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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tarsus Catharsis.

That was a clever title wasn't it?

Well, today was a try-again from yesterday's not-so-hot lesson where my emotions all finally caved in on me after several weeks worth of poor sleep, a demolished apartment, and a messed up relationship. Today I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with her, but I ended up having a lesson at 2 with Vicki. She definitely was holding on to some residual tension from yesterday, as expected, but for the most part she worked out of it. She did have some explode-y moments in right lead canter when a butterfly flew into her face (oh god say it ain't so!!) and she flung her head into my lap and took off, but we got another successful right lead canter shortly thereafter:

There was nothing special or flashy about this ride. We did some lengthenings and some leg yields, but my only goal was to get relaxation, no matter what it looked like. And in that way, I think it was successful.

But. When I watched the video, I was rather upset to finally see what the judges have all been nailing me on in our trotwork - that lack of push from behind. There can be no impulsion without that extra push, and there can be no collection without impulsion. She just has nothing behind at all. Was she being lazy? Was I just taking the relaxation thing too far? One thing is for sure - she didn't move like that last year. There was much more movement in her hocks. She's moving incredibly even at the moment, jumping fabulously, galloping great, and hacking out tirelessly. But she has been having trouble with changes, and just... isn't as flashy as she was. Does that mean she hurts? Uncomfortable? Lazy? I don't know.

I just... don't think I'm going to be able to avoid injections anymore. I was hoping I could hold off til next spring, but I feel as though doing them after Riga, before the AECs, is probably a better idea. I just want to make sure she's comfortable and happy, that's all.

And as for me? I'm a freaking trainwreck right now. Something is going on in my left leg where all the muscles in my lower leg (calf and extensors muscle) are constantly cramped and tense, and while they do tend to improve on and off during the day, whenever I get on a horse my leg cramps again, and I have to unzip my boot and take my foot out of the stirrup. My toe points straight down whenever I do this, and I can't flex my heel back down until it relaxes a little. It's incredibly painful, and it's been making me sit a little bit crooked, which isn't helping the whole situation. I'm going to go the whole Ben-Gay and painkillers route... maybe this will work itself out on its own. I can't figure out what's causing it, and why it's only in this leg if it's a whole body problem (like lack of protein, dehydration, etc).


But we're working hard. We're prepped and primed, even if this week hasn't really been the best. Sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches and forge onward, even if everything around you is in total and utter collapse. She's still one incredible mare, and I'm not a half bad jock. We're still forging ever onward, and we can do this. Against everything that's been going all awry, we can overcome it all. I'm going up there tomorrow to have a good look at the course, and see exactly what we're up against. But there's nothing we can't handle, nothing we can't do if we do it together.

And we're going to kick bootie patootie this weekend and show everyone the mettle we're made of.


Ambivalent Academic said...

Are you getting enough calcium in your diet? I got those weird leg cramps too, and it turned out to be a calcium deficiency - started taking a supplement (I like CitraCal - efficient absorption) and they went away immediately. I don't take a supplement all the time, but when the cramps come back that will send them packing right away.

Ambivalent Academic said...

As for the one leg manifestation for a systemic issue, apparently the unilateral calf cramp is really common with Ca deficiency but nobody can say why.

OnTheBit said...

You know what you need? A theme song! See how helpful I am. I once had a HORRIBLE weekend leading up to a show with my college team. We left on a 9 hour drive at 11pm (after I had classes and work all day). We lived off of frosted sugar cookies and doritos. We had to bring along a girl we all didn't care for. It was a nightmare. And it happened right around the time Daniel Bedingfields song "Gotta get through this" came out and so we decided it would be our theme song for this trip. And every time it came on we would all laugh and be happy...even if it was just for a few minutes.

See how easy it is to solve all your problems? You just need music.

And on a more serious looks like GoGo was just not using her back to my untrained eye. I didn't see any glaring hock or stiffle issue. Just that she was not connected front to back. If you feel better getting the injections though I say go for it. It wont hurt anything but your wallet...and as a horse person you know that money if for those boring people who don't know how fun riding is.

STB Eventer said...

GOOD LUCK! Hang in there and know that things WILL get better. Things might not work out how you want them to, but they will work out. Things happen for a reason and sometimes things we thought we never wanted to happen actually change our loves for the better.

I get leg cramps sometimes and love Hyland's Leg Cramps with Quinine Natural Relief Tablets. They work quite well.

Andrea said...

In all honesty, she's been feeling/looking as though she's been using her back quite well as of late. Today a little less so, as you can see by the video and her pop-up in the transition, but considering she's enormously ewe-necked, one has to work with what one has. There is no glaring lameness anywhere but it is definitely localized to her hocks, and if I were to post a comparison video to last year's dressage work (which I should do) you could definitely tell the difference behind. She's just lost that pep in her step. There was no glaring lameness last year either, just rails down.

So I dunno. She feels very malleable through the back but we've been having increased left bend issues and more difficulty with the right lead, especially today. Chiropractic work has been very helpful but I just don't think it's enough.

Andrea said...

And to AA, you know what, I was on a CA supplement and I ran out of it, and that does seem to coincide with the starting of the cramps.... maybe tomorrow I'll go out and get some stuff!

~Kelley said...

So, what I see is, though I don't claim to be truly expert, she's relaxed. Really relaxed. And I agree with OntheBit, not really using her back, but, well, she's just relaxed. Ya know?

Andrea said...

LOL well that's good cause that's what today's ride was all about! I think I may have taken it a bit to the extreme though and not actually asked for anything beyond relaxation... hence the plodding around. But sometimes with Gogo, you just have to let sleeping beasts lie.

Daun said...

Andrea. Don't make me drive down there and pimp slap you. You have to keep your eye on the LONG TERM GOAL of being successful at the upper levels with GoGo. You are not going to get there if you don't take care of yourself. You obsess over your mare (as you should), but where o where is the Andrea love???

Yes, on the calcium. Probably wouldn't hurt you to get some protein on board as well. And get some sleep, any way you can. Sleep deprivation is a very, very dangerous thing. Chronic problems lead to heart irregularities.

What I saw in the video coincides with what others are saying. She is getting so good at "dressage" that she is losing some of her brilliance. The submission is there, the relaxation is there, but no push. Exactly as you described. She is behind the vertical and her poll is not the highest point. Remember at this level, it's better to be a bit in front and really using the hind end, than to be behind and not even tracking up. I watched that mare leap effortlessly over spreads three weeks ago, she has plenty of push. I don't think she's hurting, I think you need to open her up in dressage. Too much "traditional" dressage can dull a horse (ask Wofford). If she were Brego (woe to the world!), I would do some Karl and get her head UP and her butt under herself. Don't worry about giraffe, worry what's going on in the hind end, and then round out the top. Back to front. You can do this with your mare, you know her, you made her.

Andrea, you are a rock star. Everyone has challenges. Make your goal to go this weekend and give her an honest, neutral ride without emotion and then take care of yourself before the AECs. Steady eddy, that's your name. Shut off your brain and ride, you silly jock.

Kate said...

Don't stress out! Two thoughts:

Have you tried chiro with her - you might try this before hock injections - once you start down the injection road you often can't get off. She's working pretty hard and could have some soreness in back/sacral area that could make her not want to use herself behind.

Two - Make sure you're getting enough calcium and potassium. Calcium citrate tablets and believe it or not, bananas! I used to get bad leg cramps and this worked wonders for me.

And please remember to breathe - a lot!

Kate said...

Of course, now that I read the comments, I see you've tried chiro - maybe try a different chiropractor - different ones seem to do really different things.

And to echo another commentator, maybe the drilling of dressage just bores her and she can't make the effort - when my horse backs up and won't use herself I go to forward first in the ring, which she should like since she is very forward when jumping.

Accendora said...

That transition reminds me of ones my mare sometimes gives me... when she isn't going -quite- off the aid to canter. I've found that doing a check to make sure she is going -exactly- when I tell her to tends to help. She is a red mare, though, so maybe it doesn't work the same way...

Also (more importantly!) I love your blog. The mix of philosophy and training progress and pictures of a beautiful horse are excellent. Good luck at Area!

The Equus Ink said...

You and GoGo are totally aweesome!! You guys have always been a sunday lol, but the great efforts at shows (and at home) has added that cherry on the top!

What Daun said. :) - Don't forget about yourself.

*Sharon* said...

Yeah, I'm with Daun.
And I would be reluctant to start injecting her hocks at her young age. It seems to me that Americans are very keen to do that and don't see it as an extreme move as we do in NZ. Look at some alternatives first - there are very good feed supplements that can help with suppleness etc.
Not that I'm an expert, but it's my two cents worth!

Andrea said...

Yes, I completely agree that Americans are injection happy! No, when she was first diagnosed with changes a year ago, we went the conservative route with Adequan, an oral supplement called Cosequin ASU (do they have these two over there?), maximal turnout, coldhosing, bute when needed, long warmups and cooldowns, ice boots, etc etc etc. I've done everything conservative that I can. Is she hurting? Is she lazy? Who knows?