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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 (Part III, 2008)

Yep, still stalling! Blogging is way more fun than packing.

January of 2008 saw my mare move from The Looney-Bin (the nickname for Alex's barn) back to the barn she had been at over the summer, just for two or so weeks. We then trekked back to the college. I essentially started working with her over again from scratch, doing lots of lunging with the Faux-ssoa (the cheap-o Pessoa system that I got from Schneiders for like $30!) and starting slowly under saddle again with lots of stretching. She became loads more balanced, especially in the canter. I had three goals - break 70% (which we did at a later event), show First Level (which we did in the spring), and qualify for and place in the top 10 at the American Eventing Championships (which we also did). But more on that later! That spring, we were enrolled in the Competition Dressage class, which meant dressage lessons twice a week plus competitions, and were also taking jump lessons once a week, from January through April. The only really awful thing that she did all winter that was a leftover from her poor training was some small rearing and one flip-over incident under saddle, which was pretty bad. We were both just fine, and she actually hasn't ever reared since, or even offered to... so maybe that was the lightswitch in her head.

Gogo's feet, less than 6 weeks after the horrible messy accident (she was never lame either!):

Faux-ssoa Time!:

We showed in the March Lake Erie College Winter Dressage show, and did Training 3-4 and First 1-2, Gogo's first time out at First Level. Wouldn't you know it, my mare that couldn't possibly stand to have her mouth touched less than 8 months before was Reserve Champion at First Level her first time out, with another 69.5%! (See what I mean when I say I can't break a 70%?)
We also did some schooling jumper shows, the ones held at Lake Erie, and even a C-rated hunter show once (she ain't no hunter if you know what I mean!) She even placed in a few of the 3' classes and was a star in the hack (we were robbing... we figured the judge didn't like that this not-hunter horse had a pulled and banged tail... whoops).

Gogo's ribbons from the March dressage show:

Gogo at a jumper show, baby 2'6" division:

Gogo in the hack... she looks like a nice ride to me, damn judge!:

The crown jewel of the winter season was SUPPOSED to be Lake Erie's Dressage Prix de Villes in April. We were all set to clean the crap up; our high team consisted of three of my other friends riding First, Second and Third levels. And the best part? Our team was named LEC's That's What She Said. THE best team name ever. Alas, things don't always go as planned... not only was the judge REALLY REALLY nasty tough, but Gogo came into heat like I've NEVER seen before during that weekend, in large part thanks to one of my teammmates being a big horny stallion who was stalled two stalls away from her and who talked to her nonstop. She was CRACKERNUTS that weekend, and we placed in two of our three classes, but only just. We had been getting between 66-69% all the time, and our best score at the Prix was barely a 60% :( I think we deserved better scores, because the parts when she wasn't exploding were really nice. We got a few 2's and 3's because she did some really awful head-tossing and plunging about, which she had never done before. Our team STILL did manage to come in third in the team competiton. Here's a quick clip of First 3:

Not bad huh! I should see if I can get some video up of the Waterloo show for comparison. Trust me, it's scary.

Things were going great. I had some problems after I left for three weeks in May to go for a study tour in Costa Rica (also very awesome), and she lost some condition during that time. She did a Novice combined test at South Farm in early June and won that with a 26.0, then went on to her first Beginner Novice event of the season at the Encore H.T. in Ann Arbor, MI. She grew up that weekend... we rode for an entire hour to warm up for dressage, were ready to go, and the horse before me was in the ring.... then BOOM CRASH! Giant thunderstorm out of nowhere. UGH! She stood in the trailer still tacked up with my non-horse mother for an HOUR while I was in the tent with the officials, who decided that the remaining 5 dressage rides would go that afternoon, and then the stadium (which was slated to run that afternoon) would be run the next day directly before x-country. We had less than 10 minutes to warm up, and the judge was judging us as though we were riding First level or so (everyone at the show scored low under her), and it was POURING RAIN, but somehow she came together and was in first after dressage with a 39.5. (yes, mucho de low scores!) We had an uncharacteristic rail in stadium, and had a great x-country run, finishing in 3rd instead of 1st (d'oh!).
Our next event was at South Farm, and it was by far the greatest. We had an AWESOME dressage test and scored a 22.6!! Our x-country had a few bobbles but was still clean, and we had ANOTHER rail in stadium, but still finished 1st with our score of 26.6! I got to thinking that something might be wrong, seeing as she had also started to lose a lot of weight and didn't seem quite right. A trip to the Equine Specialty hospital showed that she had the very beginnings of hock arthritis.... UGHHHH!!!! And I had been SO careful. It probably had something to do with crazy training lunging her in tight circles every day, and her old owner making her grossly obese too... ack. Well, some Adequan and Cosequin later, and we were back showing. We went to the Hunters Run H.T. in Metamora, MI (just half an hour from my parents' house, and where I did my first ever x-country school on Metro), had a dressage score of 33.0 (the first time we weren't in first after dressage... we were in 3rd!) and moved up to second after a blisteringly fast x-country run (speed time was 4:03... our time? 4:03), and then when the person in front of me pulled a rail in stadium, we won!

Soaked after our dressage test at Encore:

The week after Hunters Run was the Erie Hunt & Saddle Club H.T. - yep, the same one she gave me a concussion at the year before! We had a 32.5 in our dressage and were in second, less than a point behind the leader (and should have scored higher... on our test of 7's and 8's I had a really nice walk transition that scored a 5 with the comment of "Prompt transition! Cut corner." WTF?), had the BEST x-country run ever (she got over her horrible phobia of ditches and was now doing them like a pro), and had a great stadium round too, finishing in 2nd on our dressage score.

So now, I was overqualified for the AECs, and was set to go to the Area VIII Championships at South Farm. YAY! Welllllll, the thing about Gogo is she has a great sense of humility, and know just when to deflate my ego when it's too huge for my own head. We were in 1st after dressage, as usual, with a great score of 28.5. All set to be the Area VIII BN Champions, I thought. It's in the bag! And then, on x-country, Crazy McPsychopony gave me a wild ride... bolting, no steering, no brakes, trying to run out at everything for no real reason other than she was going too fast in her mind to possibly bother going OVER anything. We wrestled our way around the first 5 fences, and then came to the teeny-tiniest, most boring log on course. Crackers MgGee then turned into a pretzel, bulged her shoulder our, and went rocketing right past fence 6... UGH! I turned her back around, made it over just fine, and then she was PERFECT the rest of the course. PERFECT. So convinced was I that something HAD to be wrong, I withdrew from the rest of the competiton, but no, the next day she was her regular old cheery self. Mares.....

But the AECs were still ahead of us, and I turned my sights on them. It was my year-long goal to qualify and attend, and top 10 if I could. But I'll post another blob on that later... it's getting too long here to do it!

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