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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gogo's Yearly Demon Possession (or, Happy Belated Halloween!)

The shiny internets have still not retured to the house, but hopefully that situation will be remedied shortly. I want to talk about the Big Brego and our wild ride at the New England Hunter Trials, but that will be for another day. In the meantime, I want to report that Gogo is fine and well for the most part, except for one thing. Every Halloween, Gogo gets possessed by demons.

No, seriously. Every year without fail, something weird happens on Halloween. I actually on purpose avoided working with her last year on Halloween and just gave her a day off instead. This year, however, with working being so hectic I very nearly forgot what day it was and went ahead and long-lined her anyway. And, well, you'll see what happened shortly.

Gogo's Yearly Demon Possessions began in 2006, when I had only had her for about three months. She was just starting to really get the whole steering thing down, and jumping small fences from the canter. So you can imagine my surprise when on this particular Halloween, my instructor Bud upped the ante a huge notch. We were having a lesson in the outdoor at school, and everyone was milling near the gate end of the arena. Three jumps were set up on the centerline, but sideways, so that you had to do a three loop serpentine to take them all, changing directions after each jump. You started at the gate end of the arena, and ended up at the far end. I thought it looked challenging but okay for my green bean. Gogo thought it looked like a death trap. She, who had been perfect the day before, took the first fence and refused to turn left for the second. She wanted to go right, I wanted to go left. We compromised and smashed into the fence bordering the arena. I tried again, with the same result - a fence smashing. Alex has showed up at this point and was watching the lesson, and as we hadn't quite started dating yet I was keen to impress her. The third time around, I cranked as hard as I could on my left rein and we managed to turn left to the next fence. Succeess! We jumped it without incident, and I landed in a strong place for our turn to the right in order to head to the last fence. Gogo, on the other hand, landed left despite my efforts and BOLTED back towards the herd of milling horses. DEAD bolted. No steering, no brakes. Now, my poor roommate was nearest to us on this sweet saint of a chesnut named Sporty. Sporty was not paying attention to the situation, but Nicole was, and as Gogo came steaming towards them she realized we were on a collision course. She started thumping and wailing on Sporty, who sort of went, "did you say something?" Too late - my wildwoman who at that point has lost all steering and brakes smashed headlong into them - totally t-boned poor Sporty, who finally went scrambling. And Gogo? She just kept going - Sporty didn't stop her! I'm pretty sure neither Nicole nor Alex nor Bud nor anybody else who witnessed this event will ever let me live it down.

Fast forward to Halloween 2007. Dr. Giedt and Alex and I are going on a Halloween trail ride yay! Gogo is wearing her witch's hat and everything. She had been an angel the year before (actually, she was wearing her angel halo the day of "the Sporty incident" if I remember correctly..... so I wanted to get more appropriate headgear for the next year), but this year she had on her witch's hat, complete with hair. She had been wearing it for the better part of a week while I was riding her, only I guess that day she actually took it to heart. Off we go on our trail ride, me bareback (of course), and we make it most of the way around. The final hill back to the barn is a big, steep one, and suddenly I find myself riding a rodeo bull - we are running, leaping, plunging, twisting, galloping up this hill. I did not fall off, thankfully, but where did THAT come from?? Surely it was the demons.

Halloween 2008? I convince myself that it is demons and I refuse to work my horse. She instead eats her year Halloween pumpkin treat and we go on our merry way. No demons, because I didn't get on her and therefore saved myself from a violent fate.

And this year? Whoops, forgot about the demon incidents of years past, so I went to long line her at the end of a very long day. Now, I've been long lining Gogo for what, three years now? I started her without handler. I've long lined her all over God's creation. I've never, ever, ever, ever, ever had a problem with it - she's always been an angel. Until this Halloween. We are in the indoor, thankfully, and we are passing a door that had been rattling in the Halloween winds. We pass it once, twice, three times, five times. On maybe time number seven, suddenly it's REALLY SCARY and Gogo goes leaping sideways away from it. She hits the lines and wheels around to face me - and I am cringing watching those legs - and now has caught one of the long lines underneath her saddlepad. She continues to spin, and now has both lines wrapped around her neck, simultaneously strangling her and trapping her... and we all know how she feels about her mouth being confined. She starts to lose it, jigging around, backing rapidly, eyes rolling in her head and mouth gaping. Somehow, by the mercy of the gods of long lining I managed to soothe her with enough verbal whoas before she went smashing into the line of gymnastics set up. Mucho yikes. I have not long lined her since, just because I worry about those legs. She got Surpass the first day and has been on strict treadmill and handwalking since, but I'm not sure if I am imagining some extra fill in that leg - or it is the same amount that was there before? It's hard to say, but needless, I am not taking any chances. I'm still going to get on her and walk tomorrow for the first time, and we will see how she feels them, but still. Gogo. Seriously. Why. Demons. Why.

I have a bunch of pictures but the internet won't cooperate. So later.

Happy November... the crappiest month of ever, besides February. October, you treated me very well, thank you for that.


Beth said...

The demons over took. Hopefully the ride goes well tomorrow...

Let us know.

Raven said...

Just wondering if you've tried the Back on Track products. I have some for Fox's injury which at this stage has been diagnosed as a cruciate ligament injury on his left hind. They are truely amazing. He wears them almost constantly at the moment. The windgal that he has always had on his right hind, gone. Nothing. The fill in his left hind has improved so much. He also gets them on his fronts for a couple of hours a day and there's been a big improvement there too. This morning his legs probably looked tighter than they ever have.
And no I'm not being paid by them, I just think they are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Totally feel your pain re: getting into a situation like that with a rehabbing horse. My horse with a front suspensory strain reared during handwalking a few months back and got his leg over the leadrope. That led to lots of freaking out and fast backing up (of course, with the leadrope still looped around his leg). Now, normally, I would probably let go to avoid hurting the leg with the leadrope...BUT, I was walking in an indoor ring with the doors WIDE open and a stallion was being worked in the ring outside. So, yep, not that interested in letting him loose to run like a crazy man all over the property! Almost did end up dropping the leadrope, but at the last minute he stopped just long enough for me to get the rope unwrapped from his leg. He did not seem to be worse for the wear, but, yes, I was totally paranoid that he did additional damage to that leg.

Since then, I've tried really hard to accept that you do what you can do to keep them safe during rehab, but at some point it is sort of out of your hands. Stuff happens, and hopefully they come out of it okay. That said, you'd better bet the doors to the indoor are CLOSED when I walk him in there now.

Patricia said...

My birthday is usually the annual event where weird crap happens to me, starting from when I was six. My brother was diagnosed with cancer on my birthday. My uncle died on my birthday. My pony smacked her head on a post in her stall and blew the retina out of the back of her eye, rendering her blind in that eye and in need of surgery. Trigger popped a splint. Ozzy was diagnosed with EPM. I got a speeding ticket. I was hit with a firework. My hair caught on fire. My grandma had a stroke. Last year a camper threw up on my boots and my car and three kids got bucked off. This year my car caught on fire.

Normally, I'm not a superstitious person, but I can totally relate to your Halloween issue.

On a related note, perhaps this is Gogo's way of saying, "I'm FINE. SEE?"