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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~


6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gogo Hones In On My Weak Spots

EARLY EDIT: I started writing this note yesterday and meant to save it as a draft, but I accidentally published it. So sorry to Beckz because I deleted it and subsequently her comment too! XD

Well, yesterday my ride today was not so good. At least I know at this point that whenever she's bad, it's because I'm restricting her in front and I need to LET GO. I already blogged about this once before, but it's a different matter actually DOING it. I sometimes struggle with releasing her in front because when she's not connected, she'll just pop right back up above the bridle. Today's ride was much better - she was *almost* to her perfect point by the end, but not quite. She was much more uniformly good through the entire lesson though, and we worked on stretching mid-workout, which I think was good for her. We had some reallly nice leg yields and some really nice canterwork too, so hooray for that! Vicki pointed out to me that my right side is my weaker side, and it's her softer side too, so my tendancy is to take my leg off and let that rein go slack. She had me take a real feel of it and keep my right leg on, and to let go of the left rein and not let her use that as a hanging/balance point, and that definitely helped. Gogo knows my weak spots, that's for sure! It's not just a matter of letting go at this point... it's capturing and containing that energy. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.... I'm just not totally sure where it is.

Before, in order to get her working through, it was a half hour to 45 minutes of above the bit dinking around, and then 15 minutes to a half hour of really awesome, fluid, perfect work. Now it seems to be an hour of slowly improving, fairly consistantly decent work, because instead of waiting for her to decide to give it to me I've been asking her to give it to me. I definitely don't feel at this point that I could even do a passable Training level test, much less a First or Second level test, but my hope is that we'll both adjust to this new way of thinking, and will become stronger and more through (and maybe, just maybe, turn that ewe-neck into something normal looking....!)

Gogo also got her Adequan Monday night, and a nice lomng handwalk. She's been stocking up fairly dramatically in her hinds (and a little bit in her fronts), so I wanted to see if it corresponded directly to exercise or not. Nope, next day she was still big in the legs! I linimented and wrapped them last night, and they were nice and tight when I took the wraps off this morning, so I have yet to get a picture of it, but I left the wraps off tonight, so perhaps tomorrow (we always hope not, but it will probably happen). It seems to correspond to how deep her bedding is and how much movement she gets, so we'll see if I can tweak this at all. Maybe an evening handwalk is in order...

Also, not related, this is THE worst barefoot vs. shod article ever. GREAT. Way to make barefoot people out to be lunatics, and all other farrier-type people to be totally sane, wonderful folks. Really, not all of us are so violently anti-shoe (I'm anti-shoe but I'm not going to freaking jump down your throat about it!). Not all of us fall into the "NO EXCEPTIONS" category.

Sigh. This is why people all think we're totally crackers. We're not, really we're not. We just want the best for our horses. I had this discussion recently with someone about going as far up the levels as I can with Gogo barefoot, and how we sort of want to pave the way if we can, and they were saying "I hope that doesn't change into 'I WILL pave the way and to hell if I can't!'" Meaning, making my horse suffer at the upper levels without shoes on if she's struggling with height and speed (I hardly doubt this). If it takes shoes to get her to the very top (which I highly doubt is the deciding factor anyway), I told them, and putting shoes on would be the ONLY way to continue to show, then that's when I'll stop. Compromising her health in order to get more ribbons at higher levels goes against everything I believe in, and I won't do it. The second she tells me she can't do it, we won't do it anymore. I want to go as far as we can, within healthy limits. If she's not healthy or happy doing her job, then we'll find a new job.

I just want her to be happy and healthy, that's all.


Sleepy Gogo back at school in OH.

8 comments:

dp said...

That's a great attitude. As a fellow barefoot advocate (not for performance horses specifically but for horses in general) I doubt that being barefoot will hold Gogo back. Rules and regulations, on the other hand...

Beckz said...

Thats ok apology accepted. I was merely saying that seeing as no one I know has barefoot horses competing, especially not showjumping on the grass/clay surfaces we have here, I wouldn't be brave enough to go without shoes.

And that the fact my horses spend 7 months a year ankle deep in mud (No kidding) that their feet wouldn't hold up to it anyway. I have had horses without shoes when they are just coming into work but they get footsore on the rotton rock cow tracks really quicklly. I'm also one of those people who uses studs which I know understand to one of the seven deadly sins, but honestly, in a NZ spring there is no way I would be cantering down to a fence over 3' without them unless I was rally sure they had better grip than it could provide. I'm certainly interested to see how far you get, because I know that a naked hoof is a healthier hoof, I just cannot see how I could reconcile that with what I want to do/ my sport and the environment my horses live in. Huh longer than I expected- sorry!

Clara said...

Don't know if I already left a comment and said this... but I'm new to your blog and I really like it! My mare is barefoot too (and will stay that way until she can't, IF it comes to that). I really like imagining I'm there in the cold weather too... we are getting 30degrees Celsius (not sure on Fahrenheit sorry!) days here and it's just TOO hot!!

Andrea said...

DP: Well, so far there are no rules against horses competing without shoes that I know of (except in the racing industry), so hopefully nobody is going to change that anytime soon...

Clara: Blahh 30C is just the kind of weather I'm wanting.... here it's about -5C and snowing and icing and gross... summer, please come baaaaaaack!

Beckz: That's a very hard thing, when nobody you know if going barefoot so you have a) no idea how successful it might be for your competing horse and b) people look at you REALLY funny sometimes. My horse is currently in ankle deep mud, but I try to keep her out of it as much as I can. Footing and living conditions really can make or break the deal, that's for sure. And I think if a horse is jumping and they're shod, studs are probably a very good idea because shoes don't really seem to give much traction in that wet, slippery kind of weather. It's very wet here in New England, and I'm taking steps to make sure Gogo's feet are as dry as they can be (although research days it is good to let them dunk their feet in wet once a day). It's all just struggling for balance.

Beckz said...

I'm sure I would experiment with one horse, if a) I could find a farrier who had successful barefoot horses and b) had somewhere to stand the horse off out of the mud, but I can't see either of those happening for a good while.

dp said...

Do you compete with hoof boots?

Andrea said...

Nope! I've never even owned a pair of hoof boots... Gogo came out of shoes sound and never took an off step (except I think she was tender on gravel for like... a day), so no boots for us! She handles any terrain I throw at her with gusto, big huge rocks and stuff included, and her traction is always super, no matter how wet or slippery it is. We just got a big dump of snow today and I can't wait to go gallop around in it!!

dp said...

Wow! I think Tonka might be the same if/when he is sound for regular riding, but Raven never will be. As you point out in your most recent post I suspect it's the result of being shod early for racing that makes the TB hoof appear so weak.

Anyhow, if she looks sound again for riding after this hock puncture I will get a pair of Renegades in the spring. Easy boots are OK, but not ideal.