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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rescue Remedy

Today's ride was chock full of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and had several eye-opening mini-lessons all wrapped into one hour and a half session of torture, doom and joy. It was a very unfortunate level of intense, and I feel a very odd mixture of very good and very awful about it.

It started off all right. As I was tacking up, I examined and cleaned up Gogo's chest swelling, which yesterday had gone down a fair amount with work. It was less swollen today, but it again had moved a little bit, and was bunching in smaller pooches, if you will, instead of one big swelling. Remember this... it will come into play later. So, the ride itself started off well. Getting on, I felt that she was slightly hesitent about moving forward - as if her pooches were uncomortable between her front legs. She seemed to stride out of it all right, so we moved up into trot and canter on a loose rein, like we always do. But then I tried something different - instead of going down into the walk and picking her up there, I picked her up in the trot, and what do you know? She stretched right down and gave me the most wonderful warmup-stretchy trot I could have ever asked for. In Vicki's words, "She's perfect, get off!" Of course she didn't mean that, but I half wanted to at that point, three minutes into my trotwork! As our workout progressed, her resistance going left because more and more obvious, and I worked harder and harder to try and get her to release the right side. No avail... she became increasingly tense, and I became increasingly tense right along with her. This began to escalate further and further and further, until we were in an all-out war. It was just a disaster. She was locked in her entire body, and so was I. We were both tense and fighting against each other, and neither of us were winning. An entire hour had passed, and I finally just halted, frustrated with myself and my inability to just let go of my tension and get over it. Vicki walked over, and patted Gogo, who was at that point standing completely immobile and square with her eyes bugging out of her head and champing at the bit. I could feel my entire body rigid with tension. Vicki looked up at me and said, "I think you need some Rescue Remedy!" And I just cracked up. I don't know what was so funny about that, but I just laughed my head off. Suddenly, with that laughter, all my tension melted away, and I felt Gogo relax underneath me. "Want to go do something good now Gogo?" I asked her. "I'll let go of your face, I promise." And I did, and she moved right out perfectly, in a completely relaxed, wonderful way. We did about 10 minutes of completely loose and free w/t/c, and we halted perfectly square at the end. I dropped my reins, gave her a huge pat, and we finished.
The entire time we were doing relaxed work at the end, however, it was very interesting because she was completely and utterly crooked, especially in her front end - her body, head and neck were bent to the right the whole way around the ring, but that was where she was steady and even in both reins, so I let it stay that way for now - that was where we got into our big fight in the first place, me pushing the crooked issue. Tomorrow the chiropractor is coming to adjust her, so I chalked it up to her really, really needing an adjustment, let her be temporarily comfortable in her crookedness, and called it a day. I left her to hang in the crossties for a little while while I rushed off to pick my stalls, and Shannon happened to walk by her with the hay cart. She stopped and looked at her bump, and then exclaimed, "Oh my god!" I came running over, and found that the hesitation I had felt when I first got on had not been my imagintion at all - after 1.5 hours of work, she had completely rubbed the area raw on itself. I was absolutely horrified and felt like I just wanted to drop dead. That was why she was tense, that was why she was crooked, that was why the fight had started in the first place - she was in pain and she just physically couldn't bend left because that was where the rawness was occuring. It was tender and painful, and I feel seriously horrible. I slathered a ton of diaper rash/A&D ointment all over the area, and am making sure to give her at least tomorrow and the day after off, also because the chiropractor is coming.

Lessons learned.... first, listen to your horse. If she's THAT crooked, it's probably not her being ornery, she's probably uncomfortable somewhere. Second, RELAX, and laugh when you feel tense... you'll instantly feel better and so will your horse. Third, sometimes you just need to compromise and really just work together with your partner instead of going along and thinking your horse is going to conform to whatever you want to do. Sometimes, you need to conform to them and work it out that way.

Poor Gogo... I feel really horrible. I mean REALLY, REALLY horrible. She was hurting, and she was trying to tell me, but she did the very best she could for me and I just wasn't listening. Much doctoring will happen over the next week, I am sure. I'm hoping everything gets sorted out in her body with the chiropractor, and that this swelling goes away soon. We have our first jumper show on the 14th, but we'll only be going if our bodies have decided to heal themselves. I think we'll be okay by then, but you never know.



manymisadventures said...

Aww, poor girl!

I always feel bad when I have rides like that - things just spiral out of control and everything gets worse and worse and we keep fighting. Then something triggers a tension release in me, I relax, and we get beautiful work for a little while. It's like the horse is saying "FINALLY, you give me something to work with!"

It's a little different with her chest-lumps here, though. :(

I am sure she will forgive you - she was trying hard for you, and now that you know what's up, you won't ask her to do it again. Here's hoping the lumps go away soon, and don't be too hard on yourself...we all miss things sometimes.

Netherfieldmom said...

Use Corona, in the red and gold can or tube. It's amazing.

Meghan said...

Oh, the guilt! I know I struggle with it. Once, the day after a great lesson, I rode alone, expecting to get the same excellent results, and instead the ride was a disaster because I neglected to take into account the fact that the lesson had been a long one (probably an hour and a half) and the gelding had worked hard, and then had been used in another lesson right away (just a longe lesson for a little tiny kid, but still). I was crying so much afterwards that when I got home, my mom thought that I had fallen off, or the gelding had gotten a horrible injury or something. At least now you've gotten a reminder to stop and think when you're running into resistence. And try to remember that GoGo's life is so much better than many other horses' lives because she has you. Lucky-A-GoGo! ;)

I really love your blog - it's the second one I read, right after Dressage In Jeans.

Funder said...

OMG, I'm so sorry! Hugs, she'll forgive you. At least it's cold so the flies aren't out.

One time I used a saddle pad that fitted my saddle, and saddle bags than hung out behind the saddle, and (cringe) rubbed Silky's back raw. I felt like SUCH a shithead. It happens, even to the best intentioned people.