The plan was to trailer to Apache Creek RV Park because a good horseman told me that the John Kerr Peak and Wagontongue Mountain was treacherous for horses. We didn’t need any excitement where the horses lives were at risk, in fact we saw in the Middle Fork of the Gila River where a horse had fallen from a cliff and his skeleton was testimony to some very sad people. It appeared that a boulder was loose and followed him over the edge, but that is sheer speculation. Arriving at Apache Creek we found that they had no hookups for our trailers but we could set up pens in their sand field, no thanks! We had enough sand for a good bit and decided to move on to Valle Tio Vinces where they had pens and we would be able to ride south to Hwy 12 to cover that section of the CDT.
Valle Tio Vences
We started our ride rather late and the sun beat down as we followed the gravel road for almost 2 miles then headed southwest on an old jeep road. The going was difficult for the horses since the road was washed out and the bed was large sharp gravel but we continued on to Barreras Canyon loosing much elevation and whining that we had to come back over the same rough tread. The area is so very dry that it seems impossible that the trees or anything else can survive with all the stock tanks and ponds dried up, creeks with not a drop of water and tusks of grass with absolutely no color other than wheat straw. We rode until we got to the canyon and treated the horses to a little snack and headed back. The steep climb was made effortless by Issy who knew that the trailers were only 10 miles or so up trail. The camp at Valle Tio Vences was supported by a spring which gushed water out at 1 gallon every 9 minutes! We set up jugs to catch as much as possible and after hours of patience we were rewarded with about 20 gallons to make it through the night. That water collection was to go on continuously and we both lugged 5 gallon cans back and forth to make sure we had enough. Issy was to start on his Lyme Disease medicine (which he contracted last year in California) and I knew he would not like the taste so I poured corn oil on his medicine and feed to disguise the bitter taste. It worked and Issy ate every piece but there the problem started. At first light, Issy was not calling for his food, he hadn’t eaten his hay and just tongued his water. I had a sick horse and we were in the middle of nowhere! I gave him some banimine and it seemed to help but I felt that he must have some sort of intestinal problem since he had no interest in mints, apples or anything else. His temperature was normal and his color was fine. At least he seemed just uncomfortable so I waited him out. We took off the next day and still Issy wasn’t very interested in food but had eaten some hay. More banimine and soon he seemed much better so we opted to ride a short 5 miler up Mangus Mountain. Issy stayed with Megan but had no pep nor any signs of hurting but I knew he wasn’t right. I called the ride off at 3 miles and went back to camp where he just wanted water. I felt another day off might do the trick so we decide to wait until morning to make a decision about getting to a vet. Still no interest in food, Issy was now acting depressed and I wanted to get close to a vet as soon as possible. We packed up and headed to Grants 120 miles away. I called the rodeo arena and Tesa said they had a vet on call, great news since I wasn’t’ sure the trailer ride would relieve Issy. Arriving at Grants, Issy had a good bit of dried manure in the trailer but it was brown and unusal in consistency. I felt maybe he was getting impacted and maybe he needed to be oiled. I called the “On call” vet to find he was gone for 4 days and that the only back up was over an hour drive to Albuquerque to some emergency clinic with no reference to the vet in charge. I felt Issy might be better off waiting another day and I would check him all night and haul him if necessary. More banimine and a slow work out in the Rodeo round pen seemed to help, but he had scours! Not what he would have if he was impacted. My guess was that the Lyme Disease medicine was finally working it’s way through him and he even seemed to feel better being with 100 plus horses and having lots to look at. Sure enough by Sunday morning Issy was finally eating and leaving good manure. Somehow we lucked out and Issy pulled through and now he is back to normal calling every time he sees me. Issy is one tough horse and I’m not sure any other horse could have fared as well.