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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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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Ten-don Commandments

The Ten-don Commandments (Or, Life Rules Which I Must Live By):

1) Thou shalt not circle. Ever, for any reason at all.
2) Thou shalt stay on flat hard surfaces and good footing, and in straight lines, all the time.
3) Thou shalt wrap. Thou shalt attempt to wean off of wraps, thou shalt fail. Thou shalt continue to try.
4) Thou shalt continue to ice and coldhose for many months after it is recommended. Because thou canst.
5) Thou shalt stare at the grass turnouts and think, "maybe next year."
6) Thou shalt read what the vet recommends in terms of a recovery timeframe, and double it.
7) Thou shalt become extremely aquainted with lower limb anatomy, light sedation, alternative therapies, and running shoes for thine own lardy butt.
8) Thou shalt stare wistfully at thy friends' Facebook albums of this year's eventing adventures and wish it was you.
9) Thou shalt learn every single nuance about thine own horse's limbs and just how much heat and edema is normal for a particular day. Thou shalt also find that suddenly after three years, she has decideth that even though you have been scratching her withers faithfully the entire time, she will now finally reciprocate.
10) Thou shalt not give up hope.





((Be gone, curly leggeth wonder! Mine clippers hath done the deed! Wow that is horrible Old English.))

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Milestones.

This week, a few big milestones have happened in my life, the life of my mare, and the life of my moste beloved blog. First of all, my baby sister graduated today from college, which was an enormous deal and makes me feel REALLY old. She is off to grad school to pursue a career in public relations at good old Michigan State (where my parents, and aunties, and uncles allllll went), which makes me the only member of the family not to pursue higher education beyond college. I have absolutely no interest in grad school and know the direction my life is heading in (and am very happy with it), so all is fine with that, but still, it's wild to think about. My baby sister! How!

In terms of the life of this blog, Eventing-A-Gogo has just reached its 300th post! I can't believe it! I've been spinning you mare's tales for exactly a year and a half now, and those of you following the whole way have seen us reach the very top and hit the very bottom. Ups, downs, happiness, sadness, you've been right there with me through it all, and you've offered your unconditional support and love the whole way. Thank you readers. It just wouldn't be the same without you. 191 of you, and the number is still rising every day!

Lastly, and most importantly, I got back on Gogo on Thursday!!!! Words can't describe how GOOD it feels to be up on her back on her again, even if we're just walking for the moment. All we're doing for the next week is walking for 30 minutes on a long/loose rein and adding 5 minutes of work on contact at the very end of it, but hey, that is something. I've been giving her 1/2cc of Ace for each ride because at this point I can just NOT take chances. I will NOT risk her spooking, leaping, and reinjuring herself. I can't rely on drugs forever, nor is it really a good idea to administer them long term (not to mention they won't take effect after awhile if I give them every day), but I have to start this way. I'm not just going to risk it. It's not worth it. It's really not.
That being said, she's been a total angel! (Drugs will do that to you!)





We'll be doing our half-hour long rein walk with 5 minutes of connected work this week, then will tack 5 minutes per week onto that for the next four weeks. And then.... we trot!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Recheck!

Yesterday was Gogo's 2-month ultrasound recheck out from the March setback. There was no reason for me to think there would be anything but good news, as everything at this point had gone swimmingly and according to plan, and thankfully, I was not dissapointed! We were up WAY too early and on the road by 7, which of course due to traffic put us in to the clinic way late... oops! And again, as usual, when we jogged her and flexed her right hind, she was once again ever so slightly off. The culprit? Those dumb hocks! If you're a new follower, I'll fill you in: Crazy Trainer who starved, beat and flipped Gogo over while I was away in New Zealand also lunged her in tight sidereins on a 12 meter circle in rutted, choppy footing, all in ONE direction, 6 days a week, for 6 whole months. THAT will damage a young horse's joints. Gogo has mild degeneration in her right hock because of it. We treated it conservatively for a year, then opted to go ahead and inject the hocks last August, and well, that's a whole 'nother story in itself. But anyhow, it would appear that 9 months out from those injections, she is still sore in that right hock. Standing around in a still will do that to you, I suppose. Thankfully, however, we flexed the fetlock (where the lesion is, which would possibly have aggravated it and shown it was the source of the soreness), and the stifle, which I was worried about before, and both were negative. Sweet! Sore hocks can be dealt with. Sore tendons and sore stifles would be a different matter altogether. So that's good news.

We ran the ultrasound over both hinds, and were pleased to see that the left SDFT looks gorgeous and intact. It healed beautifully. In terms of the rehab process, it's just now a matter of getting back into work for that leg. As for the right, the margins of the new lesion are much improved, right where we'd expect them to be at this point in the rehab. The plan from here? Get her walking under saddle TODAY (WOOHOO), and walking on a loose rein for about 30 minutes (can that be done?). At the end of that, pick up the reins and do about 5 minutes of simple lateral work. As Dr. C said, "these guys are tough, that is nothing that is going to aggravate anything. We want her to get out of breath without hurting her." I think 5 minutes of lateral work is HARDLY going to make her tired, and I'm obviously not going to do more than a few simple and VERY shallow leg yields, but we can do our best! From there, we add 5 minutes of lateral work on every week, so at the end of the month we'll be up to 30 minutes of loose rein tackwalking and 20 minutes of putting her together. From there, we can begin 5 minutes of trot, on the long sides of the arena ONLY. (Possibly where I went wrong before. However, now I have the enormous outdoor arena to use instead of the small and spooky indoor, so I won't have to worry about turns or arena demons in the corner.) We can add 5 minutes every week of trot to that walk work, and then reevaluate at the end of two months. At that time, she recommends I also get her hocks injected, and she's probably right. It will be a year at that point. I'm still as anti-injection as I ever was, but... I have to do what's right for her. Unlike last time, we are also not going to be turning her out while we are trying to leg her back up. We will see in 2 months how it goes. Unfortunately at this point, we just can't risk her being stupid. Everything has to be controlled.

But this is all good news! I'm going to continue to graze, ice and treadmill her daily, but we are going to try and wean her wraps off of her. The legs will fill - I hate that!! - but it takes time for her system to readjust and compensate for what the wraps have been doing. She's had them off during the day for at least the last month or more, and the legs have looked just fine, so we'll see.


Yay good news!!!!!!!!




An extra treat: I got a little video of Gogo's, um.... 'tude as she walks out the barn to her grass every day. She goes out the same way every single day without fail, making horrible nasty faces at all the horses on her way, and then perking her ears going "GRASS!?" In this video, she realizes, I'm not paying attention to her and tries to sneak some grass before she is allowed to... bad, bad Gogo.

video




Wavy legs, chunkiness, gorgeous shavings-y tail and all.... we are happy.



Monday, May 17, 2010

Sorrow.



Love you, Lynnie. There's a lot to write about you, but not today. Go be with Max now, and rest in peace.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Funnies, and a Picture of the Day

Just a quickie funny find over at Green n Green = Black n Blue. Denali seems to have landed herself some jailtime in a stall, and she, like Gogo, is a bit opinionated about such things. Gogo is actually super good in her stall day in and day out (as long as she has food and a soft spot to nap she is good to go) but this funny list really hit home for me and cracked me up.
101 Things To Do With Your Stallbound Horse!




And now, for the Picture of the Day...



XC schooling at Bath Pony Club in Ohio. I think the caption for this photo should be "OOPS!" Gogo has since learned to step nicely off banks versus LAUNCH off of them like her 6 year-old self was doing in this picture.

Photo Adventure Fridays

This week's Photo Adventure....





Times Square, New York City, New York.
Where I was last Friday. And last Tuesday. Because now that I live on the west side of CT, I am really close, and now that I have no eventing season, I have local exploring to do. Love this City.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some Interesting Facts, From Me, Gogo!

Hi, this is Gogo, ruling Queen of the barn and Supreme Deity, coming to tell you a few things about the past two months of stall rest, because I have had a lot of time to think about these things. It is Very Boring, being in a stall, and I told my mother that I just HAD to start writing for her because she is being Too Boring in her blogging. WHO wants to hear about OTHER HORSES, I mean HONESTLY? James is a smelly smelly gelding who uses his own POOP for a PILLOW. He DOES this, I saw him when we were neighbors. And every day he has a brown FACE. WHO wants to ride a Poop Head. Honestly.


Here are 10 Things I Think You Really Need To Know About Me That Have Happened In The Past Two Months.

1) I made it safely through vaccination season. Remember last fall when I had that Very Bad Reaction? My mommy this spring decided that there should be no more of this nonsense, so she split up everything and gave the vaccines one at a time, once a week, with Banamine. Now, I don't normally mind these things, because I am above such things and getting worried about needles, but that was a lot of needles, for a lot of weeks. And she had just finished giving me seven doses of Adequan. Now really mommy, that is enough with the needles forever, okay?
2) My mommy says I am very fat. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THESE THINGS. She lets me eat grass two times a day for only TEN minutes at a time. When I should be eating grass for ten HOURS. But she says I am so fat she should tie string to me and float me in the Macy's Day Parade, and I am Very Angry when I hear these things. I just like FOOD, okay? And when I don't do anything, even though I don't even get any real grain, I gain weight because I am a HEALTHY BIG WOMAN. THERE. I said it.
3) No matter what my mommy had done for the past two months (or the past three years), my mane just won't lay down. My mommy keeps braiding the hair, and it keeps coming out and falling all over the place. And I say HA, you can control my feet but you can't control my HAIR.
4) Speaking of hair, I am also REFUSING to fully shed out. I have fluffy fuzz clinging to me everywhere and I say HA! You cannot rule my hair mommy. You can curry me until your arms fall off every single day, but these hairs are not going anywhere. Wait, why do you have a pair of clippers in your hand?
5) Mommy says my legs look really pretty good. When there is fill in them, she just walks me out of my stall and it always goes away. She seems to be very happy about this, I honestly don't care as long as we are walking out to get the grass. Mmm... grass.
6) I have Dirty Rotten Fungus Legs. Well not really, but since I had been soaking in the tub and my legs were hairy, even though my mother would towel my legs off every day, they were still sometimes damp when they got wrapped. So I got some fungus, and I have wavy hair on the front of my back legs. My mommy thinks this looks very silly and says she can't wait for me to shed it out, and then grow back some normal hair. She also stopped putting me in the tubba and opted for ice boots every day instead, which is easier and drier. So now my fungus is going away and I can't say I have Dirty Rotten Fungus Legs anymore.
7) Secretly, I am in love with my neighbor Ellie. She is sooooo pretty, even when she squeals at me and I attack the stall bars back at her. After that happens, she usually goes outside and I scream for her until she comes back. But that's our secret, don't tell Athos, he is always watching us because he has a fantasy about two mares.
8) My mommy tells me that now that I'm in a central stall, I am an Attention Whore. I do not know what this means, but I shall keep rattling my door until one of you comes over to bring me something to eat and explains it to me.
9) I go back to the vet next Thursday! They will put the Cold Drippy Gel on my legs again and see what they look like through the Picture Box, and then maybe my mommy will be able to get on me again and ride. And then, she will get to tell you lots of interesting bloggy stories because I intend to make her life very, very interesting.
10) Everybody loves me. But you all knew this, because YOU all love me. Because I am the Queen.


OK that is all I will say for now. Until then, think about ME, GOGO, and NOT smelly horses like smelly James or any other smelly thing my mommy writes about, because let's not forget who this is REALLY all about, ME, GOGO. OK bye.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jeff Cook Jumping Clinic 5/1/10-5/2/10

Last weekend, I had the chance to ride one of my boss' young green beans in our farm-hosted jumping clinic with Jeff Cook. Jeff trained with and worked for George Morris at Hunterdon for ten years before moving out west with his family, and comes back here on a fairly regular basis to do clinics with us. This was my first time meeting him, first time riding somebody else's horse in a clinic (while she watched... nerve-wracking as she is a far better rider than I am!), and first time doing an exclusively equitation-based clinic (versus dressage or eventing). As James is a little baby wiggly worm and I am a complete rust-bucket over fences, we did the baby section designed for the greenies. Mostly what I got out of this was polish on my basic equitation, especially in the canter. Suddenly, after all this time, I have discovered that yes, I too can two-point like a normal human being! THAT IS SO EXCITING.

For those of you that don't know my background, I started with a huntseat-type lesson barn, moved to a dressage and CT barn when I was a teenager (but did mostly dressage), and had horrible dressage-like equitation over fences for the LONGEST time. It has been a SERIOUSLY long and uphill road trying to counter that, and I've spent a lot of time in my past sitting in the saddle while on XC because I just couldn't figure out HOW to two-point correctly without losing my balance or getting exhausted. Last year, when I did the Eric Horgan clinic, he talked to me about keeping my base of support in my calves versus my thighs while up out of the saddle, and I tried but just didn't understand what he meant. The week before last, however, I was riding James and thinking about what he said, and suddenly I found myself up out of the saddle, base of support right there in my hugging calves, able to balance perfectly and comfortably out of the saddle. Wait, WHAT? WHEN did I learn how to do THAT? I used to ride up out of the saddle like a typical dressage rider, with my base of support in my thighs versus my calves. The problem with this is that you lose your lower leg over fences when you don't have strength in them, and you tend to tilt in the saddle because your balance is too high. Aaah, the things you learn as time goes on!(XC used to look like this. Trying to get in two-point used to look like this.)

Suddenly, I found that I could stay comfortably up out of the saddle. So much WIN! You'll see in the following video that I lose it in the beginning of the circle I made, and fall back into my tilty habits, but I regain composure halfway around the circle and continue onward. Go James go!

video

Obviously this is going to need a lot of practice. But hey, it's a start! Now we just need some finesse.


Something else Jeff pointed out to me, besides the things I already knew (keep your hands closed around the reins, bring your toe out a little more) was that I shouldn't have vetwrap on my stirrups. But.. but.. but..! It's so pretty and blue! That might be so, he said, but I'm really fooling myself if I think it's going to help me at all. In the end, all it will really do is give me a false sense of security and have me stand up on my toe more than I should. Same goes for the jointed stirrups I use, he said. Now, I know that George is a stickler for those old fillis irons, so I'm not about to go trashing my jointed stirrups, but I did cut off the vetwrap for the second day of the clinic. Awww, maaaan! Goodbye beautiful blue. But he's right, and as I have a tendency to lose my heel sometimes anyway, I can't take any chances. No excuse for not having proper equitation for the sake of having some shiny colors on my stirrups.

We did a lot of basic w/t/c work with the young horses and the green riders, so there wasn't much for me to get out of it. We jumped some tiiiiiiiiny little things, which James was SO unimpressed with....

video

.... but it was still very fun. My take home message from the clinic was mostly that I need to practice, practice, practice and not let my skills get too rusty while waiting for the mare to get back on her feet. Jeff was a fabulous clinician, very nice and super helpful, and I recommend him if you have a chance. I only wish it had been Gogo instead, I know I would have gotten a TON of stuff out of it with her.






And for something a little more interesting than James hopping over a six inch crossrail, here is my boss riding one of the Florida horses. MUCH more exciting!

video




Mare is getting primed for her next vet visit in a few weeks. Her legs have been quiet and tight (sometimes with minor fill, but nothing alarming, and it usually goes with fill in the fronts too), and she's actually been well-behaved for once! I better not say that outloud though, because you know it'll never last!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

End of April Analysis

I have lots to write about - the clinic for one!! - but I am late on my April goals! So without further ado....



April Goals:

1) Not break down/freak out every time I get a little too emotional over this horrible blow!
I think I am handling it pretty much as well as I can really! Although I gotta say, I was a crabby em-effer this month for about two weeks, Chris can attest to that. I was feeling awfully lousy about it... and still do, honestly. But I am trying to focus my energies elsewhere to keep my mind off of it.

2) Start to build from 10 minutes of handwalking to 15, then 20, then 25 by the end of the month
Success! She is now back on the treadmill for a 25 minute cycle. Quite honestly, the safest and best place for her: a controlled setting and speed, a flat and hard surface in a perfectly straight line.... what more could a rehab horse ask for?

3) Near the end of the month, start treadmill work again on Level 1 (flat setting)

Success, see above :)

4) Stay positive!
Doing my best. Actually, I think I'm being pretty damn chipper about it all.

5) Start handgrazing a little every day
Success! The grass is in and growing strong, and Fattie McFatFat is now grazing 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon. Any more than that, and I am pretty sure she will literally explode.




May Goals:
1) Go back to Dr. Creden for her 2-month ultrasound checkup
2) Maybe possibly hopefully if all goes well and the stars align get back on her for tackwalking again!?
3) Research booting/traction ideas for next year
4) Continue to STAY POSITIVE!
5) make a list of supplies needed for next year (the ultimate wish list).... hey a girl can dream can't she?



Don't have too much time to write much more. Fattie is happy with her day-in-day-out schedule, and so am I. Mostly. Except King Oak is this weekend, and I'm not riding in it. Sigh...


((NOMS!!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3rd, 2004.

It was the beginning of May in 2004, and the end of my high school career was a year behind me. Kicked out at the end of my senior year for a slew of interrelated reasons, all of which circled around my irrational teen behavior, I had somehow managed to secure a GED and a chance to actually go to the college of my choice, attempting to change my fate and make something of myself. Opting to take a year off between schools, I had rested and recharged enough to feel hopeful for the future for the first time in my life. With two horses in my care, I found myself very busy, and extremely happy for the first time in years. It was an emotion I had completely forgotten, one I had become disconnected from, and one I had welcomed back with distrust and fear. But I was healing. Three years with my Quincy, and now a few months with my Metro, and I was healing. Finally, I could stand on my own two feet. Finally, I could breathe the free air and look towards the horizon, a fresh and bountiful view. Quincy was gracefully slipping (or accidentally falling, I might say) into retirement, as his ability to not fall down at inopportune moments was becoming impossible to manage. His bout with EPM had left him permanently damaged, but it was clear that he was going nowhere in life without me. He had happily been living for slightly less than a month at an 'old folks home' of sorts, a pasture boarding situation 40 minues from my house where he had 50 friends and hundreds of interconnected acres to play with. It was true horsey heaven, and he was happy as could be. I saw him less than I wanted to given the distance and Metro's need - just a few times a week - but I cherished those moments and looked forward to when I could be closer again. Everything was looking so good, and I was excited for the future.

The morning of May 3rd dawned chilly and misty. Rainclouds gathered ominously on the horizon, roiling on top of each other, threatening to break out overtop the gorgeous weather we had been enjoying that week. It wasn't quite 40 degrees outside. I spent the better part of my morning making a list of things that made me happy, and adding pictures to each item. Sunsets... painting... Metro... poetry... Quincy. I got to 'baby foals' on the list, added a picture of a tiny leaping chestnut with all four off the ground, and decided to hop in the shower. No sooner had I stripped down than my cell rang. The owner of the barn addressed me in a slight panic: "Hi, is this Andrea? Yes, Quincy is sick. He's very sick. We called the vet already, he is colicing and we found him when he didn't come in for breakfast." The jumble of words took a second to sort out, but I shook out of it and told them I'd be there as soon as I could. Colic, what was that thing? I knew what it was, to be sure, but the seriousness of the situation was not clear. I tossed on a sweatshirt and jeans, hopping in my Jeep, and headed out.

The icy air hit me as I left the warmth of the car and headed down to the barn's holding paddock where Quincy was. I stopped dead when I saw him. Standing completely immobile and splay-legged, his head hung low, and his eyes had a detached, glossed-over look of pain in them. I moved to his side, and put my hand on his neck, stroking off some of the caked on mud that coated a good part of his gleaming black coat. Patches of open, raw wounds glared angrily back at me, places where he had rolled so ferociously during the night that he had ripped his own flesh off. From what the barn owner explained, it sounded as though sometime during the night he had coliced, and got down and thrashed in the field like a maniac. He didn't come in that morning for breakfast, and they had found him near the very back of the pasture, up and standing in the exact posture I was looking at in disbelief. Pieces of turfed-up ground around the place where he had stood told the story, and using a whip and some brute force, they had dragged him step by step back to the holding pen to await the vet. I reached up to touch his mud-encrusted ears, and he didn't move or respond at all. He absolutely hated his face touched, especially his ears, so I wasn't sure to make of this. When the vet finally arrived, I was shivering, frozen through my sweatshirt, the icy wind cutting through my thin clothes. Unsure of what to think, I cracked a few nervous jokes as the vet took Quincy's TPR. At a dead standstill, his heart rate was 80. His breath came in rapid, shallow inhales. His gums were bright purple, his skin stood tented when pinched, his temp was below 99.0. His gut sounds were silent. I heard all these things without really understanding what they meant. It sounded bad, but the barn owner and her sister tried to be encouraging. "Oh we had a horse this bad once, but he turned around, he was fine!" If I ever saw a horse that shocky today, I would euthanize it. Immediately. But back then, I didn't understand.

We did a rectal on him and found nothing to note. Frowning, the vet decided that we should move him to a stall in case he went down, and we agreed. To keep him quiet, we took his favorite old mare with him, a crusty old bat named Bid who had to be at least a thousand years old. "She's cute... in a goat kind of way," my mother had said about her. Pink, weepy eyes, clumps of matting Cushingoid hair, and a few awkward Appaloosa spots later, Quincy was madly in love. Bid was none to happy about her role in the neighboring stall, but she grudgingly accepted. We pulled, pulled, and half beat Quincy up the small hill into the small, square four-stall barn, Bid in one of the back stalls and Quincy on the side where he could still see her. We tubed him and found nothing to note. Pumped full of pain meds, Quincy stood looking somewhat more alert, and I began feeling somewhat optimistic. The barn owner had said that she'd seen a horse this bad before turn around, why couldn't my horse? It couldn't be that bad. "Well, it's a waiting game now," the vet told me. I had already told him that Quincy wasn't a surgical candidate, so all that remained to do was wait and see. When the pain meds wore off, what would happen? "I'll be 10 minutes down the road," said the vet. "Call me if anything changes." I assured him I would, and bid him farewell. The barn owner and her sister also had things to do, so they too took their leave, telling me to call if anything changed. Left by myself in the barn with my best friend and four-legged soulmate, I suddenly felt very scared and alone.

Absolutely frozen to the bone, I pulled my Jeep into the barn entrance and sat for awhile with the heat on, making calls to the owner of the barn where I kept Metro. She assured me that she was sending my friends Amanda and Sarah out to meet me, and that they would be bringing delicious food and hot chocolate to warm me on his dreary day, ready to stand vigil with me until my horse got better. I had hooked a leadline across the doorframe of the stall so that I could keep an eye on Quincy while attempting to get warm, and as I watched, he started to stumble towards the door, leaning forward across the makeshift stallgate as if looking for me. I staggered out of the car, my joints stiff and numb with cold, and took his furry black head in my arms. He had never been tolerant of having his face touched, so I was surprised to find that he leaned his forehead into my chest, heaving a great sigh of relief, relaxing into my touch. I played with his ears, stroked his great black neck, and kissed the tiny spot of white on his forehead, telling him how much I adored and needed in him my world. He just stood there, patient and steady, letting me drink in my fill of him as I talked and shivered, relishing the little bit of warmth he gave me. "I love you Quincy," I whispered into his ear. "Please don't go." I didn't know it then, but he was saying goodbye to me.

A few hours passed. I huddled in a ball by his stall, I did jumping jacks, I crawled under a cooler and waited, watching the seconds creep by. Time seemed to stand still, and my thoughts were empty. I couldn't think of what-ifs, I couldn't think of what might happen at the end of the day. All I could do was stare red-eyed at my broken, beautiful friend, the spell of painkillers breaking at the seams, the throes of agony starting to sweep back into his body. At around 2 or so, his behavior changed dramatically. Spasms of pain wracked his body, rippling in waves down his entire length, and his legs began to quake under his own weight. I sat up, alarmed as he began staggering around his stall, stretching out as if straining to pee but unable to do more than struggle to get his hind legs back underneath him again. He stumbled forward out the front of the open stall door, his weight caught against the leadline, and the glossed-over look of detachment in his eyes suddenly changed to absolute terror and agony. He looked at me, stumbling towards me as if silently begging for help, and white foam began dripping from his mouth and nostrils, his breath gurgling shallow and fast. Completely panicked, I called the barn owner's sister, who immediately came down to the barn to see what was happening. I also called the vet, frightened, and he told me that he would be there in 10 minutes. The barn owner's sister pulled me out of the way as he stumbled to his knees and stuck a hind leg out the door, and together we struggled to push him back in the stall, close the door, and get out of the way. Watching from inside Bid's stall, I stared in open-mouth horror as Quincy staggered forward, muscles clenched tight in pain. In one violent, crashing moment, he lost his hind end, flipping himself over backwards, spraying white foam across the walls as he went. His head hit the side wall with a sickening crunch, and he seized. Groaning, screaming, making noises no animal should make, he writhed against his own body, and all I could see from my vantage point was a set of four legs thrashing, struggling to run and release himself from his pain. With a rattling, watery breath, his motion began to slow, and the sister said to me, "I think he just took his last breath." It was as if a bomb exploded in my brain. Hysterical, crying and shrieking, I burst from Bid's stall just in time to see the vet truck pulling up, and I ran to him, begging him to euthanize him right then, just stop his agony, just stop the pain. The vet was already in the stall before I knew what was happening, and stethoscope in hand, he turned to me slowly with words I will never forget: "His heart just stopped." My best friend in the world - my savior, my soulmate, my partner, my angel - was gone.

I laid over his body for hours and cried harder than I ever had before.




The next few hours passed in an empty blur. Amanda and Sarah thankfully got lost and showed up too late to see his death, but they sat with me on his body and talked with me about everything, as I slowly described the day to them piece by piece. Dust settled over his liquidy black eye, now so completely still and vacant. His head, propped up against the wall where he fell, was so strange and still, and his lower lip drooped unnatural below his gumline. I wanted to put it back, but when I tried, it was already cold and starting to stiffen. I recoiled in terror.
We made arrangements to move his body back to the farm where Metro was, where Quincy had been while in work. The backhoe couldn't get there until the next morning, so we planned to leave him in the field until then, but the truck got lost on the way over. When I arrived at the farm myself, I was assaulted by a slew of screaming children, asking a thousand questions that I didn't want to answer. I found myself answering slowly over and over, my voice empty and emotionless like a recording, until Amanda's boyfriend Timmy came over and lifted me over his shoulder, carrying me down the driveway away from everyone. "I thought you needed some rescuing," he said.
The horses were all so strange around me that day. Perhaps they could smell the death lingering about me like shadow. Even steady Metro, always unwavering in his emotion and demeanor, began prancing around me like a stud when I went to bring him out of the field, and I released him in the outdoor arena to let him get his kicks out. He ran, he bucked, he squealed and leaped, and I found myself hungrily watching his every move, his muscles gleaming and rippling with tension in the fading evening sunlight, his every move so alive, so unlike Quincy had been. I drank in the sight as though I had never seen a horse running before, and burned the memory into the back of my head in case he, too, were to lay down and die on any old regular Tuesday like Quincy had just done. Still in disbelief and shock, unable to think or feel, I laid out on the trampoline by the house, staring up at the setting sun and wondering if Quincy was up there looking down at me. Perhaps he had found a big banana tree to hang out in, we mused.

The transport for his body had gotten lost on their way to the farm, so it was nearly 10pm by the time they arrived at the farm. It was dark out, and using the light of our cars' headlights, we backed the truck up to the place where we needed his body to be. Unchaining him from the other dead horse in the truck, they began lifting the dump bed without warning, and I realized a second too late what was about to happen. With a sickening crunch, all one thousand pounds of him tumbled from the truck bed, landing with a heavy, dull thud on the wet grass below. I almost thew up at the sight.

We watched Finding Nemo that night. I'll never think of that movie in quite the same way again.



In the morning, we laid him to rest. They wisely put him in the hole before I arrived, so the only traumatizing thing I had to endure was watching his already stiff legs swaying back and forth as the dirt filling around him rolled him up onto his back. I threw three tulips into the grave with him, plucked from a neighbor's garden. One for his heart, one for his soul, and one for the piece of my own soul that had died with him. I suddenly found that I couldn't cry, couldn't think, couldn't do anything but go into hyperdrive for an entire week, living every last second as though I too might die without warning, filling as much into a week as I possibly could, running on almost no sleep. At the end of the week I crashed, utterly exhausted, crying myself into nearly 24 hours of almost consecutive sleep. But Metro needed me. Metro was what got me out of bed in the morning. Metro helped me keep going when all I wanted to do was go dig a hole in Quincy's grave and bury myself in there too. Metro buoyed me up when I needed it most.


I hope none of you ever have to witness anything like it. It was the most traumatic experience of my young life, and I hope nothing ever tops it. I've never really written about it like this before.



I miss him. Every day, I miss him.



Quincy.



I have lots to write about over the next few days. The clinic was great! James was a superstar. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Today is the six-year anniversary since Quincy died... I can't believe it. Six whole years.

Please, go read last year's tribute to him. I want everybody to know just why he was so special to me. And I hope everyone has a horse like him in your life, at least once.

More later.