A few interesting things have happened recently with Gogo's feet, as I've mentioned a couple of times. They are all directly or indirectly related to grass and the possibility (probability) that Gogo has some sort of metabolic issue, however mild. (I mean, look at her. The mare looks at food and gains weight.) Regardless of whether or not she does, I think it's pretty safe to say that putting this horse back out onto unlimited lush pasture at any point in her future would be dangerous and potentially very harmful. She did not suffer any sort of serious malady during her time out on pasture, but I am certain that if I was less versed in feet, metabolic issues, and nutrition, I wouldn't have ever made any sort of connection between any of these things. She's still as sound as ever in her feet. However, she has some small visual changes in her feet that signal the alarm for me. If she were under different care, this would most assuredly be the horse in a few years that horribly foundered on pasture, with the owner scratching their head going, "I dunno, she's never had a problem before..." The writing is almost always there on the wall for these types of horses. You just need to look for it and know exactly WHAT you are looking for. I'll say it again: in her 6 months on pasture, she has never ONCE been sore. It's not a matter of her soundness. She still crunches gravel, still lands solidly heel-first, still strides out fully. BUT there have been some very interesting changes in her feet that have happened very, very quickly.
1) The entire length of her foot increased... a lot. This mare went from having strong, tamped-short rock crunchers to weaker, lengthened rock-crunchers over a period of a few months. Yes they still crunch rock, but it's interesting that they do. In general, when a hoof capsule gets longer over time (and I'm not talking general overgrowth, I'm talking about when a hoof has just been completely and properly trimmed but still looks long - this also couples with a flat sole), it can point to the fact that the coffin bone is moving lower into the hoof capsule. When I say that, I don't mean the bone is moving, I mean the hoof capsule is slowly but surely distorting around the bone, away from where it should be. (Read a bit about distal decent here. It's not just the classic sinker in a foundering horse... it is WAY more common than you think.)
2) All four feet flattened out and lost their concavity. This coupled with the length of the hoofwall assuredly meant that P3 was settling lower in the hoof capsule. (Remember, she's still sound in all four feet.)
3) A false sole that hung on and couldn't exfoliate itself until literally less than two days after she was pulled completely off of grass. Once off the grass, the stubborn and cracked sole came off easily on all four feet, and all four frogs also exfoliated completely off immediately following. (They did NOT slough off, they exfoliated. Sloughing is a red alert, and exfoliating is a normal process. Believe me, you'd know the difference if you saw it!)
4) Hoofwall rings. This one seems to be more related to taking Gogo off of the Gro N' Win, as the final ring on her hoofwall corresponds exactly to the time when the Gro n' Win was stopped. The new growth is FAR tighter, which means her eternal slight white line separation might actually go away. This is a very, VERY positive thing. If the new growth has been poor, wavy, ripply, bumpy, or otherwise bad, I would be extremely worried.
So what now? Now that Gogo is off the grass for good, her entire sole has exfoliated - kudos to those of you who guessed right - and all four frogs went right along with it. The right hind frog hung on longest, and finally it was ready to go with a little help from me:
If you notice, there are a few things going on. First, the white line separation is pretty noticeable. But we all see the new hoof growing down - above that, there is no flare, and the white line will be tight at the ground-bearing surface once it gets there. This foot is SO flat but still sound, and if I took away that bit of support - no matter if it is flare or not - I would quickly make her quite a lot less comfortable on hard surfaces. If she lived on a soft surface, sure, I might try it. But she lives out on rocky, rough terrain. She is telling me it works for her for this moment, so it stays. One size trim does not fit all.
Secondly, that foot is VERY flat. It just sort of looks less like the thick, robust foot we're all accustomed to seeing. The dimensions of it haven't changed, save for toe length and sole depth. Interestingly, with a trim post-exfoliation the foot is a fair bit shorter than it was already. It is still WAY too flat, and her sole is quite thin. I have a good feeling that when the new growth above the Gro N' Win growth ring hits the ground bearing surface on these feet, that flare and white line separation is going to be gone, and the sole with concave itself pretty quickly. It may concave itself before then, but it might not. We'll have to see.
Left front (clubbier foot) pre and post-exfoliation:
You can't tell from the picture, but the biggest difference here is that the foot is now almost 1/2-3/4 of an inch shorter than it was... THAT much sole came off by itself!
The area of weak medial wall on the right side picture is from where she chipped off a big piece of wall before I could rush my tools out to see her post-exfoliation. GIANT chip out of the toe is a mystery... just one of those things. Certainly aided by the weaker bit of hoofwall where the toe crack is. It was just gone when I showed up the other day, so it could have been anything. Hell, she could have struck at another horse and slammed it into something.... this is Gogo, after all! It isn't a problem and it will go away with new growth.
Foot doesn't look great but it will improve. Again, it is SUPER flat and that fresh new frog needs time to callous over and thicken up. This foot needs time to toughen up a bit and re-concave itself. It will, it just takes some time. In the meantime, she is still walking over rocks like she doesn't care.... which is shocking considering how thin her sole is.
In other news, the fat front leg magically dissapeared by itself - yay! It was, unfortunately, replaced by a fat hind leg - the right one, of course! Great. I was concerned that this could mean another blown adhesion or a reinjured limb, so I dropped her in the roundpen to check her soundness. And this is what came of that:
CRAZY WOMAN. There is still a bit of hitchy lameness, but it is no different than it has been. Blown adhesions are SUPER painful and can cause super lameness, even if just temporarily! Thankfully, she historically has still shown lameness when trotting around even when her veins are coursing with adrenaline, so at this point I'll take it for what it is - a mystery non lameness-inducing fat leg. There is a scrape on the leg, so maybe...? Who knows with Gogo though. At least the Mystery Texas Death Fungus has also cleared itself up and gone away, even if it did leave her with a number of small bald patches on all four legs.
Gogo says, WHEEEEEEEEEE I defy you, thin-soled feet and fat legs!
She is an eternal lesson and a perpetual mystery, that is for sure.
In two days it will be our five-year anniversary together... I can't believe it!!!
Gogo is a 10-year-old dark bay Holsteiner mare who I purchased as a 5-year-old in PA in July of 2006. She came from a fantastic woman with a trainer I instantly disliked, and was just barely started, headstrong, and certainly promising. Her steering was not all there, and the trainer had her head cranked to her chest the entire ride. She also was shod in front with shoes and pads; after having repeated bad farrier jobs cripple my last horse, I was ready to give performance barefooting a try. She tossed both her shoes within a week of me owning her, and that was the last time she ever wore them. More setbacks in her training occured when I left her in the care of a trainer I trusted while I was studying abroad in New Zealand from January to June of 2007 - I came home to find her starved, beaten, and with a rearing problem. Lots and lots of time and hard work, and she's come a long way....
This blog follows her training, her travels, and also her feet! People say horses can't possibly successfully jump or event barefoot at the upper levels... I'm here to prove them wrong.
Proving her heart of gold and guts of steel at the 2009 American Eventing Championships
Show Name: Gogo Fatale
Barn Name: Gogo
Registered Name (AHHA): Revelea
Sire: Lemgo (Landgraf I x Elvira II)
Dam: Fandango (Fasolt x Shenango Lisa)
Color: Dark Bay
Markings: Tiny partial white coronets on both fronts, left hind white pastern, few white hairs on forehead, tiny white snip, tiny white moustache
Height: 16.1 1/2
DOB: June 2nd, 2001
Disciplines: Eventing, Dressage, Jumpers (and occasional contesting, trail, driving, and swimming!)
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Sunday Success Stories
Sunday Success Stories are a weekly feature here at Eventing-A-Gogo. Every Sunday we highlight a reader's own personal journey through overcoming adversity with their horses, sometimes against all odds. These stories are about those who never gave up, and who made a difference in the life of an animal who just needed a little love and care in order to turn around. Send your success stories, past or present, to
For as long as I can remember, my life has revolved around horses. I've been riding since the age of 7, and doing dressage and eventing since the age of 15. My first gelding was a little black Trakehner named Quincy who had had EPM at some point; he was the best friend an emotional teenager could have ever wanted. He died of a horrible colic in 2004. My second gelding was a dark bay clunker of a Trakehner named Metro; he was the best schoolmaster and friend I ever could have asked for, and he trucked my butt around my first real x-country courses, and brought me my first really fancy ribbons. Due to a whole slew of problems, we euthanized him in 2006. My third horse was the quirky and opinionated Gogo, my first youngster and my first mare. She taught me endless amounts of patience, the importance of praise and soft hands, how to graciously accept mass amounts of blue ribbons one moment and how to graciously accept a dose of humble butt-whooped pie the next. After a long and downhill rehab for compounded leg injuries, we let her go in October of 2011. What's next for me? Follow along and find out!
What kind of footware does your event horse sport?
69.7%, Reserve Champion first time at First Level!
March 14, 2009: Mount Holyoke Saturday Sizzler Jumper Show, Division IV Jumpers (2'9"-3'); Two 4ths
April 5, 2009: Mount Holyoke Sunday Sizzler Jumper Show, Division V Jumpers (3'3"-3'6"); Two 3rds
May 10, 2009: King Oak Farms H.T. (Novice); 1st place, 31.1 (Double clear stadium & XC!)
May 30, 2009: Mystic Valley Hunt Club H.T. (Novice); 1st place, 30.0 (Double clear stadium & XC!)
June 26-28, 2009: Groton House Farm H.T. (Novice); 1st place, 31.5 (Double clear stadium & XC!)
July 12, 2009: ENYDCTA/Old Chatham H.T. (Novice CH); RF (34.1, tied for 4th after dressage, dumped on XC!)
July 19, 2009: Riga Meadow H.T. (Novice); 8th (1st after dressage & stadium with a 34, one runout XC)
August 23, 2009: Huntington Farm H.T. (Novice); 5th place, 33.5 (3rd after dressage with a 29.5, 2nd after perfect XC, one rail stadium)
September 11-13, 2009: American Eventing Championships (Novice Horse CH); 30.5 after dressage (in 7th), double clear XC (moved to 6th), W after tendon injuries sustained on XC (would have finished 4th out of 40 with a clean stadium round)
February 2nd, 2008: Chagrin Valley Farms Schooling H/J Show, Novice Jumpers; Two 5ths
February 17, 2008: Lake Erie College H/J Winter Series, Novice Jumpers; 5th
March 14-16, 2008: Lake Erie College Dressage Winter Series, Training/First Level; T3 65.2% (2nd), T4 66% (1st!), F1 69.66% (1st!), F2 63.8% (2nd), First Level Reserve Champion!
March 29-30, 2008: Lake Erie College H/J Winter Series, Adult Amateur Hunters, Novice Jumpers; Hunters 4th, 6th, 6th; Jumpers 5th, 7th
April 18-20, 2008: Lake Erie College Dressage Prix de Villes, First Level; F1 60% (2nd), F2 53.3%, F3 57% (6th), Team "LEC's That's What She Said" 3rd place team! (Scary show where she was in freakish heat, which was obv. in our scores....)
June 7, 2008: South Farm Combined Test, Novice; 1st, 26.0 (Double Clear)!
June 21-22, 2008: Encore H.T., Beginner Novice; 3rd, 42.5 (1st after dressage 38.5, one rail stadium)
July 4-6, 2008: South Farm H.T., Beginner Novice Horse; 1st, 26.6 (1st after dressage 22.6, one rail stadium)!
August 8-10, 2008: Hunters Run H.T., Beginner Novice Horse; 1st, 33.0 (Double Clear)!
August 16h, 2008: Erie Hunt & Saddle Club H.T., Beginner Novice; 2nd, 32.5 (Double Clear)
August 24, 2008: Ellrick Farms Schooling H/J Show, Training Jumper (3'); Two 4ths, one 5th
August 30-31, 2008: South Farm Fall H.T., Area 8 BN Championships; W (1st after dressage, 28.5)
September 10-14, 2008: American Eventing Championships, Beginner Novice Horse; 6th, 33.0 (Double Clear)!
July 7-8, 2007: South Farm H.T., Beginner Novice Horse; 6th, 39.0 (Double Clear)
July 20-22, 2007: Dressage at Waterloo, Training Level 1-4; T1 63% (5th), T2 62% (5th), T3 (3rd), T4 63.2 (5th), 60% (6th)
August 11-12, 2007: Dressage at Grand Haven, Training Level 1-4; T1 60.9% (5th), T2 69% (1st!), T3 61.6% (4th), T4 62.8% (5th), 60.4%
September 16th, 2007: South Farm Mini Trial, Beginner Novice Horse; 1st, 31.5 (Double Clear)!
September 30, 2007: Spinning Wheel Fun Show, All Gymkhana; Seven 1sts, two 2nds, one 3rd
October 7th, 2007: South Farm Fall Hunter Pace, Flat Division; 10th
November 9-11, 2007: Lake Erie College Dressage Winter Series, Training 1-4; T1 65% (2nd), T2 69.3% (1st)!, T3 66% (2nd), T4 64% (3rd)
Sept 17, 2006: South Farm Mini Trial, Intro Horse; 3rd, 39.0 (Double Clear)
October 7th, 2006: Mane Event Fun Show, Barrels, Stakes, Fanny Race!; 5th, 6th, 6th