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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Regular Lessons

Today, we try out a new dressage tool with Gogo that I think actually might help her. When she resisted my contact, what Vicki had me do was widen my hands a little, while keeping my elbows elastic, and pushing her over at the same time with my inside leg out a step or two into my outside rein - which definitely had the effect of softening her. The problem still remains through - she just never got quite as elastic and relaxed in her back in a consistent way, I think because I was attempting to gently manipulate her and it was irritating her. She was really quite good for the most part, but she did still come above where I wanted her to be, and she was only 'taking' me about half of the time. We also didn't do nearly as much as I had wanted to do - we did a few leg yields, and a few transitions, but nothing more really. I attempted to do a few walk-canters with her, and we got one good one right, but going left it was just a huge disaster and I eventually just went back into trot after several failed attempts. We then attempted to do leg yields to canter departs but she just got so hollow during the leg yields that it just never worked out well.

The warmup was going so, so well too. I was there, I was in the zone, so was she. I could see our collective steaming breath in the mirrors as I passed, and it relaxed me. There was a beautiful rhythm, a certain order and cadence that came with our long-rein warmup - exactly the same pattern going left, going right. We were both relaxed, we were both calm, and when I went to pick up the reins she stretched down to meet them more than I expected. We were there, we were going to have the best ride ever... and then the lesson started, and we didn't.

Sigh. She's not been BAD this week per se.... she's just not been as good.

The wind is howling tonight, and it's cold outside... I think we are both glad to be warm and safe inside, her with hay piled to her eyeballs, me with a blankie and a mug of cocoa with a candy cane in it. Try as I might through, I can't seem to make myself feel the Christmas spirit without my lovely fiancee here to share it with me. I've got Gogo, and Ti, and the Baybit of course, but.... it's just not Christmas without her, and that makes me very sad. I'm glad I have my little pack of critters here... I'd just be a mess without them.

I like being able to go give my horse a goodnight kiss.


LATER EDIT: It is with a very heavy heart that I report that the two school stallions I've loved on and worked with for the past four years were both put down this morning. The older TB stud, Phoenix, has had a very rough past couple of years, between breaking half off his lower jaw OFF by getting it somehow stuck between the bars of his stall to having repeated seizures to getting his behiney kicked when the other stallion jumped out of his own paddock and into Phoenix's. I wasn't really all that surprised about them having to put him down... he was 28 after all, and having a hard time doing... well, everything. He was such an angel though - he was the stud everybody learned how to handle, the 'starter stallion,' because he was SO good and never got rowdy with anybody who handled him, no matter how timid they were. Everybody loved him and his fake grouchy faces. The other stallion, Absolut, was an absolute NIGHTMARE and we all had quite the love/hate relationship with him, but it was still a bit of a shock to hear that he had also been put down - he was apparently having trouble urinating this past semester, and when they did a rectal on him, they found an enormous mass in his bladder, and thankfully they felt it inhumane to keep him alive and suffering.

So RIP you two studdykins. I have such memories of both of them.... I spent years and years in the stud farm program (my completed major, concentration and subsequent degree) and spent so many hours spent with these two, both in the shed and caring for them outside of it. I think my favorite memory of Absolut was the time I had to lead him around in our arena for a group of alums that came to visit - truly frightening, seeing as nobody ever led him ANYWHERE except to and from the breeding shed. Trying to trot him out was a bit of a nightmare, seeing as all he kept doing was bolting in front of me, turning towards me, and rearing. And I mean Black Stallion rearing, with his feet over my head! All the alums seemed very impressed, like it was some special trick I was making him do. Yea right!

My favorite memory of Phoenix (and I have so many) was when I was on foal watch with my friend Alaina, spending the night in the stud farm lab on cots with a baby moniter on the countertop. We were dozing lightly when we saw Lexi, the mare, start stirring and kicking her wall, and we heard weird nickering and grunting noises over the baby monitor. When we opened the lab door to investigate, lo and behold there was PHOENIX trying to tease this heavily pregnant mare at 2AM, the old creep! Somebody had forgotten to latch his stall door and he had escaped, and then ran all over the barn while we spent a good long while trying to catch him in our PJs. What a night!

Phoenix, my dear old man:

RIP, Fifi and Abby. I'll miss you and will cherish all you've taught me.

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