Custom blog header by Bre!

In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Monday, August 10, 2009

Udder Madness (or, How Gogo Got Felt Up by a 10 Year-Old)

Gogo and I have had a fabulous couple of days. Call it luck, call it diligence, call it a miracle, call it whatever you want, but Gogo's making a rapid turnaround. She's been absolutely marvelous these past two rides, and her attitude has completely brightened. Either the Doxy has finally started to really kick in, or the addition of the aloe juice and MSM has made her feel right as rain. I started her only two days ago on the concoction (1/2 cup aloe juice + 1 tsp. human-grade MSM mixed in and poured over breakfast and again at dinner), and perhaps it's just coincidence, but when I pulled her back out of her stall after breakfast on that first day, she was brighter eyed than she's been in some weeks now. I couldn't believe it.

That is one happy face. Compare that to this picture taken a few days ago. Astounding, really. With that change in attitude in mind, I tacked up yesterday for my conditioning hack, VERY interested to see what her attitude would be under saddle. Given the fact that we've had more rain and I was scheduled to gallop today, I didn't want to tear the fields up, so I opted to do something I've been avoiding - doing the trot part of our hack on the road. I worry, with all the roadwork that we do, about excess wear on her bare feet, so I try to be careful about it. Her feet have held up to to it just fine, but they're maintaining themselves exactly where they want to be and have not grown excess, so there isn't much wall to wear down. With that in mind, I attempted something decidedly out of the ordinary for me. A former boarder and fellow barefoot enthusiast had a pair of Easyboot Epics for her old horse, and they didn't remotely fit her new horse but did fit Gogo when she gave them to me to try. I've never used them before and wasn't really all that keen to try. I didn't like the design of the boot in back - it seemed like the area below the heels inside the boot had a weird raised edge that looked like it was going to crush her heels once she really got going. Preemptively, I wrapped all four feet in vetwrap and duct tape, making sure to REALLY make it secure on her hinds. I expected them to wear off at some point but I figured we'd give it a try anyway.

Well, of course my ingenious design.... fell off of both hinds before we even began our trotwork. So much for that. Oh well, on with the show, right? Right from the get-go, she strode right out, marching happily away from home, seemingly eager to get to work. No hesitations, no slow walk, no spookiness, no nothing. It felt unrelated to boots... it was more of an attitude thing. I was delighted, but we had far to go. She trotted out well in the boots at first, and all seemed well. Hell, she was striding out better than ever before, even! Yay boots! Except then... she started feeling funny. Then she started limping. Then she started seriously hobbling! I, of course, went OH GOD WHAT DID SHE DO, and stopped and jumped right off. I pulled off both boots, and examined her feet. No damage anywhere, thank god, but she seemed much happier with them off, so I trotted her in hand to see - and she was fine. I got back on and trotted out, and tada! No more hobbling. She moved out in an increasingly forward and happy way without them, so NOT yay to the boots! I abandoned them on the side of the road and left them there, though I did go back and retrieve them today. Safe to say, I will NOT be using them again. They'll go on Ebay and some other person can deal with them. I DO want to invest in a pair or two of boots at some point, I know I will need them SOMEDAY. But until I can afford some Renegades I think she will just go on with her bad bare self. She has yet to give me indication that she can't get along without them just fine.

Our 25 minutes of trotwork ended with a happy, bright, and forward horse. We continued on our merry way for some time, walking along with purpose, enjoying the cloudy, grey afternoon for its lack of serious heat and mugginess (two things we've been getting a LOT of lately!). We ventured down a sideroad we don't often take, and that was where things got VERY interesting VERY fast.
I happened to pass a house with a pool in the backyard, as many of the houses in our area do, but this one on this particular day was filled with a whole bunch of kids having a pool party. When they saw me, all I heard was "HORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!", and turned just in time to see these kids multiplying and come pouring out of the woodwork - kids streaming out of the house, kids flying up from the pool, kids running up from behind the house... there had to be 30 of them all in all. And here they come, SPRINTING at top speed, ALL of them all at once, all SCREAMING at the top of their lungs. A lesser horse would have quailed at the very sight, but Gogo stopped and stood like a rock and ignored them for the most part. They all ran up in front of me and started shouting nonsensical questions all at the same time, like "What's that thing poking out of her foot?" Um... that's her hoof.
While I am answering all these millions of questions, unbeknownst to me several of these little hellions have snuck up directly behind my horse and are all now gathered mere inches from her hind end. Had Gogo been any other horse, it would have been Kiddie Massacre, but she did not even flick an ear to give me any indication that somebody might be back there, so I noticed nothing until I heard a smack and felt her butt vibrating. I turned out to see the kids were now taking pictures of themselves slapping her on the ass, and apparently the look of horror on my face was hysterical because they all started laughing maniacally. And before I could even open my mouth to say anything, suddenly there's another kid who appears on the OTHER side of her with a dumb question. I couldn't make this up if I tried: the kid asked, "Is this a boy or a girl?" and REACHED UNDERNEATH HER and GRABBED HER UDDER. AND HE PULLED. And bless her lil' Gogo heart, she did not move a muscle. As I am trying desperately to herd their little barefoot selves away from my horse's rear end (pool party remember? about to get their feet crushed!), one of the little ones asks if he can give her a handful of grass. I said yes, somewhat absentmindedly as I am rather flustered at the fact that NONE of the kids are listening to a word I say when I tell them to back up (I was literally completely surrounded on all sides by tiny bare feet), so what do they do? They ALL started ripping up HUGE chunks of their lawn and started shoving it in my horse's face. So now, Gogo is in heaven and going from kid to kid to kid to kid to kid to kid to kid to kid eating their handplucked grass. Her lips brushed one of their hands apparently, because he started screaming that she bit him, but when I asked if it hurt, he said no, so I told him, "then she didn't bite you. Be careful." Now, one of the kids is asking if I'll run her up and down the road. I said no, but I did agree to trot her for a few steps down the road so they can watch. No sooner had I agreed to this and moved off into a trot than they ALL STARTED RUNNING AFTER HER, and were running up to her and SMACKING her on the ass WHILE SHE WAS TROTTING, all the while screaming and cackling at the top of their lungs. Gogo's eyes got pretty big when the entire pack of horse-eating children started chasing her at high speed, but she was completely sensible about it otherwise, and didn't flinch in the slightest as they tried to get themselves killed behind her. I finally was like, okay I havve to go now, bye!! and wheeled away and trotted off in the other direction, towards a big hill. THEY CHASED AFTER US! So we park trotted off as fast as we could up the hill, until we had left the tired kids far behind. We didn't stop til we got all the way to the top, where I then sat and laughed until I almost cried.

On our way home, we marched past the gallop field and the subsequent rocks and scary staircase at Lynnie's house. These have been a source of complete terror for her anytime we've passed them this past month or two, but I was completely astonished to find that she didn't look at them, ANY of them. Nothing was spooky. She didn't even look at the storm drains, and those are ALWAYS very scary. I couldn't believe it. We reached home with plenty of energy left, and a happy, bright horse. Amazing. Really amazing.

And today? More of the same goodness! It was about 965724959322734 degrees outside with somewhere around a thousand percent humidity, so I ended up waiting until around 7pm to do my gallops. And she was INCREDIBLE. I kept them on the slightly lighter side of tough, as follows:

15 minute walk hack/warmup to field
5 minutes trot
1 minute walk
5 minutes trot
1 minute walk
5 minutes trot
2 minutes walk
4 minutes 350mpm canter
1 minute walk
4 minutes 350mpm canter
1 minute walk
5 minutes 470mpm gallop
15 minute walk hack/cooldown home

She was incredible. She moved right out in her trotwork and made it seem like a breeze, and hopped up into her canter, completely willing to cruise along on autopilot while I worked on the position changes Ann had me do last Friday. They worked remarkably well, I have to say, and I'll tell you what, my thighs were BURNING by the time I was done! The real test was moving up into the 470mpm gallop. Last time we galloped, she was completely spent after only the first canter set, so we finished with a second canter set and chalked it up to feeling crappy after just starting the Doxy. This time, she sprang forward into cruising speed, and maintained it almost entirely on her own. The only times I had to ask for rebalancing were when we came around the corner and down the steeper part of the hill, and when we had to move out again at the bottom of it. She would flick her ears back at me as I asked her to keep going, and pulled away with the lightest of aids and her ears pricked. The 5 minute mark rolled around, and definitely compared to last week I had TONS of horse underneath me still, but sensibly so. When we went to walk home, fresh in my memory was how she has been spooking like crazy before/after our gallops at the rocks and Lynnie's staircase (particularly this ride), so I was completely amazed to find that the rocks were NOT scary, the mailboxes were NOT scary, and Lynnie's staircase was also NOT scary at all. She didn't look at a single one of them. And the one or two things she did look at, she did the exact kind of spooking I've always loved - puts her head down, gives it a good eyeball, and then moves TOWARDS it instead of away from it to get a better look. When she's been spooky lately, she's been doing the typical run away from it kind of spooking. But not yesterday, and not today. Yesterday and today, she was back to my good ol' Gogomare.

We're on the upswing, and it feels so good. I putzed around with her for a good hour or so after we were done, including giving her a liniment bath and parking her in front of two enormous fans while I trimmed her feet (which look gorgeous, by the way). She's one happy chick right now. I don't know if it is the Doxy after all or if the aloe really is the miracle that Tamara said it was for Aaruba, but one thing is for certain. Something is working.

The uptrend is making me REALLY excited for Huntington, and for the AECs. I always had planned on pulling from Huntington if it seemed like it wasn't in her best interests, and I haven't even entered the AECs yet because I need to know that I can get through another full XC course without mishap before I take her all the freaking way to Chicago, but it feels like it's all falling back into place again. I'm starting to get the show bug again too. I was a little burnt out before from all the work I'd been doing around here and all the sleep I had not been getting in return, but life seems to be working itself all out. The vet is still coming Thursday, and we still have yet to see how her dressage goes with this new regime. But I am feeling really, really good about all this. Horses are a rollercoaster, right? There will ALWAYS be ups and downs. Now, we just have to time this particular up with reaching the highest peak on the coaster right at the AECs, and we'll be all set. ;)


Anonymous said...

What a great horse you have to put up with all that! Those kids are lucky they weren't killed - they should have been after all that!

She does look better in the picture - something is working, that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear she's feeling and looking noticeable better! YAY!

I can't believe (well kids are dumb, yes I can) that they grabbed her udder! HOW FREAKING RUDE!

Unfiltered Meghan said...

So, so glad that she's feeling more like her old self. I have to say, though, you're a better person than I am. Those kids would have gotten an earful, and so would their parents. Then again, a kid person I am not.

Meghan said...

I hate kids! The other day I was out at the barn with Sofie, and this other boarder brought out a friend of her's and his three little kids. Sofie was a little weirded out by their disembodied shrieks, but once she saw that they were human she was okay. But she wouldn't take grass out of their sticky little hands. She just stared at them and then wandered away like "No thanks, I'll get my own grass." Smart mare.

I don't know a lot of horses that wouldn't freak out at that many kids chasing them! Goodness, Gogo deserves a freaking MEDAL.

I'm glad GoGo's feeling better! Sofie is much happier now that we've had a barefoot trimmer and a massage therapist working on her for a few weeks. She's still energetic, but she doesn't have that crazy edge she had when her feet were painful. I've been riding her all over, and we're having fun.

SmartAlex said...

My horse is getting used to encountering swarms of little people on our hacks. Now if it had been a swarm of little people on bicycles... yikes.

So glad the Doxy or the aloe is working. It always amazes me when something works. Just when you think that the problem is your imagination and/or has no cure... voila! Results. It just makes sleeping at night so much easier.

Nicku said...

This was a completely entertaining way to start my morning! Thanks for such an amusing post. So happy to hear Gogo is feeling like her old self...Hopefully she doesnt feel too violated by the kiddos, seriously where were their parents?!?!

Dressager said...

Whatever you're doing, keep doing it lol! Gogo looked awesomely happy.

We've tried boots on another horse used in a handicapped riding program before, and they're great if they have a slow, plodding walk. But we put a different pair on a faster paced horse and he kept stumbling all over the place. I know if you get them fitted PERFECTLY they work great. But otherwise.... not really.....

Where were those kids' parents? I betchya Gogo was waiting for your signal to kick the snot out of them! Little twerps. Though, I love kids, and I have no problem with other people (boarders, volunteers, depends on where I'm at lol) bringing their kids out, I just have two policies: they listen to what I tell them and they understand that I and the horses are not here for pony rides. They want to ride, they're going to have to be around horses a LOT more or take lessons.

Ignorant adults in a barn are even more fun. They can act just as bad as the kids!

Gogo sounded like a saint nonetheless.

OnTheBit said...

Holy Shit your mare is a SAINT!

Cathryn said...

What a great horse!
I HATE it when kids come up and just touch everything and ask annoying questions - especially when there are so many of them.

I do pony rides for 4-H and at the end of them, I want to kill each and every child, lol.

Now That's A Trot! said...

Willie was in a funk for the first week or two of doxy, too. His titer showed a strong positive but I didn't observe any Lymey symptoms until starting the doxy. For the most part he seems back to his normal self now, though, and he's got about two weeks left.

I am amazed at the behavior of those kids... The ones we meet are always either too terrified to come close or they touch the horses with a sense of reverence when we assure them it's okay. I think I would have taken my whip across their faces if it had been me... I have MUCH less patience for kids than any of the horses!

eggb4thechicken said...

Wow that's amazing with the kids. I'm not sure if either of my horses would be that great. :/

Jennifer said...

What do you bet we read about one of those kids in the Darwin awards one day?

What a super rockstar girl you have. Gogo takes sainthood to a new level. Very glad to hear that she's feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, I don't know why but I was browsing through eBay at saddles and I came across something that reminded me of you and GoGo:

jacksonsgrrl said...

Hilarious recount of the children encounter, yay for Gogo! I'm not sure Jackson would have tolerated all of that, especially kids hitting his but and grabbing his parts!!!Awesome that Gogo is on the mend, glad to hear you will be going to your shows.

Patricia said...

I'm glad Gogo is feeling better!

I don't think Shorty would have handled that very well. I have qualms about telling kids to get away from my horse, like when a four year old ran right under Shorty at full speed. If she'd been any slower, the kick Shorty fired off would have hit her in the head. She's lucky.

Which begs the question: where were the parents?

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

omg, I must have missed this post..thanks for resharing it. LOL only Gogo would tolerate that! :)