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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Gonna Be A Happy New Year

My dear readers, 2009 is fast approaching. Only a few short hours and this wretched year will finally be over and done with, and I can kick it the hell out the door and welcome in 2009 with open arms. 2008 had some really incredible, shining moments.... but the rest of it was rather horrible. Everything with Gogo was just AWESOME though. And getting engaged was awesome. And going to Costa Rica was awesome. And graduating and getting the HELL out of college was awesome. But pretty much all of my final semester as a college kid? Awful. Last summer, aside from riding/barning/showing? Awful. This fall? Awful. Weeks and months of dragging misery punctuated with shining moments of sheer joy and pure genious.

And Gogo. Oh, Gogo. We had a really good year, and that made it all worthwhile. Last December I decided that I was going to the AECs come hell or high water, and I was going to top 10 in my division. All my thoughts were bent on that one goal, and everything I did from January 1st on was geared towards attaining it. And it just goes to show that with a little luck and a LOT of hard work, it can be done.

January was our 'starting over' period. Gogo had three weeks off over holiday break, which was supposed to be five but she literally was dismantling the barn piece by piece with boredom, so we went back to work early. Tons of lunging in the Faux-ssoa, lots of gentle under saddle work, continuing to soothe all the mental issues the nutso trainer lady had given her in 2007. She really started to change early on in the year, and February was filled with much of the same trust-building, including our first ever jumper shows (got only 5th places at both of them!) and weekly jumping lessons with my all-time favorite jumping instructor, Bud. Gogo jumped her first ever 3'6" fence in February, and we were ready for more in March. Our first rated dressage show of the year was also in March, where we made our First Level debut (went out at Training 3-4 and First 1-2) - and won our first ever First Level class with a 69.66%, which also earned us our first ever Reserve Champion ribbon! Our judge at that show was none other than the legendary Marilyn Payne who also judged the eventing dressage at the Olympics this past summer... and if an Olympic judge is giving me neary 70% then I must have been doing SOMETHING right! (She just RAVED about Gogo.... so proud!!) We also, in March, even tried our hand at rated hunters - and what do you know, we actually placed. April came the crown jewel of dressage shows in our area, the Lake Erie College Dressage Prix de Villes, a team competition which we were SUPPOSED to have all in the bag.... but Gogo was in violent heat due to a stallion being in the barn, and it ended up being, well... kinda scary! But the rest of the time, she was just awesome. In May I went to Costa Rica for three weeks, and came back to find that my horse had lost a lot of weight and condition (I later learned it was the barn manager starving her, but I didn't know this at the time). We started in on a long journey of trying to find decent barns and getting our conditioning back... her dressage suffered and it wasn't easy getting it back. June brought Gogo's 7th birthday! and our first combined test, at Novice, where we won with a 26.0 on our dressage score. It also brought our first real event of the season, the Encore H.T., where we were in first after dressage with a 38.5 (I know, right?) in a total DOWNPOUR, complete with thunder and some lightning. We had one rail in stadium which dropped us down to 3rd, but that still was our first qualifying score. July brought the South Farm H.T. and our first ever WIN at an event - a 26.6, with an amazing dressage score of 22.6!! We had another rail though, and I was starting to look for problems. We took her in July to the Equine Specialty hospital, where we was scoped (no ulcers, just the barn manager starving her!) and she was also diagnosed with the very mild beginnings of hock arthritis in her right hock. D'OH! We started her on Cosequin and Adequan, and still been doing the trick several months later! We also had lots of fun trail riding, including one epic journey into the nearby local town to ride through the drive-thru at Wendy's.... mmm chocolate frosty! August brought three more horse shows, Hunters Run H.T. (our second 1st place on our dressage score of 33.0!), Erie Hunt & Saddle H.T. (2nd place, 32.5, less than half a point behind the leader, on our dressage score), and the South Farm Beginner Novice Area Championships, where we WERE in 1st place after dressage with a score of 28.5, until Cracker McNutsopony had a wild runout on x-country for the first time.... BLAH! Gogo also went swimming for the first time :) September arrived, and we were finally ready - the AECs were here, and we had worked very hard all year long for this moment in time. Our dressage was a bit wild (7, 7, 7, 2, 7....) but we still managed a score of 33.0 somehow, putting us tied for 9th. After THE most amazing x-country run ever (over a very challenging course), we moved up to 7th, and after a lovely clear staidum round, we moved up to 6th (and into the prizes!) It was INCREDIBLE and I can't wait to go again this coming year. Just think about how awesome our score would have been without that 2! We moved back to Michigan in early October in order to actually find me a REAL job instead of just playing horseshow all the time, and much of October was spent doing dressage, hillwork, and jumping - I was at my friend Danielle's facility, and it was just lovely (AND they actually fed my horse... you'd think feeding horses with pre-measured grains would be easy, but no, the other two barns couldn't/wouldn't....) and it was a bummer to leave it. November brought a move to Connecticut, and this past December has been spent doing lots of quality dressage work with Vicki, as well as jumping and lunging in the chambon. Can't wait for this weather to get better!!!

Well, that was really long. I have more to blog about that is relevant to actual current riding events, but as for now, I need to go plan out my New Year's fiesta... if there is one at all!

From Gogo and I:
HAPPY NEW YEAR and may all your 2009 riding hopes/goals/dreams come true!


sylvia said...

happy new year to you and gogo!!

manymisadventures said...

Happy new year!

I just wandered over here from another blog and I'll definitely be following your adventures in 2009. I've been working slowly but surely into the eventing world and it's nice to read about someone else who's already there!