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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~


6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quick Clarification.

Because I've inevitably gotten a bit of the sour grapes thing going with the comments on my last post (which, of course, we all knew were coming), I thought I would clarify one or two things.

Firstly, and I've said this many, many times before, I'm not crazy barefoot Nazi. I'm not out to tell anyone what to do with their horses ever. I actually try to avoid giving people advice unless they specifically ask for it, and even then I'm hesitant, because I don't like when people do it to me. There are insane barefoot freaks who say that shoes are evil and cruel and that no horse should ever wear them ever. I think they're nuts! There are also people who say that you HAVE to shoe a horse to do anything beyond stand around in a field. I think they're nuts too! It takes all kinds for the world to go round, and I do my best to keep an open mind. I keep saying this over and over, if this were a matter of Gogo needing to be shod, then I'd do it. I'm not out to prove anything, I'm here to just try and enjoy my time with my mare and do the best I can by her. Nobody feels worse than me when something bad happens to her. I hate to say it, but I really can't be bothered to care whether or not people around me shoe their horses or not. I've really got better things to do with my time than get all crazy on people. This is a public blog meant for sharing my own personal journey, and like all public things on teh great interwebz, somebody's going to disagree. So what? That's what makes the world interesting. I know for a fact that plenty of my readers regularly shoe their horses and that's what works for them. Keeping Gogo barefoot is what works for me. She's been barefoot for years, she's never tender, never gets chips or cracks or ouchiness or anything. She's a freak of domesticated nature. So I keep going because she gives me the green light to do so.

Secondly, I'm not making excuses and trying to direct attention away from her barefootedness as a source of the slipping issue. Yep, she's barefoot and she slipped. Related? I can't stay that it's not! I just think there's more to it than that. If she were regularly slipping and sliding out on XC, then yes, obviously we'd need to address this as purely a traction issue. In this particular case it's just not that easy.

Thirdly, can I PLEASE reiterate that I'm not a crazy barefoot person trying to press her lifestyle on others? Seriously. It's the same accusation people make that by merely existing, my gayness is invalidating straight marriages everywhere as we speak. By merely sharing my barefoot journey, I am not invalidating shod horses everywhere. I'm doing what works for me. Doesn't work for you? Let's agree to disagree and have a conversation about it. The finger-pointing and name-calling are a little shocking and quite frankly, I'm surprised at how nasty it's gotten. I feel like I've done by best to be neutral about my stances. I'm certainly not walking up to barns nationwide and pounding their doors down until they listen to my crazy opinions. I'm just sharing the journey.

Fourthly, this is the first real issue Gogo has ever had. I've had her for over three years and this is her first injury, and I'm pretty sure it was my doing. So the accusations that it's always "one thing after another" with her and that she's constantly broken are seriously out of left field and I'm quite frankly confused because I'm not really sure where that came from! She's been disturbingly sound and problem-free until now, on all types of terrain and at all speeds. We always made fun of how low-maintenance she is, at least physically. And given how freakishly well she's healing, I can only conclude that she's just a hardy, healthy soul who's had a rough couple of months. Can I mention again (like I keep doing) that she just had a bone scan and those "problem hocks" and her back were as without inflammation as could be? The vet made a point of telling me so. So what can I deduce from this and from those comments that she "lacks push from behind" in her trotwork (never her canterwork or walk work, I should mention)? It's probably me! I'm no Rolex rider. I'm just some Smurf trying to do my best.

And finally, I've also been accused of being a close-minded know-it-all. Which, really, is a rude accussation from a total stranger who doesn't know me in real life, so I can hardly in reality be offended. I try my best to keep an open mind - hell, how do you think I got into this barefoot stuff anyway? Because I try to learn about new ways of doing things and if something seems intriguing, I try it. If it works, I learn and aborb. If it doesn't, I learn and absorb. I know - we all know - that we've all only just scratched the surface of the collective world's knowledge. It's the name-calling and finger-pointing from those who come from one side and have NOT tried the other that I would tag as close-minded. I've tried shoes, believe me! It was because of my prior journey with shoes that I became interested in the barefoot thing. I KNOW both sides. So don't knock it til you've tried it, or until you at least understand it a little better. If it doesn't work for you, then at least you can accept that it DOES work for somebody else.




I'm not out to prove anything, to convert anyone, to tell anyone they're wrong, or to tell anyone they're right either. I'm just trying to do the best I can by my horse, even if people, for whatever reason, think I'm not. Those of you that know me in person know better, and quite frankly, you're the only people that matter to me anyway.


Over and out!

37 comments:

Funder said...

I am, as always, in awe of your openness and elucidation. Keep it up, Andrea!

Beckz said...

I think you do a really good job of expressing how you do things in a non-nazi way. Shoeing is a really hot topic that people are really passionate about. Personally I couldn't do what you are doing but I certainly admire you for flying in the face of convention and forging a new path.

Stacey said...

Well wouldn't you know that the one person that really started flaming your last post doesn't have a profile or a blog or anything to show for themselves. They're just going to magically appear out of nowhere and tell you that you suck at life. Who are they? Who gives a shit.

*Sharon* said...

Good on ya, tell it like you see it. There's healthy debate, and then there's nasty, small-minded, petty muck-slinging.

I'm with you on the barefoot issue. And more so, on you making the best decisions you can for your horse.

PS Guess you must be gettin' famous now, eh?

sally said...

Hey Andrea ...I'm a bit out of touch in the last few days so I'm sad to hear about people making negative comments about your journey with Gogo. I love reading about your day to day adventures and look forward to reading about how you are progressing. You have a fabulous new year ahead and I'm keen to keep hearing all about it....Happy new year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sambaz said...

Hi Andrea,I've been reading your blog for a while now - keep going please!

My take on the great debate is why shoe horses that don't need it? Equally if the horse needs shoes to do it's job then shoe it.

What height is novice in USA?

Andrea said...

Thank you guys, I really appreciate it. I'm obviously not here to garner your cultish praise on some evil thing I am forcing upon my cripple horse ;P I'm just doin' what I do!

Sambaz: Novice in the US is the second-lowest level. It used to be THE lowest level but they added Beginner Novice as a recognized level in 2004. Height at Novice is 2'11", and I think max oxers COULD be 3'3" but you rarely ever see that. It's in the rulebook somewhere. ((Wiki says: Novice: X-C fences 2 ft 11 in (0.89 m), 16-20 efforts, ditch 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), drops 3 ft 11 in (1.19 m), 350 to 400 m/min; Stadium fences 2 ft 11 in (0.89 m), 9-11 efforts.)) I mean, there CAN be small tricks - offset combinations, for example, and half-coffins and the like - but it's meant to be an introductory level, inviting for horse and rider.

She SHOULD be moving up to Training this summer and that's a different ball game though.

Mrs Mom said...

The funny thing is that those who sling the worst mud are in time proven to be just as they accuse others......

Andrea, my hat is off to you. Kick ass on nekkid hooves.

(Love the fact that you are NOT a rabid, frothing at the mouth, insisting we all change over to bare, person too. If people would stop looking for excuses and looking to fight about it, they'd sure be a lot farther ahead with their horses...)

STB Eventer said...

I'm with Stacey! XD

I love your blog, despite being someone who does shoe her horse. ;-) LOL! It is what works for her, just as barefoot works for Gogo. I enjoy reading about your barefoot eventing journey and have utmost respect for you Andrea! :)

Andrea said...

Aaah no Stacey, we figured it out. The offender with eggs in her beer is the same chick that caused Daun so much grief over on her blog. Well now I'm annoyed at myself that I actually got annoyed in response to what she had to say!

Austen said...

Seriously? Some people have no life.

I love your exploration of the best path for you and Gogo - it keeps me thinking of the best path for my horse and I. You're incredibly inspiring!

Minus Pride said...

I love your attitude and ideas on barefoot-ness!!! You simply want the best for your horse and that's what everyone should be striving for. I love it!!

hpalmete said...

Hmmm, I'm not a big commenter... mainly just a reader interested all the different ways there are to get where I want to be with my horse. However, sometimes you need to jump in and show support so that's what I'm doing. I've learned a lot from your journey and would be seriously bummed if a couple of negative comments hurt your enthusiasm for sharing your thoughts. I hope this one very positive comment can cancel out one of the silly negative ones. With much appreciation.

Daun said...

Andrea, your gayness offends me. Please stop being gay.

And your horse offends me. She should stop being a warmblood with that giant luscious tail.

DRAFTS FOREVER!!!!!

Right, Stacey????? Everyone else is just sad.

Fyyahchild said...

I just wanted to say, please don't feel the need to defend yourself. You do a wonderful job of presenting your thoughts. I love your honesty and openness. It takes courage to put your heart out there for all to read and comment on. At least you got some excitment for the week though!

I never thought I would say this but I would actually love to try leaving my horses barefoot. I'm not even sure where to begin though.

SmartAlex said...

Andrea, I own Saddlebreds, and if anyone was brought up to put shoes on a horse, I was, although even my five gaited show horses have worn pretty basic shoes and a regular leather pad for my own convenience.

Partly because of your blog, I took the hind shoes off my riding horse. I am contiually admiring his neat, bare, cuppy hind hooves. I see no reason to put hind shoes on him right now, and I think he may now be more comfortable in his stifles and hocks, and your last post gave me food for thought as to why that may be. Observing and absorbing...
His front shoes are off now for the winter, and if his front hooves adapt as quickly and as well and the hind hooves have, I will leave the shoes off for as long as I can. I am always learning from your blog. Keep it up.

jacksonsgrrl said...

Andrea. Anyone who follows your blog would know that you have Gogo's best interest at heart. You have gone above and beyone giving her the VERY best care, ALWAYS! I have never got the impression that you were a barefoot Nazi. Your reasoning has always been sound, and I know this because I have done this research myself for Jackson, trying to decide at one point after purchasing him if I should shoe him. I would in a heartbeat if he needed it, but his farrier of three years said he has wonderful feet and that often shoes are for people who don't know what else to do with their money :) That comment came after someone came and asked him to shoe a horse WHO WAS NEVER RIDDEN, just turned out 8 hrs a day!!???!! When I moved him to my friend's ranch, I had to change farrier's due to distance, and my (newer) farrier and his partner are also barefoot certified and agree that he needs no shoes... My friends shoe their horses fronts, but I just have not felt the need. I do hit some REALLY rocky terrain and he will trot right through it, but I am planning on getting him some boots if I can ever decide on any! I think it will be Renegades from my research thus far. Just for the rocks! But this bitch who said this stuff to you and Daun is just trying to cause trouble--she is just jealous most likely! I do agree with Daun that anyone who has a horse with a tail like Gogo's... I think it should be cut off. She tripped on it going over the offending fence at the AEC's. See? I have it ALL figured out! LOL!
~Mindy

Katherine Erickson said...

Well done, Andrea. Man I love reading this blog! =)

Val said...

Well put clarification. Do blog on!

manymisadventures said...

I agree with Daun. YOUR EXISTENCE OFFENDS ME, STOP BEING YOU, OKAY?

;)

Really, though. Anyone who's been reading your blog should be able to recognize in a heartbeat that you do everything you can to do the best by Gogo.

I think barefoot's just a really hot issue. I don't see why it has to be. McKinna is barefoot because she always has been, and it's always worked for her. Jury's still out for Pandora. She's bare now, but I'm not 100% sure - and that's okay. And I know you're not going to come pound down my door and insist that I keep her barefoot!


PS, I am excited for you guys to move up to training. Gogo will chew those courses up for breakfast.

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Congratulations, your blog has gotten big enough to start attracting asshats! It always happens sooner or later - sooner, if you're discussing controversial subjects. Don't worry, everyone who's matured beyond the age of twelve can see how ridiculous their accusations are.

Best of luck to you and Gogo. :-)

jacksonsgrrl said...

And I did mean to mention the fact that, being an RN and working on the human side of medical issues, the very same things come up! Many times it is trial and error for the Docs (and RN's!) that I work with. Noone can be 100% sure all the time, you trouble shoot, if something doesn't work you try something else. Always with the intention of doing NO HARM. Aside from diagnostic tests (which don't ALWAYS produce answers)we cannot be psychics, whether it be with humans or animals. You just do the best you can and move on from there.... You have the right idea. Naysayers BEGONE!

Jalean11 said...

Thumbs up!

Andrea said...

Melissa, I thought you should know I just snorted milk out my nose laughing at your comment.

Thanks everyone for your support. It means a lot to me!

Fran Jurga said...

Andrea, I am just amazed that anyone would try to disrupt your attempts to share your experiences with GoGo. I shouldn't be, I suppose, since I get the same sort of comments on my own blog, and I feel your pain. I spent 20 years trying to get people interested in better hoofcare, without success, then barefoot came along and everyone suddenly became an expert (on one side of the fence or the other).

I wonder if you know Carol Kozlowski from Avon, NY? She's a great trainer/rider whom I have noticed very often competed her event horses barefoot. She is so knowledgeable and personable, maybe someone to bounce your thoughts off of, as in the hock injection question? She's seen and done it all, but certainly isn't a nazi about her choices of equipment.

I personally believe that shoes are like martingales or flash nosebands. Optional equipment? Yes. But a good horse(wo)man knows when a horse needs that particular type of equipment. That same good judgment doesn't add equipment on a horse who doesn't need it or would go more comfortably or safely without it.

I also believe that most riders and trainers are not hoof experts, but they do have hoof "experience" certainly, especially about knowing how a horse feels under them in different footing. You hit on that when you described the light, fast horse that won at Huntington Farm in slick footing. Identical shoes can affect two horses very differently. So can the bare hooves of two different horses react differently. Time of day, order of go, etc. can subject two like-hooved horses to very different risks over the same ground. It's not just about shoes or no shoes.

Something else I believe: When and if a really good sport-horse vet and astute sport-savvy farrier recommend shoes on a horse they know, the rider/trainer should listen carefully, and with respect for their experience.

A good farrier takes pride in a client's horse for two reasons: 1) the horse has really nice, strong feet, whether shod or not; and 2) the role s/he played in making/keeping them that way.

Thanks for being so honest and for seeing that the truth most often exists in shades of gray, not black or white.

Nicku said...

Not that there is anything left to say here but I just wanted to also offer my support! Even if it is just one person talking smack, that is one person too many...seriously, if someone has THAT big of an issue, WHY are they wasting their time reading and then responding? Love the blog, cant wait for you guys to be back in full swing again!!!!

Stacey said...

I also sent this post to my farrier. She's very much all about her clients and listens to what YOU know about YOUR horse and doesn't try to jam anything down your throat. She said "That's neat. She puts it well. Not preaching but just stating her views."

And Daun, oh yes I totally agree. God Andrea you are SO GAY? WTF?! And your horse has a gorgeous tail, AND why do you take so much time to ensure the best care possible for her?!?! Bitch.

thefuzzyword said...

I love your blog - I not only find it a fun read but very educational and thought provoking. Your post about the elephant in the room was so insightful; it has totally changed the way I think about injuries and how they happen. I know you said you don't like to give advice but I was kinda hoping you might be able to provide some book names or websites you've used to help some of us further educate ourselves.

Thanks so much for blogging!
Sarah

Kat said...

I knew you'd be famous someday, Andrea!

halfpassgirl said...

Just thought I'd add my two cents to the chorus. My last dressage horse was an OTTB with typical, terrible, tiny TB feet. She could never have gone barefoot, but she did just fine with shoes and a knowledgeable farrier who knew how to keep TB feet healthy. Today she is 21 and still showing successfully at PSG with her current owner.

My current mare Willow is coming nine, half Dutch, half TB, almost 17 hh. I got her as a barefoot four-year-old. I always assumed at some point I would probably need to shoe her, but the years passed by and at every trimming the farrier would say, Wow, great feet! No need to shoe! So here we are, barefoot, five years later. Of course, as we move up the dressage levels the stress on her legs will increase, so who knows? Maybe I'll need to shoe her one day. I'm happy to go either way -- whatever works for her. And if she were an eventer, perhaps I would have had to shoe her long ago. It all depends on the horse and the circumstance.

Veronica Lodge said...

I feel sad you have to defend yourself on YOUR blog.

It's always good to hear other opinions but I don't think people should throw stones at the blog author.

Sambaz said...

O.k so your novice level is about the same as our Intro 1. My barefoot eventer went up to what we call Prenovice (1.05m)this season after a very successful year at Prelim (.95m)

He has terrible feet & I will probably have to have him shod for the 2010 eventing season. However if he had great feet like Gogo does then I wouldn't shoe him!

Karma Anais said...

Thanks for keeping up with what's best for Go-Go. As a fellow horsey blogger and owner of a barefoot hopeful eventer it's good to hear the perspective of someone who is out there competing.

Kristina said...

I rarely comment, but just wanted to reiterate that even I, as someone who regularly shoes both her horses, really enjoy reading your blog. I respect your standpoint and I think you respect mine, or at least people of a similar mind as me.

It is obvious how much thought and consideration you put into Gogo's well being, don't let the jerks get you down!

Frizzle said...

Pay no attention to the nay-sayers -- because, no matter what you do, there will always be people who don't agree with you. But, as you said, you have to make the most informed decisions that you can for your horse.
I am dealing with the same thing at the moment -- I am riding a 5 year old TB that has always been barefoot, but was given a "pasture trim," where the sole and frog are trimmed and all the weight is placed on the hoof walls. Of course, his hoof walls were chipped, cracked, and flared all over the place. Now that he has a nice mustang roll and some weight has been placed on his sole and frogs, he started to get a bit hoof-sore. I immediately ordered some Easyboot Epics and pads for him so I can ride him comfortably while his sole and frog build up a nice thick, tough callus. But, of course, everyone at my barn is screaming, "That horse needs shoes! You're going to make him lame!" Of course, I understand because, before I did my research, I would have thought the same thing.
For anyone who starts telling you that shoes would be better for Gogo, just kindly point to the studies which show that, in shod horses, blood flow to the hoof actually comes to a halt for a split second during every heartbeat, at the level of the fetlock. Shoes also take away the hoof's ability to expand and contract (this natural expansion and contraction also helps with blood flow). These are Dr. Robert Bowker's studies, and I'm sure you are fmailiar with his work. :-)
Now, I would never ever tell someone that he or she should take their horse's shoes off. It's each horse owner's responsibility to do what he or she thinks is right for their horse. BUT, I also do not appreciate other people telling me what I should do regarding the horse under my care, especially when they have not done any research in to the subject.
Good luck!

www.dressagewannabes.blogspot.com

Kate said...

I'm with you on barefoot - if it works do it, if it doesn't don't (I think there are horses who just don't have the feet for it due to genetics), and what other people do is their own business and if they want to keep their horses barefoot or use shoes, either one is fine with me. My two horses with shoes are bare behind, and I have three others who are barefoot. I think it just comes down to some people being threatened when people try or do things that are different from their own choices - good for you for being open to trying things and living your own life! And best of luck to you and GoGo in 2010!