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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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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Marti Go Byebye

Yes, it's true. Marti is going home and after you read the following, you will understand why.

Following our small breakthrough, Marti's behavior remained fairly unchanged. He was still not so sure about being caught in the pasture, but eventually was coming if I had food. I decided to give him another shot, and went to lunge him again as I had been doing last week before he went all kinds of bat-poop crazy on me. He had previously been great on the lunge, so I groomed and tacked him, and added a surcingle to the mix to see how he would feel about that. He cringed, as he does when you put something new over his back, but was otherwise fine. Out on the lunge in my enclosed field/arena area, he started off fine, and then offered up a canter, which he hadn't done before - I didn't think he knew how to canter on the lunge. He was pulling like a freight train at one corner of the circle, and cutting in on one side, but that is a green mistake, so we were working with it to make him a little more even all the way around. Marti, however, had other ideas. On the far end of the circle, in full lunging regalia with bitted lunge caveson and all, he just stopped turning and started running in a straight line. Buh-BYE. This is exactly the way he had figured out previously to get away while leading: come forward, spin on his haunches, and bolt in the other direction away from the person. He ran through a stud chain with my full weight on him that way, twice, with absolutely no regard for the flimsy human being on the other end. On the lunge, he just took off in a straight line. There was absolutely nothing I could do except get my shoulder ripped out of the socket before letting him go. He galloped off at high speed, fully outfitted with gear and a lunge line trailing. As I watched him galloping away from me at full speed towards the fence, barely slowing in time to avoid fully crashing into it, I thought to myself, wow... one of us is going to get killed here.

And that's when I decided I had had enough. A horse his size with a blatant disregard for pressure even though he knows exactly what pressure is is not one I want to be working with as a fun side project, because it's NOT fun. Could I eventually fix him? Maybe. Could a more skilled person have more success with him than I could? Likely. Do I want to put myself in harm's way for a potential evetual bop-around ride? Nope. Honestly, I don't. I wish it could have worked out differently, but it didn't. The owner has been very gracious about it and knows his shortcomings. She will be taking him home either tomorrow or within a few days.

It just isn't worth it to me. I gave him a good try, and the negatives of the situation FAR outweigh the small positives. I hate feeling like I 'gave up,' but I don't actually feel very strongly like I did. More like... protecting my assets. Mainly my currently-intact body. And his.

I am not going to pursue finding another lease horse. My landlord is finally fixing up my fence and barn behind my house, so Gogo will be moving soon to the 5 acres directly behind me instead of the 15 so that the larger acreage can be set aside for growing hay. I have an offer to take on the mini from our farm (AKA Devil Pony) as her companion, and this will be great provided that I assure myself that the local pack of coyotes won't eat her. The other major challenge I'll have is that this pony was previously horribly foundered. Wait until you see her feet, you will die of horror. She is currently sound enough to run around attacking the big horse she is turned out with without apparent lameness - and by some miracle she lands properly and is growing in a new healthy hoof capsule - but wow it's scary. She'll have to live in a grazing muzzle, especially during the spring. The other option is a mini donk, which for SURE will keep the coyotes at bay. But I dunno... pretty sure Gogo would kill a coyote if she got the chance.

So that's that, I guess.

27 comments:

Dressager said...

Bummer :(((
The right horse will show up eventually, don't you worry.

As for the mini, see if you can work your amazing hoof skillz on him. But mini donks are fun, too......... I'd personally go for the mini donk :)

Alighieri said...

That's sad, but you made the right call in terms of keeping all body parts (human and equine) intact.

Abby said...

What a disappointment :(

But you are making the right decision by not keeping him and putting yourself in danger.

What are you going to ride now?

Melissa said...

Well, rats. Sorry to hear it didn't work out, but I'm glad you can put your own safety above the 'I've gotta fix this horse' feeling. Have fun with whatever you do decide to take on. :-)

Funder said...

Sorry it didn't work out with him, but very good call. He has more issues than you should have to deal with. :)

Andrea said...

Abby, I am not riding because I have nothing to ride.

Albigears said...

Yeah, sometimes it's hard to not try to fix every damaged horse soul that comes your way. I know I felt horrible guilt the first time I let a "crazy" one go, but it opened the door for something really awesome to come my way. Awesome and FUN. I would be surprised if there aren't a long line of people wanting you to ride their horse soon.

Lisa said...

What a bugger! It takes a brave chick to admit 'defeat' and send him home. Better that than someone getting hurt!

Mini donk sounds too friken adorable to pass up though... Maybe you could get one that is harness broke? How awesome would that be?! You could start another blog!

Hurricanes12 said...

oh well, you gave him a fair enough chance and perservered long enough to see his personality and habits weren't just reactions to a new environment.

i think it's a sign of a safe, knowledgable horse person to let the ones go elsewhere, that can injure their handler/themselves.

and i'm sure gogo will be happy to have her mom back all to herself again >:)

Barbara said...

Good choice! There are lots and lots of nice horses that need a new home or some non-life-threatening training through no fault of their own. Then there are the ruined ones that just simply are not worth the risk.

Des Corbett said...

I would take the mini donkey any day over a high-maintenance mini. Besides, I am quite certain Go-Go can handle any coyote, dog or anything else that dares enter her pasture. I had a TB mare that was turned out with my parents sheep herd (about 100 sheep) and darn if they were never molested by coyotes while she was there. She adopted the entire herd as her own and was the best guard they had ever had.

As for Marti, I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out, but I am so with you on that one. We had much the same scenario just a few weeks ago, with an appendix QH who was so crazy and terrified, we ended up having to replace 14 fence boards in the arena that he bashed during one of his freak-outs. I am so not into that kind of project. We tried to reach him for three weeks, but decided our safety was a bit more important and sent him back to his owner.

Kate said...

Aww, bye Marti!

Jill said...

Yikes! I too have been on the other end of a longe line when a draft cross has decided she's had enough and taken off full speed in a straight line. Good call on giving him back, like you said....you want to have fun and not get hurt. The right horse will find you.

lilyrose said...

Long time reader-first time commenter here. Sorry you had to let Marti go. But it's easy enough to get hurt by well-behaved horses. This guy could have done some big damage to you. Not worth it. I think you made a good choice.
I would opt for a mini donk or a BLM burro. I own a mini donk and he gets along great with all three of my horses. I think you would fall in love with one. I can't imagine my life without one!

Karen said...

I vote for the mini donk. :)

SprinklerBandit said...

Sounds like a reasonable decision. Glad you're taking care of yourself.

thistimedressage said...

That sucks. My two horse-less years, I worked with some pretty problematic animals, but I also drew the line on one. One of them did the lunging thing you're describing (and bolted when handled); luckily he was nice undersaddle so it was worth it for me. Sounds like Marti just had too many issues to make it both productive AND fun to work through them.

I wouldn't totally give up on a lease option, though. Have you tried the Chronicle's horseless rider thread? I realize this setback is a bummer, and I realize that finding the right side project is a pain. But, whatever horse you find could help you move forward w/ your riding while GoGo is resting. Even though the two horses I worked with were complicated (as were their situations/owners), I learned a ton that I am now applying to my young horse. It was a pain to find the right horses and to work through their issues, but ultimately worth it. I hope something else comes along.

P.S. Can you lesson on a trainer's horse if all else fails?

christine said...

Hey if you want to lease a little brown mare let me know we can maybe work something out because I am going on study abroad......

Young Equestrian said...

This one sounds FUN!

http://www.cothclassifieds.com/Horse/jumperdressage-for-free-lease-listing-354.aspx

If I lived in Texas, I would be on that mare!

Dom said...

That didn't take long ;)

(not that I blame you for not wanting to deal with that... it's obnoxious)

Val said...

Live to ride another day!

And don't even worry about how much time you gave him. The faster you can recognize that a horse is dangerous, the more intact your person will be!

I went to look at a horse with a friend once. After handling the horse on the ground briefly, I knew that the horse was not acceptable for purchase (dominant, in pain, nuts, or all of the above). Just for interest's sake, I asked the owner if she would show us how the horse went. I felt that I was calling her bluff. In my mind, there was NO WAY anyone would get on this horse. To my surprise, the owner said okay. I still do not know if she thought she could hold the horse together or if she was truly that clueless, but the horse threw her, rodeo-style, within 60 seconds of mounting, complete with a rear and a shimmy to free himself of his burden. After checking that she was not hurt (no helmet, too), I recommended a local retirement farm and left with my friend, all fingers, toes, and limbs accounted for and thanking our years of experience that we knew not to get on that one!

Tricia said...

Aw, I'm sorry it didn't work out, but good for you for knowing when to call it quits-- before anyone gets hurt! As others have said, it's a good, smart decision, and you will be free to accept the right opportunity when it comes along. Hang in there, and know you did the right thing!

manymisadventures said...

Bummer, but sounds like the right choice.

My vote is for the mini donkey :)

Shirley said...

Just found your blog through the next blog button; I'll have to read more! My horses are transitioning to barefoot. I ride western and plan to take some dressage lessons this spring and summer.

smazourek said...

I think you made the right decision here. It takes a lot of love and commitment to work a horse through those kind of issues and you've already got your heart horse- Gogo.

Cat in Virginia said...

Just to add another voice to the chorus - Seems to me like you're making the right decision. It's one thing to take on a project knowing you'll be starting from the ground up, that the horse has trust issues you'll have to work thru and it will probably take years before the horse is competing (if that's what you want to do). There are horses that are worth the effort, and people who have the time and means to put in that kind of work. BUT, for someone like you who is looking for a tune-up horse to hopefully do fun things with in a relatively short period of time.....it is completely right for you to turn away from such a project. You are doing yourself and more importantly the horse a HUGE favor by admitting he's not right for what you want to do and how much time you have to devote to his issues. Really, if you'd been told Marti essentially doesn't know ground manners and had trust issues, would you have even been interested in him to begin with?

I had a trainer who got a horse that was very similar in the sense that he was technically well broke, but had major trust issues. She ended up working with him for years and he made an AMAZING horse for her - but it took a long time, and you still can't just throw anyone on him. It's his personality to be bonded to and trust just one person, and it took a long time for my trainer to develop that relationship. For her, she'd already bought him and it was worth it. For you, that kind of scenario just doesn't make sense! But don't give up on finding one that will work - many fish in the sea :-) There are always those ones like my mare who thinks all humans wonderful because human = treats!!

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