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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The World's Ugliest Tack

First off, I can't say enough thank yous to Bre from G is for Greta. She made my most awesome new banner and I am eternally grateful. IT'S AWESOME ISN'T IT!

I am very happy with Gogo's progress. She's been consistantly going outside like her good old normal self, standing around and eating hay while the other horses run and play like idiots, paying no mind to them or merely casting an ugly look whenever one of them runs too close to her fence and subsequent haypile. Even after being trapped inside for two days (we literally had an ongoing blizzard with 60mph gusts, sideways snow, and negative degree windchills), she went outside yesterday, and when released, she did a tiny hop, all four feet of the ground, and then went and ate her hay quietly for two hours. Nice.
Also due to the horrible weather, I didn't ride her for two days. Our indoor unfortunately had 5 doors, all of which rattle in the wind. I've propped stuff against them but she still had it in her head that horse-eating door monsters were lurking behind every one, something that isn't helped by the fact that our barn cats like to randomly pop over the top of them in front of horses and go streaking across the arena. The horses, of course, are all now quite convinced that we have a horde of cheetahs lurking behind every corner. You've seen the ridiculous video of Gogo reacting to the door moving - that's why I've been lightly sedating her before every ride! Today's ride, though, brought some changes. Today was the first day I didn't drug her in quite some time, and she was excellent. No spooking, even when the door jumped and rattled! This is good progress. I think now that we're up to 40 minutes of work, she's finally relaxing and realizing that we are in fact in a program and she will be able to get her energy out. Or maybe she's just waiting to catch me unawares, I'm not sure.

Something else changed today, just experimentally, and I like how it went. Gogo normally goes in a flash, but she's not really fond of it. She tends to be a bit of a jaw-crosser, primarily working her jaw to the left, which goes along with her general one-sidedness. The interesting thing, however, is that with no noseband at all, she doesn't do this, so it seems less a pain issue and more of a feeling restricted issue. With a noseband, no matter how loose or tight, she tends to 'bounce' her jaw off of it. I rode her without one yesterday just to see how it went (I rode her without one quite a lot in 2008), and as usual, it went fine. However, you need a noseband for dressage - it's not legal without one. She goes well in a figure-8, which helps with the crossing, but I wanted today to try a drop noseband on her to see if it made a difference.

Ewwwww!!! That HAS to be the ugliest thing I've ever seen. It was a little hard to fit because she has THE smallest mouth you've ever seen, and trying to fit the noseband below the bit was hard because there's not much room there! Now, here's the interesting part and I wonder if this isn't the root of the problem - see the weird lumpiness where you'd normally have a halter across the bridge of her nose? That is leftover scarring from where the Crazy Trainer shanked the bejeesus out of her. She had big white scars across her nose when we first got her back, which have thankfully all gone away, but the indents and lumps remain. Perhaps this is some weird residual mental or physical issue? (I'm considering borrowing one of these and seeing if that does anything.) I also wanted to try that bit in particular (a KK Ultra eggbutt) because she likes the stability an eggbutt provides. And actually, she was great. I dunno if the drop was really all that helpful - I think her mouth is just too small and short, it sounded like it was restricting her breathing a little - but the bit is definitely something I'd like to invest in. I'll try the drop for a couple more days and see if there's any difference, but we'll play around with nosebands to see what I want to stick with. The thing that annoys me about the drop? IT'S SO DAMN UGLY! Which is, of course, why it fell out of favor with today's DQs and why the flash became popular instead: drops make heads look plain. I love my dear horse, of course, but she has an exceptionally plain and lumpy head, so I certainly don't want to showcase lumpiness if I don't have to. We'll keep playing around with it and see what happens.

I saw four of my boss' show horses off to Florida this morning at 5am, so after they left, Gogo moved back to the New Barn to her old stall. And promptly, of course, settled in and took a nap:

Mmmmmmmmmmsleepytime. Sleepytime for me too, I'm exhausted, and still very ill. Bleugh.


Stacey said...

Awww she looks so comfy in her blanket.

That is so sad about crazy trainer. I cringe every time you write something about how that evil bitch treated her :(

Sophie said...

In the UK girls that are not barbie doll pretty are sometimes called 'handsome' or 'striking'. Gogo might not be a barbie doll, but she is definitely striking (which is a compliment) :-)

Re nose - Grace has equally tiny arab nose/mouth, with a QH jaw. Looks ridiculous from some angles. I just make sure never to post those :-)

Deered said...

silly thought about the noseband issue - could it be that the scar lump has some altered sensation, and the fix would be to possibly try wearing the caveson low so that it doesn't touch that area?

SassySki said...

Poor Gogo! I am sure you will find a noseband that will not only look great, but make Gogo feel great too. She looks so cute laying in her stall all nice and warm!

Heather said...

So cute! I'm sure you've tried it, but what about just a traditional cavesson worn loose? That way you get the traditional look and she doesn't feel restricted? I second 'Deered' on the pain issue with the scar tissue, interesting thought.

jacksonsgrrl said...

The Micklem could be an idea for sure! I don't think it looks bad at all and the fit looks like it could be amazing. Good if you could borrow one first! I agree about the dropped noseband, UGH. I never thought about Gogo looking lumpy or anything in her head, I think she's pretty nice looking! But I have a belief that karma is a bitch, so the trainer who freaking shanked her, flipped her, hung her upside down by her hinds (ok exaggerated, but close?), will get all that is coming to her. I have nada tolerance for anyone who hurts critters...

Heidi said...

Ug, drop nose bands are so ugly! And I think Gogo has a pretty face :-)

manymisadventures said...

Haha, I know what you mean about drop nosebands. I think they are a good idea but so unfortunately ugly.

I REALLY like the Micklem Multibridle and I'd really like to try one on our girls sometime. It seems like a really smart design, and it's not prohibitively expensive which is nice.

Ditto the idea of wearing a caveson loose, though if she prefers the extra stability of something stabilizing the bit, perhaps a drop or the Micklem bridle is a better idea. You could also school in the drop and show in the flash, if you think one day of riding with the regular/flash caveson wouldn't aggravate her nose.

SprinklerBandit said...

I've never liked the look of a drop noseband. It's like skinny jeans; some can do it, but most shouldn't even try.

Serena said...

I think drops are retro and classy. :)
That being said, i totally don't own one. I actually never ride Roxie in a cavesson unless I have to.

Aced: said...

I dont think I've ever commented but I have to share my horse has the same marks on his nose from god only knows what since I got him somewhat late in life (when he was 18 and after bein in the track) but a few months ago he cut the inside of his mouth straight back toward his throat on his palette and I if course couldn't use a bit in his mouth so I borrowed a knock-off mcmillen bridle and used it ( without the bit..) and he LOVED it. he was so soft and relaxed with it on was obviously happier. I also stopped using his flash a few months before that because i thought he was bracing and although he took time to relax and realize it's gone he's now softer. Obviously you can't do your dressage test with a bitless bridle but she may like it in the other phases! ( and I apologize if this is rambling.. Sleeps been precious for me lately)

Dressager said...

haha glad you like the banner.

I know the Spanish Riding School uses drop nosebands a lot. I don't really think they look that bad on a horse, but I just can't help but imagine that it must restrict their breathing: it's right over their nostrils! I wonder if you tried just a regular french cavesson and lowered it a bit, or a figure 8 (which are allowed in dressage up to PSG) with sheepskin or fleece padding, if she crosses her jaw.

I love eggbutt bits. They don't pinch, they're not as sharp as a loose ring, they don't jingle (annoys my spoiled girl) just overall awesome.

Funder said...

I actually laughed out loud about the horde of cheetahs.

I will never understand why a noseband is required for dressage. I think it's definitely possible that she's got some residual nerve issues from the trauma to her nose, and a drop might end up being the best solution for her. I know people and horses who have nerve damage from random accidents, and they (the people, at least) say that even a light touch can set it off.

Just remember, it's ok if she's ugly for what, seven whole minutes? Take the stupid thing off for stadium and XC!

Sam said...

Oh, wow. You know, I didn't think it was possible to turn Gogo's beautiful, refined face into... that! She looks like a completely different horse wearing that thing. I can definitely see why you might not want to go to a show using one! The Micklem bridle looks very interesting... I would love to try it on Val and see what he thinks of it, although he's pretty happy with his current bit situation.

I can't even believe some of the things that idiot trainer did to poor Gogo! Is she still out there, training and ruining other people's horses?

FD said...

A mostly-lurker but I had to pop out and say that if the drop is restricting her breathing, then you haven't fitted it properly. That said, from the picture, it does look like it's too low on her nose, but with the shape of her head, it would be very difficult to prevent it from slipping down onto the cartilage area. You could try one of the fixed or metal insert drops but I doubt that that that's a good option either, because a) they're more severe and b) they tend to need a proper leather worker to custom fit them, because they have a tendency to rub.

Have you tried a high fitted grackle noseband? They're legal under UK Eventing Dressage rules, although not for BD. I figure the rules might be similar. I've found them very useful for jaw crossers in the past and the extent that the cross is padded can be altered for horses with sensitive heads.

Meghan said...

DUDE. The new banner ROCKS. I love it!

I don't show, but if I did, I think I would find all the dressage rules highly annoying. Why should you have to use a noseband? If your horse goes well and keeps their mouth closed without a tightly cranked noseband, that should be a GOOD thing. I'd like to see crank nosebands (or excessively tight flashes) banned in dressage, but that's never gonna happen. Too many of the Olympians rely on them.

I don't really think her head looks all that bad in the drop. But it sounds like it's a PITA to adjust.

I'm glad Gogo is getting more settled with the increased workload. I know all about banging doors and marauding barn my barn, there is a cat who loves to jump out at the horses. He will also stand and let the horse practically run him over. Sofie is so used to him that he only spooks her when he jumps down from the hay loft onto the bags of shavings.

The picture of Gogo in her stall is really cute. And OMG that stall is HUGE!

Andrea said...

FD, yea that's what I figured. It was definitely a PITA to fit because of the shape of her head and mouth. Don't really think it's gonna work too well in the end, but the new snaffle is great! I jump her regularly in a figure-8/grackle so I'll try that out on her today with that same bit.

Evil trainer is still out there doing harm because even though I did what I could to stop her, my evidence wasn't hard enough for authorities to do anything. The horses still had water and shelter, so technially they weren't starving. (Even though they were all awful looking.) All her clients? Love her. Worship her. I can only imagine she slipped something into all their drinks because good lord, what is WRONG with those people!

And yes, those stalls are all 12x12, and some of them are 12x14!

Andrea said...

There is no rule that says you must use a flash. Page 11 of the rule book re: dressage saddlery states:
(1) It may have a cavesson noseband, dropped noseband, crossed noseband, or
flash noseband.

Andrea said...

Yup, but that means I still gotta use some sort of noseband ;) She prefers no noseband at all.... oh well.

Heather said...

Isn't it an option just just leave a standard cavesson loose? Shouldn't it feel the same as no cavesson to Gogo?

*Sharon* said...

I agree with FD, the drop must be properly fitted in order to work, and so it doesn't affect the horse. You can buy ones with different cuts so that they suit your horse. The old rule is that you should be able to get at least 4 fingers from the nostrils to the edge of the noseband. In that photo, it looks to be too low.

Don't give up as they can be a great noseband. That's why the Spanish Riding School use them on the young horses. I am now using one with a full-cheek fulmer snaffle on my youngster, and it is helping him learn about turns. He just used to open his mouth and avoid the loose-ring and now he understands.

And Gogo is always gorgeous!

Ashleigh said...

Long time lurker here ;]
Drop nosebands...not attractive on a majority of horses. I've never used one on any of the horses I've worked with. I have however, used a Micklem and the horses I have ridden in have all accepted the readily and worn them comfortably.
I've seen a nose bump like that on one of the mares at my barn and her owner uses a crank noseband (too tightly. it makes me cringe.) so its definintely probably that "trainer" (it kills me to even give people like her that title) who shanked her left some residual pain issues, because aforementioned mare wont let anyone touch her in that area without throwing a fit.

Also, Andrea, I'm thinking of gettining into eventing eventually, and I have a few questions that the internet just cant seem to answer for me. Could I maybe email you a few questions?