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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Your girl, she's a renegade, a hurricane that keeps you there safe...

Not horse related: everyone in the world should go download the song "Look Up" by Stars. Because I said to. Because it's so wonderful it makes me cry.

So anyway. Dover FAILS! Remember when I said something about ordering a sheet that never turned up? Well, it turned up. It's been in the Lake Erie College mailroom for two months, just chillin'. WHY they sent it THERE is a million miles beyond me. I haven't lived on campus for three years now, and I KNOW I've ordered other stuff from Dover since then.

My schedule seems to be fussy on Mondays sometimes... meaning it changes when I don't mean it to. It's generally supposed to be a dressage day, but it NEVER seems to end up being one, or at least a successful once. Sundays are jump days, because all the clients that come that can't seem to steer around jumps aren't around on Sundays, but this particular Sunday all of the jump standards were PLOWED IN by the snowplow guy. Literally, plowed in. Gone. So covered with snow that you couldn't see them. I should have gotten a picture of the enormous mound of snow covering them. The other thing on Sunday was the fact that Vicki was doing a Pony Club clinic - a MILLION Pony Club kids and their hairy little ponies trailered in and took dressage lessons with her all day. This clinic ended at 4pm, which was lame because on Sundays I get off of work between 2:30-3pm. So instead, I went on a conditioning hack out on the roads for an hour. I wanted to go for two hours originally, but the gorgeous day disintegrated pretty rapidly once I was out there, and with the incoming clouds came a huge plummet in temperature. I did about 10 minutes of trotting, mostly in an effort to keep both of us from freezing to death! Winter needs to be over, seriously. I'm not totally sure about trotting around on paved roads for any length of time either. I don't really know what kinds of hurt this can cause in the barefoot horse, but I personally have felt the shin splits I get from jogging/walking on pavement for any long period of time, so hm.

Monday was supposed to be a dressage day, like I said, but once again it did not end up working out that way. Instead, Elisa (who actually owns the jump standards) went and dug them all out with a shovel, and declared Monday night jump night for the week. And I said what the hell, me too! The problem with jumping with these two is that they have a four year-old and a horse coming back from an injury, so the only thing they set up was a crossrail with a pole before it and after it (set up for the trot) and a tiny square oxer with a pole before and after it. Boring. The distance they set the oxer up for was confusing to Gogo at first, and not set for a horse with an enormous stride and a hot head, and she flailed through it a couple of times before finally putting it together. She and I really need to do some more complicated gymnastics, because things like this aren't helping.

And today we had a dressage lesson, which actually went quite well. She started off very relaxed for a change, then became more up and tense as we started to work on more complicated things. It's becoming increasingly obvious... sometimes, my horse really just does NOT take a half-half well. Sometimes, a half-half just causes her to drop her back, disengage her hind end, and crank her neck in and up, which is just an ugly feeling and an ugly picture. But when she's totally through (and I mean she has to be TOTALLY through), half-halts go through to her and compress her quite nicely. I guess that's exactly how everything is with her though.. done at the wrong time and it's a disaster, done at the right time and it's brilliant. Gogo, can't you ever be mediocre? Anyway, we attempted to challenge her with an exercise that really unfortunately got the best of her at the trot, but that she finally understood at the walk. We started going down the long side in shoulder-in, let the shoulder-in come off the rail and into the second track, and then bring the shoulder-in back onto the track with the positioning still there - sort of thinking about it like doing a reinback in shoulder in, so that the haunches are still the first thing that make it back to the track. It REALLY engages the outside hind leg, and encourages the horse to really take the outside rein. This was WAY too much backwards thinking for Gogo however, who, in her Gogo way, panicked about it and threw herself around for awhile in an attempt to escape my outside rein. We slowed it down to the walk and tried again, and she continued to be a bit panicky about it until she finally got one or two really good steps of it, and with a lot of hearty praise suddenly realized that she understood what I was asking and could do it perfectly. Mares! That's just how she is though - if you introduce something new it really needs to be in bite-size chunks, or else she doesn't understand and completely acts out against it. And the second she makes a step in the right direction, you HAVE to tell her she's done the right thing, because she instantly relaxes when she realizes you aren't going to snatch her in the face or rip on her or whip her or whatever other number of horrible things she's had done to her in the past that these fearful responses must trigger in memory. Patience, patience, patience. And then, after we finished with that exercise, I just went off and did transitions between all three gaits. A million of them. It's good to end with something simple that she knows well, that gives her confidence to do. And they were AMAZING, and the quality of her gaits was AMAZING. We finished with that, and a few more textbook shoulder-ins. She felt SO good at the end. I love ending a ride with that.

Gogo is a brave horse. She's not a nervous, flighty animal, not in ANY sense. She really just does have moments of total panic under saddle related entirely to memory, I think. Not to mention she is totally prone to fits of belligerence. God, but she's been hot here. Hot, hot, HOT! I really think the Ultium has a lot to do with it. It really just is a high octane feed.

Tomorrow, we're going to see if we can dig up a chambon and revisit the lunging incident from last week. And trust me, I've learned my lesson... if this new chambon breaks, LESSON OVER!

By the way, I got an e-mail today with a link to an article about biotin. Being as OBSESSED with feeding the hoof as I am, I found it super informative and think you all should go read it too.


JJ said...

What did you think about the equine program at Lake Erie College?

It is one of the three colleges I am looking into, the other two being University of Findlay and William Woods University

A lot of people say it isn't worth it to go to school to learn about horses, that the only way to learn is intern....What do you think?

Alighieri said...

Dover always fails, yet I continue to buy from them because they have things I need. When I bought my horse, it took them two months to ship the blanket I bought for him. Meanwhile I had to beg a loaner blanket from the woman I bought him from b/c I was not about to send his completely clipped butt (including legs, go figure) wearing nothing out into 10 degree weather, which Kentucky obligingly provided at the time!

I'm amazed how you mare people deal with mare meltdowns; moments like that make me want to smack them as if I am slapping a woman to break her out of hysterics...doesn't usually work so well. :-)

Anonymous said...

Vote for no no no not ever findlay.


In other news:

'In the mailroom, just chillin'.'

:) I think those would be the exact words I would have used, too.

About the paved road comment, I've been seeing that a lot because... yup, they cause splints in horses. Hard work in young horses, or a lot of work on hard ground can cause splints. I don't think walking or short trot bits hurt though (look at carriage horses... and they have a lot of weight being thrown down on those legs!) That's just what I've been reading through so far, but I thought I'd toss my two cents in. I treat riding on pavement with the same irrational fear I used to treat bandaging--which is a good thing I got over THAT particular fear! lol
Odd though, because I used to run a lot of track on really crappy surfaces, including the road, and it never bothered my legs personally. I think it has to do a lot with the tracking of your feet... the closer to 'ideal' it is, the better off you'll be. If you roll your weight to the inside or outside of your shoe, walk 'duck footed' or 'pigeon toed'... your chances for shin splint increase tremendously.
But, that's just what I know about people.
I ramble. ^^;

Anonymous said...

And, I'm dumb.
Very interesting read on biotin.
Me and my pharmacist-silly-mom conversed lengthily about the Biotin, before we decided to put Key on it (when he had the bout of laminitis. They took X-rays, and at 5 years old they said he had the damage of a heavily worked race horse. EEK.). Key had terrible, terrible hooves, and he'd been bred and owned by a farrier for 4 years before changing hands to ours. They cracked horribly, would not hold shoes, and he had to wear racing plates because the steel ones often used in the pleasure industry with the clips on the side were too heavy. Just, bad. He had shoes on all four feet, but after he ripped one off in a stall and tore 1/3 of his hoof off with it, I pulled the plug on shoes.
You can guess that in the beginning, he was not thrilled.
But, we stuck with it. He got glue-ons at NB, which I can't say enough good things about for rehabbing feet--no nails!--and he was put on Master's Hoofblend.
Anywho, we talked about biotin, how it was absorbed/made/obtained. Although there are no none deficiencies, mom explained that sometimes, some bodies do not absorb vitamins well. Plenty in the system, but they're not all being put to work. Which means if you flood the system, you have a better chance of it being absorbed. Also seeing we don't often feed alfalfa and the grass is that of a 5 acre pasture (not ... quite.. what a wild horse would get), supplementing it with important amino acids seemed to be a good idea.
I've never looked back at taking his shoes off. No cracks, no lines, big, solid hoof wall and plenty of fresh hoof growth. I know that for several months they looked just plain terrible, so I attribute it to the supplement. Could it be a waste? Maybe, but it my mind it's not worth it to play games with his hooves and take him off for a year to 'see what happens'.
Again, I ramble. All in all, what I meant to come down to is that supplementation works for some horses... and not for others. Which we know already.
Chock full of ideas, I know. ;)

jacksonsgrrl said...

I am soooo angry at Dover right now! Sent me a size 6.5 boot when I ordered a freaking 9!!! SOOOO I am still waiting for my $150 boots and wearing shreds of old Ariats until they get here. ARRRGGHHH.