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.
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago