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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Saturday, October 3, 2009

End of September Analysis (and a video of XC)

As I sit down to write this post, I realize that this is going to be a bit of a harder thing to work on temporarily, my goals, because I can no longer fit them to myself and what I really want to do. One can set them, and a timeline too, for a recooperation; in the end, however, it is up to the body. I was so diligent and dedicated to Metro's recovery, and still he ended up in a hole instead of back with me as a riding companion (or even a pasture companion). Gogo's prognosis is a million and one times better than his ever was, though. She has a minor lesion in her LH SDFT that we caught the same day it happened. He has a black hole the size of Jupiter in his low LF suspensory that went undetected by vets for four months, maybe longer. With the upcoming PRP, Dr. C said she expects Gogo to "heal and never look back." And I am very hopeful.

September Goals: 1) Successfully complete the AECs on our competitive dressage score, and have a total blast doing it. (I still want to be top 10.)
Well... what can I say about this goal? In all honesty, in my heart, I feel like we achieved it in an indirect way. Had we finished on our dressage score, we would have been 4th out of 40. Had we even gotten a rail, we still would have finished 6th. Even with our, erm, not so excellent dressage test, we still put some of those four-star riders to SHAME! We would have been the top finishing adult amateur by a huge margin - the closest adult ammy behind me finished something like 11th or 12th. I was totally surrounded on all sides by professionals - me, the kid who tried her hand at an unrecognized Training years ago with Metro just once, and that's it. And what I still can't believe is that Gogo seriously hurt herself out on XC, but she kept going. I know there was the adrenaline factor and all that, but after viewing the video and seeing the labored-but-determined look on her face in all the photos, there's no way she couldn't have been hurting. Which I will feel horrible about til my dying day, but at the same time, she really proved her guts and heart of gold to me out on course that day, because she just kept going. She went to the AECs and she gave it everything she had and more, negotiating what was far and away the most complicated XC course she'd ever run, and she never so much as hesitated anywhere. The injuries she sustained were horrible, and a bit freakish (it was the last thing I'd expect on totally flat, aeravated ground from a horse who'd been galloping XC on soaking wet, slippery hills all summer with never a slip), and we had no choice but to pull up after them. But we didn't go and bomb or suck or fail. She gave it everything she had and then some, and tried to keep going even when her body couldn't. We proved that we really were worthy of playing with the biggest of the big boys. I've never, ever been prouder of this mare.

October Goals:
1) Travel to Tufts and have a successful PRP procedure performed
2) Keep Gogo'a life as interesting as it can be while stuck in a stall!
3) Transplant once again, this time from CT to MI, safely and successfully

And yes, it's true. Gogo, Ti, Greta and I are moving back home to Michigan for some well needed R&R time. I am financially wrecked at this point after all these unforeseen vet bills, and while I was certainly prepared as much as I could have been for whatever accidents might have happened, the culmination of hocks/belly/lyme/emergency vet calls for violent vaccine reactions/tendons have set me back thousands of unforseen dollars that I struggle every day to earn. I'm literally starving at this point, because as a working student/barn slave, I just can't make it work any more. I mean, I'm living on tea when I'm hungry because I need to fill my belly with something, and I have nothing else left. (The pets, however, get the best food money can buy.) These kinds of positions are not designed to make it work financially. They really are much better suited to kids whose parents still pay for everything under the sun (gas, food, etc), but not for fresh out of college and dirt poor kids like me. And my parents do more than enough for me, much more than I deserve financially at this point, and I really can't thank them enough for it. I'm wrecked enough as is. At this point, a working student job is just not what's best for me, or for Gogo, or for my other pets. I need a real career. Just what exactly I'll be doing immediately, I don't know. We'll be back in Michigan sometime between mid-October and early November, depending entirely on Gogo's PRP procedure and how soon I can safely transport her a long distance after it is done. I might go back to Ohio, I might not. I might go to New Hampshire for all I know! We're taking it one day at a time temporarily, just trying to keep her stable and everything intact. But the time for future planning is now, so I've got some real soul searching to do. A dressage barn is not a place for an event horse going above Novice, it's just not. The people here are great and I love them, and I'll miss this place a lot. But I just can't make it work here, and I'm going in circles trying to keep my finances intact while not starving (obviously the starving part is currently happening... so it's failing). My parents are gracious enough to let my loser self stay at their place for a little bit while I sort out my finances and get myself back on track, and I count myself pretty lucky in that regard. We'll get it back together, I've no doubt in my mind. We just both need downtime for our bodies to heal. Right alongside hers, my own is failing me a little more every day, and even yoga today couldn't unkink my back. I'm in pain right now, just sitting the way I am. I need a good chiropractor, a supportive bed, and some time off. Then it's back to, well, the rest of life. I need to be careful though. My back needs a lot of work, and if I want to go into the alternative farrier field (which I really do), I'm going to need it intact and pain-free. Yes, R&R is exactly what we both need right now. I'm looking forward to a few weeks of just relaxing and getting it all back on the right path again.

And now, without further ado, the video Alex shot from the XC at the AEC. And in this little blurb, right before the 4th fence, you'll see where we think she did the damage. You have to pay close attention, because it happens so fast it's easy to miss, but she slides while voicing her minor objections to my half-halt. But then, voila! She keeps going like it's no big deal. The first thing you'll see is the 3rd fence, which goes well (I gave her some stick action but didn't need it), then we lope down to the 4th fence, where the slide happens, but then she hops over the 4th like it's no big deal. She sets herself up nicely for the 5th fence, the FISH!, does a perfect change before it, and then bops through the water and sort of heaves herself awkwardly out of it, but makes it just fine. She hasn't schooled an upbank out of water in well over a year, just because we haven't been able to. (Remember being at a dressage barn during a very, very rainy summer.) If you listen closely, you might be able to hear the announcer say something about 'of course they're through the water, this mare likes to play in the kiddie pool at home!' I heard her as I was going through, and it cracked me up. Not sure what got picked up on this shotty video though... I dunno if you can hear me out of the water giving her the repeated "Good girl, good girl!! either!

Oh mare. She's the best.

One last little thing - comparisons of her legs the day after the injury (9/13), and on 9/19 and 9/20:

They're by no means normal, but considering that was just one week out from the injury, that's a pretty amazing change. Yikes.

I also got a little pick-me-up from Jennifer too, but I haven't actually gone yet to, well, pick it up, so that's for the next post ;)


Cathryn said...

Like you said about her XC run, it doesn't even look like she's in pain. I seen the slide, which looked awkward, but she isn't showing any signs of hurt - she has her game face on.

Glad that you are giving yourself some TLC, you deserve it.

I wish all the best for you and Gogo in the future.

Anonymous said...

While she's on stall rest, for fun you might try some clicker - I've just started exploring it using Alexandra Kurland's book The Click That Teaches - it's pretty fun and a great way to keep a confined horse entertained.

Good luck with GoGo's procedure!

Jen said...

Sorry to hear about everything that has happened go Gogo. Hopefully she'll pull through and be just fine. And you're right, you both need some R&R. Both of you get some rest and you'll be back up in no time!

Karma Anais said...

Great summary post. I love your monthly goals and changing them to meet your circumstances. Sometimes you just need to step back and re-group. Congrats on making it to AEC. Good luck on the recovery for both of you.

Meghan said...

GoGo looks amazing in the XC video, and I think you definitely achieved your goal for the AECS, albeit indirectly. And it's great that you have access to a procedure that will help Gogo "heal and never look back". Sounds good!

It sounds like you are working on doing what you need to do. Just remember to take care of yourself, too!

Dressager said...

Amazing changes in the legs. And amazing run. I was able to see the slide after rewatching three times haha! I'm horrible at that kind of stuff, observation and all.

It sounds like you are making a very good move towards your future as well as Gogo's. If you ever want to move on, sometimes you have to actually move on. A farrier! That would be an awesome job!!! Good luck, as always.

OnTheBit said...

I hear your pain loud and clear. I got so far into saving my horses life that I forgot what it was like to not have to give up everything. I got SUPER creative when my horse was hurt when it came to meals for myself. If you want I can give you some recipies for $10 or less that will feed you at least 6 meals. I wish you didn't have to give up a position that seemed to be working so well for you. You have to do what you have to do. I am just so sorry that all this had to happen the way it has.

jacksonsgrrl said...

Andrea- It is what it will be. And my hope for you and Gogo is resounding success for many years to come. Some of the winners at Rolex had 18 year old horses, what's G. 7? I pray that this is all a blip (albeit a learning one!) on the timeline of your life!
If you need food, send me your address, I'll send you some canned/dry goods, I'd rather help a fellow rider than the local foodbank! Of course, if you ever came by way of Texas you'd have to give me an analysis of J's feet! I'm planning on getting Renegades soon (next trim) as the rock here is insane. What is your standing on them for very rocky situations? Renegades or something else? R's are supposed to be amazing, AND are what my barefoot farrier recommends...
Stop looking back at one slide you could have done NOTHING about, risk is inherent in this sport...we all know it. You have a horse that took the rest of the fences JUST FOR YOU, and a bond like that, well, the sky is the limit! Change is hard, but we must change in order to survive!
Good luck Andrea! And really, I will send me at with address.

Anonymous said...


I'm so sorry that you're having such a hard time right now. It's too bad that equine injuries always have both an emotional AND financial impact.

The leg looks tons better, so that's great news. As you know, reducing swelling is a big, important first step.

As for the video, that slip looked like a "normal" slip. I would not have been alarmed either. While you can maybe tell that she's a bit off after the slip when watching the video with the benefit of hindsight, there's no way I would have picked it out if I didn't already KNOW that she had been injured. Plus, it is REALLY hard to feel hind end lameness at the canter...even more so when the horse is amped up for competition.

Again, I'm really sorry that you and Gogo are going through this right now. Try to take it one day at a time and appreciate the little successes as you struggle through the healing process.


Yankecwgrl said...


Andrea and GOGO will be names that we hear in the future, possibly over the TV during the olympics or something! For sure you will be featured on the 20?? Rolex dvd!

Jacksonsgrrl is so right about the amazing bond between you and gogo! That is NOT something every horse and rider combo have. That is a very special thing!

Keep your chin up. Get your mare better, get yourself better, and there will be great things in your future!
Who knows, maybe you can go train with one of the 'big boys' you were hanging with (and I do mean WITH, not lagging behind) at that event!

-Jennifer and Casper

Nicku said...

While I am sorry to hear about all the struggles, I am happy to hear that you are putting some life changes into action. It's tough but that shows a lot of smarts and maturity to know when it's time to move on :) I think spending some time regrouping and deciding on a career is the perfect thing to do while you have some down time. I guess I try to just be grateful that I get to own a lovely horse and have the problems in the first place (we had a ridiculously challenging summer medically too), that usually helps keep things in perspective for me. Thanks for continuing to tell your story!

Andrea said...

Thanks for all the good thoughts :) and Jacksonsgrrl, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the offer but I thankfully will be heading back to some good home cooked meals and will not need assistance in fighting off my starvation :) I have SOME money, I just need it for other things, like gas to get to Tufts. Much more important than eating you know.

Anonymous said...

I was catching up on my blog reading and saw the pictures of gogo's legs. I know that you weren't trying to show off her hooves, but wow I am jealous. I just can't help but stare at them. They look AMAZING! I have dreams about hooves that look this healthy and natural. Hope gogo is feeling better, good luck with recovery!