I am entitling this story as LESSON LEARNED …
It all started on September 26th: I believed we may not be attending this ride. I have sent in my entry fees but I have had a knock down drag out cold. It is busting my chest and lungs with constant flemmy coughing.
Miss Daizy has had a dry cough all week. I decided to make a clear decision by Friday. If she is coughing just to keep me company, or coughing because everything is so dry dry dry right now, we’ll go. The vet is coming today to pull a culture. She has no snot, no fever, and is certainly not off her food (or any one else’s food!) If she is coughing because she really has a cold, we’re staying home to get healthy for the Jersey Devil at the end of October.
Remember, I have a plan and a goal this year. We have achieved her versatility and I really just want to do one more 50 mile endurance ride before the year is finished. Mustang Memorial is the last ride of the year in our area.
By September 30th: Miss Daizy is feeling much better than I am. However, the babies started coughing so I am wondering if the problem is contagious. Cultures are back and they’re negative. I sent Sandy an email to be courteous and give her a head’s up regarding the fact that I may not be coming. That way she won’t be surprised by any “no show” from me.
Now, if only MY culture would come back negative. I am pretty sure I have some kind of bubonic plague. I cough my lungs out, and then while they lay on the ground at my feet, they continue to cough all by themselves.
MY EMAIL TO SANDY: (read as follows)
Sandy! I am giving you a head’s up. I have a pasture full of coughing horses. Seems that Miss Daizy and Steel brought something home from Chesapeake as Miss Daizy started it first, then Steel (and now the babies) Miss Daizy seems to be getting better, but if she is still coughing on Friday, I will be pulling her entry. I don t know if Ann Kennedy sent in an entry for Steel, but if she did, we will have to pull that entry, too. SO SORRY! ~~Dodie PS: I ll keep you posted by Friday on what we’re gonna do.
SANDY EMAILED ME BACK:
YIKES! That’s scary. There are a lot of contagious diseases going around this fall! Please make sure they aren’t going to bring something contagious to the ride! Hope everyone if feeling better soon! -Sandy
THEN I RESPONDED BACK TO SANDY:
It’s bizarre because they don’t have snot or fevers or even gone off their food, they just have this dry hacking cough. I had the vet out and she was stumped, too. Thought maybe it was allergy related until she heard Bombardier cough and then she said it sounded too croupy for allergies. She took samples from Miss Daizy and Steel’s noses and throats and called this morning to say that the slides are negative … that’s a relief (I think) So, I will let you know what they sound like on Friday! ~~Dodie
THEN I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM JESSICA: (I did not email Jessica, Sandy copied her into the conversation)
Hi Dodie, I am sorry that your horses seem to have caught some bug or something. I haven’t heard anyone else that went to Chesapeake having an issue, so I hope it is an isolated incident. And I hope they recover quickly. Have you taken their temperature or had the vet out? I am concerned about bringing them to the ride for a few reasons – their health, even if they are no longer coughing, they might still be recovering and the stress of the ride could be too much for them and the other horses – wouldn’t want anyone else to get sick. Could you please let us know more about their issue so we can all make an informed decision as to what is best for everyone involved? ~~Thanks, Jessica
Below is the response I sent to her.
Jessica, I have been competing for 15 years. I am a pretty good judge of when to keep my horses at home (not just for their own health, but for the health of the horses with which they would come in contact). That was my sole reason for giving Sandy a head’s up on the situation. The vet has been here. They do not have a temperature and their cultures came back negative. They are fully functional and eating. It is a dry cough with no mucus. She (the vet) is thinking that the dry conditions combined with fall molds may have some kind of allergen. HOWEVER, since you seem to be so concerned, I will pull my two horses from the ride. Please refund the money back to me and to Ann Kennedy for our ride entries. ~~Thanks for reaching out to me, Dodie
AND THEN FACEBOOK GOT INVOLVED: (this is too funny)
Ride for the Ribbons update. I’ve recieved over 17 entries in the past 48 hours. WOW! Thank you all for entering. We went from hurting for entries to having a wait list. Official email to come tomorrow.
Sandy Hope your horses are ok Dodie. No one wants a sick horse. It’s scary when you don’t know for sure what it is. We weren’t able to confirm what caused Ember’s sickness either. Better safe than sorry.
Jessica I appreciate Dodie doing the hard thing of pulling her horses due to an unknown sickness and not sure of what risk to them and others. I will miss having you there Dodie, you are free to come and volunteer though:-)
Okay – we all had a little bit of fun but it’s all good. Right? I was amused by the commentary from everyone and also glad that they were concerned about my horses. BUT WHAT ABOUT ME? I have now coughed my lungs out onto the floor so many times that they have been nicknamed Swiffer by my husband.
JESSICA EMAILED ME AGAIN LATER IN THE DAY:
Dodie, I am sorry that you took my concern the wrong way and so personally. I was just asking for further clarification from what Sandy had emailed, and have concern for many other horses, as well as yours. The last thing we (as in the entire riding community) need are sick or sicker horses at a ride, and as the person responsible for the well being of the horses and riders, I felt it was my obligation to get more information. I appreciate the further information, and it certainly sounds like you and the vet have it under control. That’s all I was trying to ascertain and I am sorry that you took offense to my concern. It is well within your right to pull your horses, however, the cancellation policy states that you will be receiving a refund of $40. Please let Sandy and me know what your plans for the ride. Again, I am sorry that you took my concern in a manner in which it was not meant, but I hope you understand where the concern is coming from. I didn’t have much information to go on, and I was trying to gather more information. ~~Jessica
SO I EMAILED HER BACK:
Jessica: I am surprised that you are only refunding $40, especially as it was due to your email that I conceded to pull my horses from the ride. I had no intentions of pulling them from the ride should they have proven to be fit to ride on Sunday. I simply emailed Sandy, the secretary, as a courtesy to give her a “head’s up” in the event I did pull them, she would already have prior notice. There is a waiting list from which you can fill our two spots so you did not lose out on any entry fees. ~~Thank you, Dodie
YES, the ride entry clearly states that an entry pulled after September 26th would receive a partial refund. And she did say she would give me a partial refund. I was surprised because (1) she has a waiting list to fill those two entries and (2) I only pulled them because she was so concerned. I had no intentions of pulling my horses at the time I sent Sandy a Head’s Up email. I pulled them due to Jessica’s first email. It’s not even Friday yet … but that’s okay. I probably wouldn’t have survived the ride anyway. Miss Daizy is doing well but I am now totally convinced that I have the bubonic plague *AND* it’s complicated by a secondary Ebola infection that just might be combined with Typhoid.
So, the decision has been made, I will not be attending Ride For The Ribbons. Reason? Jessica is concerned (and rightly so) because I always take my sick horses out to competitions. I’m pretty sure I do. Or maybe I’m just hallucinating now that my disease addled brain is swimming in gallons of flem. That’s where it has to be coming from, my brain cavity, because my nasal cavity is much too small to hold such volumes of snot.
Oh, then I received this last response from Jessica. Not sure if I was reading it correctly as the words on the screen appear to be swimming.
Dodie, I had decided earlier today to refund your entire entry fee, however, please read the entry information where the cancellation policy is clearly written. I did not ask you to pull your horses, I asked for additional information because I was concerned about your horses and all the other horses welfare based on the email that Sandy forwarded to me. Thank you for doing what I feel is the right thing, but I am sorry you don’t and that you think I forced you to pull your horses. I believe that it really isn’t a good idea to bring stressed horses to a ride, and possibly infect other horses, especially not knowing what they have been sick with. I’m sorry that you don’t feel the same way. It was never about the money, it was about the safety of all horses. I am sorry that you think it is about the money – and you think you are above the written policies. Rides run very close to the break even numbers (porta potties, sanctioning and insurance, drug testing, ribbons, food, judges, the list goes on and on are all very expensive), so we have a cancellation policy for a reason. As a rider, I would love to say no cancellation policy, but as a manager, there needs to be one. As I said, I decided to refund the entire entry fee for you and your friend since your horses are ill. Having said all that Dodie, I pay for nearly the whole ride out of my own pocket so we do have money to donate to New Bolton Center in Ribbons’ name. I don’t tell the riders this, but anyone who has an idea of the cost of anything associated with rides must have an idea. I am sorry that you don’t feel that a donation to New Bolton Center is worth anything – as I said, you are welcome to come volunteer (by the way, the canal policy was you didn’t get a refund at all unless you came to volunteer). I spend the better part of the year organizing, getting awards donated, riding trail and talking to the park, marking trail, unmarking trail, etc – all by myself. I do this because I love ECTRA and New Bolton Center. I’m sorry that you feel I forced you to pull your horses, we will rip your check(s) up. Enjoy your free Sunday. ~~Jessica
I had no idea how to respond to her above email~ Apparently I am a very wicked person when I am ill and dying from five different rare diseases including, but not limited to, small pox and polio.
Jessica believes all sorts of terrible things about me now and I’m not sure why. I sent this email response back to her. I didn’t think I should say much more than this.
Thank you, Jessica. Hope the ride goes off splendidly ~Dodie
And to update everyone on this fine Thursday evening ( a day after the above email exchange between me and Jessica ) My horses are all just fine. No coughing from any of them today. I seem to have found the perfect solution to ridding my own body of germs, I worked a 15 hour day today with no time to stop and feel sorry for myself. I only used one tissue all day, so I must be cured.
I surely do hope that everyone has a perfectly wonderful ride! I am going to miss being there and Miss Daizy is mad at me because she’s missing out on earning more ECTRA miles for 2014. Steel? She’s not mad at all, she prefers to be a pasture potato and hang out with the babies.
This Blog is to allay any and all rumors that I died, that Miss Daizy died, or that I am in jail for murdering a ride manager.
I can’t even have a coughing horse without some adventure attached to it. LESSON LEARNED!
It’s just the facts. Good or bad. This is what truly happened and why I did not attend the Ride For The Ribbons CTR on October 5, 2014.