Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Hummer

Originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
Almost six years ago, my chestnut mare Dorika bucked in an outburst of good spirits and took off in a race against a much larger horse in deep sand. Unfortunately the buck snapped a sesamoid and she was sentenced to 6 months of rest. With Dory's son Nazeer too young to ride and her buddy Nimbus pregnant with Nayzak, my husband took pity on me and offered to buy me a horse. After much searching for another mare, I found Bunduq, a gelding with a sense of humour.

'Bunduq'means 'hazelnut' in Arabic and is a fairly common name for any small, brown, rather round horse, dog, or cat. In this case my Bunduq is definitely small, round and brown. He barely makes the official measurement for a horse, but his powerful little body is a match for almost any task. He is broad enough for a good size man not to feel that he is on a pony. Trying him out was hysterical because he had been working as a schoolmaster at a friend's stable/riding school for years. He tried every school horse trick in the book on me, trying to scare me into letting him just sit around his box eating, which is his favourite occupation. Unfortunately or fortunately for Bunduq, I found his efforts to be most entertaining, since they were not malicious in intent. I brought him back to Abu Sir where he made the aquaintance of such extraordinary individuals as donkeys, camels, and water buffalo.

Bunduq carried me in our first efforts at FEI endurance, a 20 km dash from the Sakkara Country Club to the Fayoum railway crossing and back on my 51st birthday. This ride was enjoyed by a wide variety of participants, all of us terribly impressed by how far we had ridden. Later rides let us know that this was truly just a beginning and that 20 km was just a short jog. But he wasn't a lucky fellow and during a trot out for a vet he slipped and suffered a nondisplaced fracture of the cannon bone.

So now I had another horse on at least a six month layoff. On consulting a vet in the US with a scanned x-ray, he told me that what Bunduq needed was a nice bolt to stabilise the bone, but as there was no one to do this surgery, he suggested putting him in a small box to keep him still and praying a lot. If the bone slipped, I would have to put him down. In this respect he was lucky. It never slipped.

A few months down the line brought June 10 and my husband's death, so the fact that I had two horses on rehab didn't really matter. When the time came for Bunduq to be let out of the box, his bad fairy attacked once more and we found him with a nail in his hoof, making a wound deep enough to affect the coffin bone. Osteomyolitis set in and a deep incision had to be made in the sole of the hoof. Another 6 months of rest.

This poor guy became the most patient, accommodating creature on the face of the earth. He spent hours every day standing on three legs to dress the hoof wound, and when he was allowed to come out became the Napoleon of the paddock. He may be small but he is mighty and all of the other horses learned to fear his hooves. Even now he has a separate paddock to maintain the peace.

These days Bunduq is everyone's favourite first riding experience.He saves his bad temper for times when he isn't working and is a cuddly and willing companion under saddle, especially cuddly during the winter when he has a coat rather like a bear. He knows everything and has forgotten nothing of his past as a schoolmaster. He has no fear of anything and seems to know when he has an inexperienced rider. A year or two ago he was diagnosed with a vague lameness that was called navicular syndrome. We pulled his shoes, let him rest on some medication and gradually brought him back to work on hard surfaces rather than the deep sand of the desert. These days he can do some desert work and is pretty much back to normal.

He is the absolute packer of the herd.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I have a QH with Navicular, he was diagnosed 2 months after I bought him. He's sound on Bute and shoes with wedge pads, but we're still trying to finish his lope (he's not comfortable right now). I sympathize with you, its a hard thing to deal with. And the worst part is it gets worse and there's nothing you can do about it. Good luck with it!