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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Really Bad Lameness Eval Video

It's pretty much impossible to get a distractable mare to pay attention on the lunge when you are completely ignoring her in favor of handling a iPod recording a video. Sorry about the totally AWFUL quality. Hard to see anything with her head in the area paying attention to absolutely everything except me. She is, and always has been, a giraffe on the lunge - which is why I never, EVER as a rule used to lunge her without equipment on. Talk about unproductive. Also, potentially harmful. Remember Crazy Trainer who lunged Gogo into the ground on a 12m circle for an HOUR a day in ONE direction (to the right) on uneven ground? Six days a week... for SIX MONTHS? Yep... that'll mess a young mare for life. And I wonder why the right continues to be a problem. We wonder sometimes why they break down... if they're just too weak to hold up and have some sort of genetic anomaly. In reality, WE are usually the cause for it - they'd be fine and sturdy and hardy if WE didn't mess them up so badly. The poorly conformed ones break down easily, and the tough ones still have issues if we trash them when they are young and growing. I still, to this day, blame myself for Gogo's accident. And I always will. I blame myself for her re-injuries too. I cantered her on a circle when she wasn't ready the first time. And I rode her out on the beach when she wasn't ready the second. Regardless of whether or not I thought she was ready, she wasn't. And I'm now facing a chronic injury that might result in a permanent lameness because of it.

Anyway, I digress. Here's today's footage:

It's about the same as it was the other day - noticeably lame to the left, and pretty darn good for the most part to the right.

Poor Gogo. I still don't think she injured herself because she's genetically weak, and I don't think she re-injured because of that either. I still think the blame resides with me. It would be irresponsible of me to do what so many horse owners do and blame the horse for not being able to hold up to their workload. In some cases, like with a badly conformed horse, why would a rider put them through something they won't be able to hold up to anyway? And in a well-conformed horse, that in theory SHOULD be able to hold up well under pressure, it's even sadder - how did you manage to break that thing? It's not like he chose to be lame on purpose.

Unless it's in an unrelated pasture/barn/trailer/whatever accident, the blame rests with the rider/trainer/barn manager when a horse goes lame. Disagree with me if you will, but 9 times out of 10, I fully believe that it is the human's fault in one way or another, be it through improper management, improper riding, pushing a horse too much or beyond his limit, or the like. I don't believe that "some horses just break down and that's how they are." All that does is ensure that whoever caused the problem in the first place feels better about themselves and moves the blame to the animal in question, as though it was the horse's own fault that he went lame. There is ALWAYS a reason, whether it an acute injury or repetitive damage.

Even those of us to struggle every day to do the best we can by our athletes don't always get it right.


jenj said...

I know you've heard this before, but don't beat yourself up too much. Hind sight is 20/20, and you did the best you could with the information you had at the time. Did you think she was fit to go on that course? Yes. Did you think she was ready to canter on a circle? Yes. Did you think she was ready to go to the beach? Yes. And if you didn't, I KNOW you would not have done ANY of it. You're doing the best you can by her.

As for the video, I honestly don't see it. I mean, maybe? But I'm looking REALLY hard for it, only because I know I'm supposed to be seeing something. Granted I'm not great with hind-end stuff, but still... I really don't think it's all that bad.

PS. My word verification is "fatso". Huh, I wonder what they're trying to say? :)

Andrea said...

I see it because I've built a career out of knowing when the horses in my care are unsound or not. That being said, she's still unsound, but she is also a LOT sounder than a lot of horses I see toodling around these days under riders who just don't know what hind end lameness truthfully feels like. So maybe I shouldn't feel so bad.

Val said...

I do not see any unsoundness.

You can absolutely teach her to drop her head and use her body correctly while leading or on the lunge without "equipment". In fact some might argue that the only way to teach her would be sans equipment, since the equipment does not necessarily have a lasting effect once it is removed. It is possible to lunge in such way that the horse is not being broken down. Your full attention would be required and a long whip, of course. ;)

Andrea said...

Val, probably true! Also probably beyond the scope of my training ability. If you want to come try once she is sound you are welcome to ;)

Abby said...

Totally agree with you that it is usually not the horse's fault!

No offense to you or Princess Gogo, but she is looking a bit like this pregnant hippopotamus.

Best wishes to you and Gogo!!

Checkmark115 said...

You do beat yourself up too much. Yes, most times it is always the humans fault, but crazy trainer lunging and other things beyond your direct control most likely contributed to this. All things happen for a reason (a motto I have to tell myself EVERY FREAkING day).

As for Gogo, I love her fat, she is so cute :P And I'm with Jenj, noooot seeing the lameness at all, but then again I don't know her like you do.

Young Equestrian said...

I, too, do not see any lameness, but do you believe at this point that conditioning could help her become just that little bit more sound? If the injury is chronic (as seems to be the case with Gogo's) strengthening her may help, no?

Andrea said...

Young Equestrian, that was the idea up until the other week.... then the leg blew up and the lameness became more obvious to me than it was. I can only assume without confirming on ultrasound that she has reinjured, or something of the like, given the way the leg looks (i.e. a lot worse than ususal). So I don't think conditioning is going to do anything but hurt her until it gets under control again :/

It's weird though.... nobody sees lameness in this video, but in the other video I posted where I thought she was sounder than she is now, everybody saw lameness. I should do a comparison post....

Val said...

I was born in Texas, but have not been back since I was a yearling. But for your mare, in a heart beat I would gogo!