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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 26, 2011

In Which Gogo Permanently Defeats Her Muzzle

Hmmmmmmm. Well, I knew this day was coming. After a long, exhausting battle to keep Gogo’s grazing muzzle on during the day, she has finally progressed from simply removing it to actually completely shredding it. It is currently in several pieces in the front seat of my car while I attempt to figure out a restoration. Seeing as I am about as handy as a cream cheese bagel, I don’t see any magical repairs happening anytime soon.

Gogo had been wearing her grazing muzzle for half days up until about a week ago. I then was cruel enough to switch her to full-day muzzle wearing, and she clearly wanted nothing to do with that idea. Day one went fine, except for the fact that Gogo spent most of her day listlessly toodling back and forth across her field, refusing to eat (although she did drink). Day two she rubbed her two brains cells together VERY hard, and figured out how to get the muzzle off. I put the muzzle on at 7:30am, and it was still on at noon. By 5pm, it was off and missing in the field. I located it, dusted it (and her flymask, removed and torn) off, and hung it up for the night, placing it back on in the next morning. By noon, it was off again. Still undeterred, I gave it another shot, wondering whether or not it would once again be off by midday, or if she would just give up and figure it out. When I came back at lunchtime, it was off, but this time the snap was attached to the diamond mesh, the breakaway was broken, the ground around the fence was torn up, and the entirety of the sewn on parts of the straps on the muzzle were torn off. Apparently, she got it stuck on the mesh, struggled, blasted through the entire thing, and escaped to freedom. At least she didn’t hurt herself, but she could have.

Well. Even if it had a breakaway, the muzzle obviously didn’t quite do what it was supposed to when it got caught on something. I don’t really have any interest in letting Gogo break her neck while getting hung on something in the name of diet and weight loss, so I think I need a new plan. The only problem is…. What else can I do?

There is nothing else I can take away from her diet outside of pasture – she isn’t eating grain or hay, just supplements and pasture. I can’t create a track system either. I would LOVE to give it a try, but again, the property Gogo is on is my landlord’s hayfield, all of which is hayed. Setting up a track system would take away from precious hay… although I supposed you could argue that it actually SAVES hay in the middle of the field…. No matter, the argument isn’t going to fly. I can’t muzzle her, seeing as she is potentially going to hurt herself in the struggle to remove it every day. I could potentially stall her for portions of the day, but whenever she ceases movement, she stocks up pretty dramatically, not to mention the fact that I think her future soundness is going to bank on perpetual movement. Honestly, if I can give it to her in any way, shape or form, I fully intend on keeping her out 24/7 for the remainder of her days. I could potentially continue her handwalks down the road, but again, I unfortunately don’t think this is a particularly safe option (freeroaming territorial dogpacks in all directions). I could, pending vet approval, start to sit on her again regularly….. but should I give it six more months in turnout, like I had originally planned? Is it going to be too risky to sit on her, or do I potentially risk further damage to that leg with all the extra heavy fat she is carrying around?

Dilemmas, dilemmas. I’m not really sure what I should do. I don’t really have anywhere safe to ride out here anyway – the pasture isn’t exactly a nice level surface, and the hay is up to her knees. That being said, she was cantering lithely back and forth up the fenceline today without an issue while looking for Bobo, so maybe terrain is less than an issue than I figure. But will she behave herself if I sit on her? If I have to drug her, there is no way I can ride on anything but level footing. It’s just not a chance I can take.

We’re still planning on having an ultrasound done in early June, but this will have to wait until the EHV scare settles down. We’ve had a case here in Weatherford, and all the local equine hospitals are completely closed down for the time being. I’m obviously not in a hurry, but I am looking forward to it. I’m not sure I’ll follow vet’s orders if he tells me to start riding right now, which he likely will. I’m not really sure what to do.

Suggestions?

14 comments:

Barbara said...

Is there anywhere - maybe near her stall - that you could set up a small pen with fence panels? She would eat everything there and turn it into a dry lot and just stay there part of the day.

Abby said...

I don't think you can hurt her by just sitting on her. The sooner you start riding her, the sooner the weight comes off.

As for the weight issue... this might sound stupid but maybe provide her with a Jolly Ball and some Lick-Its in the pasture. Maybe it will distract her from eating so much?

Deered said...

Strip graze her - it will restrict the amount of movement, and she will graze down the grass in the area she has access to but it does minimise the amount of fresh grass she gets. And the paddock owner must be daft if he thinks that he's going to get good hay with a horse grazing it, and having full access to the place. She's a horse, she'll eat the best grass and leave what she doesn't like.

Chelsea said...

Bring her to where you work for a bit? Perhaps they have a better dry lot turn out option? Facilities to walk her a bit...

Minus Pride said...

Personally, I wouldn't ride her...I would give her the whole year, and you'll actually get a sound horse back.
I know you said the road walking was out, but can you lead her around the field in the evenings...like a dog on a leash :)

Andrea said...

Pretty much anything that involves changing his field is out of the question - strip grazing definitely included in that. I could bring her to work with me, but she'd have to be turned out in an area that is about 1/4 acre (versus the 15 she is on), and she'd have to be stalled at night. Argh!

DS said...

Can you dry lot her at your place at night and then turn her out just during the day, or vice versa?

-DS
Adventures In Colt Starting

Styric said...

Electric tape and strip graze. Cheap, no field damage, freedom to move. I've used it for laminitics

Danni said...

Why don't you hand walk her in her field? Safe from the dogs n

jenj said...

I'm with Abby - I think if you go for tackwalking - no contact or real "work", just long slow miles - it won't be too hard on her. I also wouldn't worry about the uneven ground in her pasture, since she's out on it 24/7 and is coping well. Plus, she looks great in the videos! Obviously only you can be the judge of what's right for her, but long slow walks under saddle are certainly something to consider.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Isn't it hard to go back to a stall option when they have free roam like that? It does prove to be SO good for them all the way around.
In terms of exercise..I would think a nice 'dog hand walking' could be ok..or even sitting on her at the walk, would be fine...but yes, talking w/ vet would give you the assurance to do so. Even when we got our clearance, I broke it up for him, as to never over do it.

Jennifer said...

What about long-lining at the walk? You could then drive her all around the pasture. There'd be no weight on her back, controllable hijinks (hopefully), and she'd be going in a frame and using her muscles which should lead to faster fat burning, right?

East Bound said...

how about putting a big ol fat snaffle bit on her? i remember hearing about people doing that back in the day b4 grazing muzzles. sounds unsafe for being in a field but i bet you could rig up something safe, like a cheap western headstall or using string to attach it to a breakaway halter. I wouldn't do the lick its as they are pretty much pure sugar.

achieve1dream said...

Yeah agree with the last comment on not doing the lick it. But the Jolly ball is nice and she would get exercise playing with it.

However I would not do the snaffle bit . . . I've heard of horses choking from grass getting trapped behind the bit. Not sure how it happened exactly, but it did.

I think hand walking in the field would work, just try to vary where you walk so you don't create a track in the hay pasture. I find it strange that he let's you keep a horse on his hay field . . . weird.

I hope she gets the all clear soon, but totally understand if you decided to do the whole year.

I don't have any suggestions for the grazing except to hope the grass dies off soon with summer approaching or he cuts hay soon or something. Chrome is finally losing weight because the flies are so bad he hides in the barn all day lol!!