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Tragedy Strikes! 02/04/06

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) Tim called me on the weekend via satellite with the latest update and to forward his apologies to all readers. Currently his Internet connection is not working and he therefore has no access to email or to update the website. In late February Tim returned to Kalmikia, where he spent one and a half weeks conducting interviews and meeting with local people such as the head Lama of the new Buddhist temple in Elista. He also spent a day with a traditional Kalmik craftsman (who makes saddles and whips), and spent time with the famous Kalmik throat singer Okna. As well as many days in the Kalmik humanitarian institute of science. On the 11th of March he returned to the horses to discover one could barely stand on one of his front legs. Unbeknown to Tim, two and a half weeks earlier the horse had trodden on a nail, which protruded a massive 4 to 5 inches into his hoof. Apparently a vet removed the nail but the animal was not treated further despite the obvious possibility of severe infection, especially since the nail was rusty. Not long after the nail was removed the hoof became inflamed and severely swollen, obvious signs of infection but still the horse was not treated or even moved to a clean yard, but worst of all, the condition of the horse was not relayed to Tim in Elista, only 70km away! Tim was told that 'wire' had earlier been stuck in the horses hoof but that the horse was now fine. He had no reason to believe that there was anything serious. With time already critical due to the short three-month visa, there was unfortunately not enough time to wait for the horse to recover without moving on. Though he did spend one and a half days treating the horse with antibiotics, antiinflammatory and analgesic, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in the horse’s mood but no improvement in the limb. Correspondence with various vets in Australia and locally in Russia confirmed that with this kind of injury, after two weeks without treatment, there was a good chance the infection had reached the bone and the horse would never recover. Tim had to make the decision to leave with just two horses. He than travelled for five days to the border of Kalmikia and Stavropol. During which time the horse continued the course of antibiotics but did not improve further. Under pressure of time and the requirement to register the animals with the federal vetinary agents in each province. A replacement horse was trucked to Stavropol from Kalmikia, where Tim travelled on with the new horse and the original two. At the time of calling Tim was resting on a farm with a Dajestani family. For Tim the loss of this horse is in many ways a real tragedy, and particularly disappointing after having gone through so much with the horse and because the idea was to take true steppe horses right through to Hungary like the original nomads. The horse left behind was Kok, he is now with Blackie (Ogonyok), and the new horse Utebai. Tim’s spirits have now lifted as he is making good ground and enjoying the increasingly warm weather of early spring. At the time of his call Tim was situated at: Latitude: 45° 52 Min. 00 Sec. Longitude: 43° 13 Min. 00 Sec. Go to WWW.MAPQUEST.COM/MAPS/LATLONG.ADP and type in the above coordinates to see where Tim is now. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES)