m., 4 hours later than expected where Michele was waiting to meet them.
A shout out to Michele Scott for taking the 3 a.m. call and making sure Ron made it safety to his stall and was fed, watered and bedded for the night. As of 9 a.m. this morning, Ron is safely on the flight to Kentucky with the World Cup horses (I hope Valegro gives him some tips for his dressage test), Morgan is at the Kentucky Horse Park getting his stall prepared, and I am packing to fly out this evening. It has been an exciting ride and we haven't even gotten started!