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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gogo, A History (American Eventing Championships 2008)

September arrived, and it was off to the AECs at Lamplight! To start, the drive was awful!! It was almost 9 hours for us, BLEUGH... and through THE most boring scenery - Ohio, Indiana? BORING, and full of CORN... and nothing else. We had a hair-raising moment when somewhere on the freeway my truck said "55 miles til empty" and then continued to drop at an alarming rate, while we kept passing exits with no gas stations.... for almost 40 miles!! We finally got to the end of IN, and asked where the nearest gas station was, because my car said "7 miles til empty" and the toll attendant said 12 miles ahead.... ummmm not going to work! We were informed that if we pulled off at a closer exit there was a gas station 4 miles down the road.... well one mile down the road the car read "0 miles til empty" and then managed to coast on fumes with the trailer for the next three miles, THANK THE LORD... we also unloaded Gogo there and got pictures of us going, WTF, where are we?

Lamplight is a totally gorgeous facility, and we were in a tent with temp stalls that were actually really really nice. Gogo had made friends with the horse next to her because she was in flaming heat still... this will come into play later. She was just GORGEOUS for dressage - shining, perfect braids, perfect quartermarks, gleaming socks, sparkling hooves, and I looked all right myself. Well, she didn't do anything the day before but stand in a trailer for like 11 hours and get handwalked, so she was HOT TO TROT. AND in heat. A lot. Given those things, she went into the dressage ring after an hour warmup not feeling nearly as calm and steady as she normally does - actually I felt like she was about to jump out of her skin! The test was solid 7's (and only one eight.... so sad) until our second canter, where at the end of the circle she heard a horse whinny, did something similar to a dolphin-back buck, hit the reins really hard and threw her head up Prix de Villes style, which caused her to break to the trot two letters early. Yep, got a 2 on that movement! We still somehow managed to scrape a 33.0 out of it, which is an okay score, but not very competitive at the AECs. Had we gotten a 7 or 8 or so for that movement, we would have gotten a 29 or 30... as it stood with our 33.0, we were tied for 9th after dressage. My division (Beginner Novice Horse) had 22 or 23 people in it.

X-country followed the next day. I had recently befriended a Mikmar via one of my old coaches from school, so I was interested to see what wildwoman would do it with it on x-country (I had jumped in it, but not out in the open). The weather was GORGEOUS (remember this now, it will change later) and the course was technical and maxed out but looked exciting and fun. The first few fences were straightforward and relatively simple, and the latter part of the course included two water complexes, one with a jump a few strides out of it (something she's never tackled before), a ditch to a feeder combination (something she's also never tackled), and an up bank to a cranker of a turn right - which I was worried about because she pops her shoulder left. We were dressed to the nines and Gogo warmed up VERY well, and I was thankful that there were two x-country jumps in the warmup... sometimes it takes her several jumps before she settles in, so it was helpful! She left the startbox very well and was awesome over the first few jumps, tackling the sawmill jump even - which killed a bunch of people - went through the water like a champ, tackled the combination, the water, the ditch combination, AND the tricky up bank and tight turn! AND we even came in sort of close to the optimum time (probably because I was hauling on her face the entire time... the Mikmar apparently wasn't enough O.o). It felt like magic. That perfect, perfect run moved us up from a tie for 9th to 7th place going into stadium. The forecast was for rain, but as we braided her up that night we didn't hear a thing about it, so we were hopeful it would hold off.

And we were LUCKY! Friday morning dawned cloudy and gray but dry-ish, and the course looked awesome - very turny but not ridiculous, very nice fences, one two stride combination to finish at the scary Succeed fence that Gogo already tackled once at Hunters Run. She was GORGEOUS and I got a ton of compliments on how sexy she looked in her light blue, and she warmed up very well. Her course was excellent - but this time, the Mikmar was too much! Bit of head tossing, oops. The girl that went right after me fell off in her round, moving me with my clean round up to 6th (and into the prizes!!) I SHOULD have moved up further, because everyone and their mom in front of me crashed into rails that WOULD NOT fall down, but alas, I did not. Literally, several people hit rails that made the whole jump shake, but the rails would NOT fall down! It sucked for the first place person (who I beat at Hunters Run, btw!) because she did have a rail which knocked her out of first into 2nd. The victory gallop felt amazing... and I won a shit ton of prizes like $250 cash, $100 for Bit of Britain, Mckinnon Ice Horse boots, SSG gloves, some supplement called APF, and a box of Flair nasal strips. Sweet!

The one thing that kills me though? If we had scored a 7 on that one movement instead of a 2, I would have finished in 2nd place. Had I scored an 8, I would have been in 1st. D'OH!

And as for the weather? well, it was dry up until right after the Beginner Novice riders finished their rounds... and then the skies OPENED and it POURED for the rest of the time there. For once in my life, I was GLAD I was in BN, because the rest of the riders had to do their work in the POURING, POURING rain, and the upper levels had to actually finish their rounds as a combined test. The Chicago area got 8-10" of rain that Friday, and then Hurrican Ike rolled in and dumped MORE rain on them. We left on Sunday, and had a horrible, stormy trip back, including getting rerouted onto another freeway because our freeway FLOODED and closed because a dam broke somewhere. Yikes...

GO CRAZY MARES! Now, it's onto this current blog and looking to the AECs next year. We're going out Novice and then taking a stab at Training later on in the summer. I'm looking at the snow on the ground and thinking.... I can't freaking wait!

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