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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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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Final Decision.

"It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things."
- Lemony Snicket



The time to make the most difficult of choices has come.

Monday afternoon, I couldn't stand looking at Gogo's left hind any longer, and trailered her up to see Dr. H in the afternoon. We poked and prodded, we jogged her out, we flexed and palpated and shook our heads. We didn't even bother doing an ultrasound on the left... there is clearly some sort of compensatory issue going. She wasn't dead hopping lame on the right, but she was bilaterally lame.... equally as sore on both hinds, just pulling herself along with her front end. Honestly, with all that was going on behind, she didn't really look that great up front either for the first time in her life. She was absolutely crippled when we flexed her right hind. We did take a set of laterals on both hinds and an oblique on the right hind (radiographs), and while there was no obvious sign of pastern luxation (essentially the pastern dislocating and the bony column failing to align properly due to the breakdown of the entire suspensory apparatus), her sesamoids had rotated away from where they were supposed to be, essentially rolling downwards towards her pastern. Her suspensory and her sesamoidean ligaments are all fraying. (If you want further description of all the ligaments in that area and their workings, look at the second page.) Basically, her entire suspensory apparatus is failing.

My biggest fear at this point is that, given how rapidly everything has fallen apart over the past two months (and two weeks), she is headed for a catastrophic breakdown and I'll find her on three legs unable to move - or worse, down and unable to rise. One serious torque to this limb and everything will go. Considering the snowballing downward spiral she's in, and that I am unable to get her stabilized, it's probable that this scenario might become reality. There is no cure for this, and no fix. Nothing will ever take away her pain, and she'll always have some sort of moderate lameness no matter what we do. It is my personal belief that making an animal live in pain until they breakdown is wrong, and that it counts as poor quality of life.

It has finally all come down to this. I must make the choice no one ever wants to have to make. I have to let her go.



I'm having a very hard time processing this. On one hand, it makes sense, and I know it needs to be done. It gives me comfort to know that she's has a very happy ten months out in a field doing all kinds of happy horsey things, the way any horse would love to live: eating, playing with a herd, napping in the sunshine, lounging under a shady tree. She had a good retirement, and she deserved it.
But the other half of me can't process it. She's only 10 years old. Why couldn't I fix her? I did everything I could and more to help her. Why did nothing work? How could it come to this? She's so happy and beautiful... how could she really be moments away from disaster? Could I do more, could I save her, why did this happen, how could I have lost all three of my horses far too early and in such tragic ways? What did I do wrong, how could I have done this to them? They all deserved so much more than death at the end of it all. My poor sweet babies, where did I fail you? What did I do wrong to lose you all?

How could it have come to this?



I don't have a date yet, or a final plan. There is too much I have to think about that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. I'm very good and unfortunately versed in handling this type of matter, but it's just different when it is your horse. I'm hopelessly attached to her and the looming possibility of life without her is incomprehensible.



This song came on the radio when I was driving home from the vet with Metro all those years ago on the day they told me I needed to euthanize him... and it still makes me bust up crying when I think about it today.




Forgive me, Gogo. I did everything I could for you. The only thing I have left to give you is my love... and peace.



68 comments:

Margaret said...

But you DID give her something. Your love and the best life 10 years could possibly offer. That IS a treasure and something many people would not have been able to offer her. You gave it 110% effort to try and help her get better. It isn't possible. And she is one lucky, well loved horse.

Beyond Ribbons said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this - this post brought me to tears. Please know that you didn't do anything wrong and tried everything you could. Gogo is incredibly lucky to have you as a friend. Any horse would be lucky to be cared for as much as you care for her.

Bif said...

So sorry for you both, Andrea.

God speed, GoGo

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry to hear it. I'm sitting here crying for her. And for you.

You've done right by her. I wish all horses could get the care she's had. We'll mourn with you.

Dressage Person said...

Brought me to tears.

Sending lots of love to GoGo and you both.

Alanna said...

I'm so sorry Andrea. YOU did nothing wrong. This is not your fault and it's not because you didn't do all that you could to help her. Gogo has be so lucky to have an owner and friend like you. I'm praying for you!

Trini said...

Andrea, you did every possible thing to help GoGo through this. You are making the only humane decision you can. I am so very sorry for you. Many many hugs and much love from Trinidad.

Mellimaus said...

I'm crying for you as well. I'm so sorry.

in2paints said...

Your love for her shows even now. You're doing what is best for her and not what is best for you. Far too many people forget to do that when times get tough. You have always done what is best for her and you're lucky to have each other. All those memories you made together can be cherished forever. My thoughts are with you and sweet Gogo.

Tarra said...

I have been a silent follower for some time now. Im SO sorry you have to make this choice. EVERYONE knows that you did everything possible for her and not only do we know it but she knows it. Im so sorry.

Annette said...

Don't beat yourself up about this. You did more for her than most people would and more importantly, you loved her.

irish horse said...

What more could you ask for, than to be loved. And Gogo truly is. I am so sorry and my thoughts are with you both.

GunDiva said...

I'm so sorry.

You have given her a good life and a lot of love. She's been lucky to have you in her life.

((Hugs))

Jenny said...

It was heartbreaking to read this post.... but you've done everything you could and more, & Gogo is lucky to have had such a devoted owner! She's a happy horse... and horses don't waste time thinking about tomorrow or feeling sorry for themselves about today. They don't give in to wimpiness... which is why it's so hard to make such a difficult decision!! You'll know when it's time to let her go...

Denali's Mom said...

You did nothing wrong. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I know now what those first few steps feel like and it sucks.

Maybe whoever it is that makes the decisions above (I think it's God) wanted Metro, Quincy and Gogo to know unconditional love. He sent them to you so they would have the most amazing life possible. Her life may be shorter than other horses, but she has lived a greater life than many horses who live to 30.

Don't put yourself down. It's hard not to, but you've done EVERYTHING you could do. Now love her, take time for yourself, and breath (it's easy to forget. )

I love you lady!!

Net said...

Oh, Andrea, I am so, so sorry.

I'm crying over the heartbreak you must be feeling, and hope you are able to grasp how right you were in all you tried for her. No one could have done more to try to find the answer to make things right without turning a corner and being unkind.

I wish you peace in your decision, because the only thing to say about having to make it is that it sucks. It seems the right decision. But it sucks.

Ellie said...

Andrea,

I am just sick inside for you and GoGo. I've been following your blog for a long time, and have long admired your spirit and fortitude. I don't quite know what to say. But I know that you will, ultimately, make the best, and kindest, decision for you and your amazing mare. I fully support whatever decision you end up coming to.

Much love,

Ellie (and Penny Lane)

pony said...

Oh Andrea, I am so sorry.

Lisa said...

Gee life is just shit sometimes. How can all those shitty owners get sound horses that seem to live forever and someone so deserving like you get a third strike?! I just don't understand how that can work in a fair world.

Everyone else has already said what I feel for you. Please don't fall off the radar after she has gone. I want, we all want, to know that you are ok. Xoxoxoxox

Lisa said...

Also, I <3 that Lemony Snicket quote. It describes it perfectly

sally said...

A short life but a most loved life ....more than so many horses ever get. Gogo is a lucky horse to have had you as an owner ...much love being sent to you both

Tricia said...

Oh sweetie, there is nothing for Gogo to forgive you for; you've done everything and then some. Now that it is time to do the kindest and hardest thing, you're doing that, too. I'm so sorry for what you have to face. Sending you both much love and kindness.

Jennifer said...

Oh Andrea,

I'm so, so sorry to read this. I kept praying for some kind of a miracle for you. But please Andrea do not beat yourself up. You have done EVERYTHING you could for Gogo. She would not have gotten better care with anyone else. And most importantly, you love her. I so wish you didn't have to make this choice, but at least Gogo has known this kind of love. She has always had the best care. I'm here for you if you need anything. We love you both.

eventer79 said...

Andrea, there is nothing I can say that will make it better, but know that I am thinking of you and Gogo. It is nothing short of a heartbreak deeper than any chasm we can imagine.

jenj said...

I'm thinking of you both. Lots and lots of hugs.

Linda said...

I feel for you and Gogo. i have followed your blog from South Africa and I feel your pain. i understand what you are going through more than you know as i was faced with a similar decision with my 4 year old unbacked warmblood. i too wanted to fix something that couldn't be fixed. Gogo couldn't ask for a better owner. Thinking of you and sending hugs across the ocean from south Africa

Linda said...

To place your horse's need for you to let him leave his failing body above your need to keep him with you - that - is the greatest and purest love.

Cynthia Garrett

appydoesdressage said...

I am so sorry for you but I know you are doing the right thing for her. We are here for your support if you need us.

Kelly said...

They say you will know when it is time...but when that time comes, it takes your breath away.

Much love to you and Gogo.

Dom said...

I am so incredibly sorry. I can't even imagine what this is like for you. Ozzy is 10 and dealing with a serious injury and all I can think is how easily this could have happened to us. I wish you peace and closure in this incredibly difficult decision.

smazourek said...

I'm so sorry it's come to this, you did the best you could.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry. :( My heart breaks for you.

Katie said...

my heart is breaking for you right now. But I know you are making the right decision, and it would be the same one I would be making in your situation. Just remember the wonderful life you gave her and know you did everything you could!

BritnieAnn said...

Also a silent follower that couldn't be silent anymore. I'm so sorry it all wasn't enough. And you DID DO EVERYTHING and more for your sweet girl. Not many horses get to live a life with such an adoring partner.

Prayers for you and Gogo, I hope your healing comes swiftly...

Katie said...

I'm so deeply sorry - like the others, your post brought me to tears. Please know this isn't your fault - you did everything possible for her, and you have never failed to put her needs above your own. She is so lucky to have you in her corner, no matter what.

Hang in there. My thoughts are with you in this incredibly difficult time.

Horseyhabit said...

I'm so, so sorry about Gogo. I just found your blog a short while ago, but it's obvious that you love this mare like crazy.

My heart goes out to you, it is so hard when we have to say goodbye to our horses. (dogs & cats too, but horses are different)

Be strong & know you are doing the best thing for her, even though it hurts more than words can say.

Jamie

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Andrea..I want to tell you wise words that will help...but I know how it just doesn't help ease the pain.
You know you loved that Mare and none of this is your fault and that you do/did everything for her to help her. She is lucky to have the 10 yrs of love that most animals never get.
I'm so sorry...the pain of this is truly unbearable but please find peace in knowing we are ALL so sad along with you and supporting you...
I'm so sorry, I'm literally crying along with you.

Laura Crum said...

I'm so sorry. It doesn't seem fair. There just are no words for how hard it is to go through this. I know its no comfort now, but I have lost loved horses and dogs--and I was able to love others eventually and find joy again. When my little boy lost his much loved pony, Toby, I told him that Toby was passing that love to Henry (the new horse)--and I believed it. I still think Toby looks after us and that he brought us equally dear Henry. I think Gogo will keep on bringing you more love--by one path or another.

*Sharon* said...

I've nothing to add to those wise words above, except my sympathy and thoughts.
Amazing that one little slip has led to this.
Kia kaha!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Chris said...

Your post made me cry, I'm so sorry for you.

Snowhawk Przhevalsky said...

You've given her everything you can. There are always "What ifs..."

I'm so sorry...

Snowhawk Przhevalsky said...

I completely blanked on the other part oc my comment, so I'm just making a second one...

I don't think you did anything "wrong." I don't think any of us do. You did what you thought was best for her, physically and mentally. Some times... there are just bad breaks. In animals and people. I've read back through your entries, since her injury, and I can tell from what I've read that you were doing what you thought you needed to do. And trying to keep our companions happy and comfortable, and making that decision when they get to the point where they won't be comfortable or happy or have a good quality of life is not wrong...

Ruffles said...

I wish I could say something to make it all better. I am literally crying for you and Gogo right now.
It was a really hard decision for you to make and I don't know if I could have the strength to do that if something happened to my horse. I admire you.

LoveLaughRide said...

I'm so very sorry about your mare. I have been a silent follower since I found you while researching barefoot eventing. You gave me hope and confidence that you can be successful without being shod (everyone tells me I am crazy).

I hope that you are able to find peace in your decision knowing that you have done the very best by Gogo. And remember, Gogo was one of lucky ones who got to be have a job she loved with a partner who adored her. We should all be so lucky in life.

Jessica said...

I'm relatively new to your blog, but the overwhelming love you have for Gogo is apparent every time you write about her, even to a newcomer like me. I'm so heartbroken for you and the choice you are having to make for your beloved mare. I'm so sorry.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Wishing you peace with your decision Andrea. So sorry - love to you both ♥

STB Eventer said...

I'm so sorry Andrea. Big hugs to you and Gogo both.

curlykates said...

I too am in tears right now and my heart breaks for you and Gogo. I echo all those who say that, not only did you not do anything wrong, but that you did everything that was in your control RIGHT. You made the best decisions that you could with the information that you had. There is only so much that we can control and sometimes, biology isn't one of them.
Remember to be proud of all that you accomplished together. What you have learned from her has already benefited many of people through your blog and will benefit many lives, both human & equine, in the future.
Thank you for being brave enough to share you experience with the world. Many virtual hugs, snaps, & healing thoughts for you and love and peace to Gogo.

xthemad1 said...

My heart aches for you. <3
She's so lucky to have you as her loving owner. Much love to you and beautiful Gogo..

Val said...

I wish for you 1000 times over that this was not so. Gogo will be beautiful and ageless forever, because you were her human.

Breathe said...

A well lived life. This has been your gift to her.

I'm so sorry.

Sarah said...

Oh Andrea. Don't doubt yourself and everything you did for Gogo and the others. Horses are designed to break our hearts sometimes, I swear. All that said, I can't even imagine myself in your place-it hurts to much. Miles and I send our love and peace to you and sweet Gogo. Take care of yourself during this difficult time. Gogo wants you to. **hugs**

Kate said...

Hi Andrea, I just wanted to send my love and support and let you know I only hope to be strong enough to give Lucy the gift of being pain free if it ever comes to that.

Lexie said...

I have no words that can comfort you, but I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you and Gogo often. You are a very strong person, and I admire you.

stupidhumantricks said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. You haven't failed Gogo, you've had her best interests in mind from day 1. It sucks and it's sad, but it isn't your fault.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Coldplay just has a way of putting the words and music together in a way that spells it all out beautifully.

Sorry to hear about Gogo. Seems you gave her the best in life while you were a team. Letting them go is never easy, even when we rationalize things and it is the only option left. She will always remain in your heart.

A tear and a toast.

Those were the words left on my blog by a good friend when I lost my jumper mare Tess 2 years ago. We put her down the day before Thanksgiving. Something I will never forget. ((hugs)) you will get through this in time. tearing up as I type.

RiderWriter said...

Andrea, nobody ever loved a horse more than you do Gogo, and the world knows it. We have all been privileged to follow your journey together. I am simply heartbroken for you. But there is absolutely no doubt, NONE, that you are Doing the Right Thing.

"The last, best thing we can do for our animals is take their pain unto ourselves." ~ Wise words spoken by my marvelous vet, while shedding tears with me

Take care. Many, many thoughts of comfort and support.

Renee said...

I'm so sorry Andrea. You went above and beyond for Gogo and gave her everything you could. She's lucky to have such a wonderful human.

sweetbay said...

I'm so sorry, I know how much this must hurt, but Gogo could not have had a better mom.

OnTheBit said...

I am so sorry.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Hugs, Andrea. You've done absolutely everything you could to help, and now you're choosing the last thing that will help. She is a lucky, lucky mare to have someone like you who has always looked after her best interests and who is continuing to do so. If it helps at all, imagine all your readers standing behind you with our hands on your shoulders. We support you and we know how much you'll miss her, but most importantly, we know how hard it is to put Gogo first. So we're here for you.

Wiola said...

So very sorry to read this :(( Heartbreaking:(
It's hard to imagine anyone who had done more for their horse than you did for Gogo. I see horses being put down after mild injuries just because they no longer jump high enough and owner want a competition machine.
Some are worked whilst lame till they are so lame they can no longer work at all.

You did all you could. For all of them. Perhaps the reason you know what was wrong with them is that you made an effort to investigate. Many horses I've known got put down with a diagnosis of "lame"...
Suspensories, "navicular", kissing spines etc - sadly they are very common so the last thing you should be doing is to blame yourself for having 3 horses breaking down in similar way.
Their past before coming to you sounds to me more of a problem than your training or management.

You gave Gogo the best part of her life.

Becky & Digby said...

I am so, so sorry Andrea. I don't think I've ever commented before but I've been following your blog for at least over a year now and I've grown to love Gogo and reading about her adventures. My own horse is currently lame (and has been for months now) and reading about Gogo is such an inspiration that it helps me get less upset about my own situation. As many of the other readers have already said, you honestly did your best. Gogo is an incredibly lucky mare to have had you as an owner.

There are no words for what you are going through. I'm so sorry.

Veronica Lodge said...

My heart breaks for you... we are here for you if you need anything at all.

Gogo has had a life very few could measure against, just remember that.

Leeshy-Lou said...

I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say other then I'm sorry.

Gogo is so lucky to have you.

Cygnata said...

*HUG* You did EVERYTHING you could. Gogo may not have a long life, but you've given her a wonderful one.

In the end, its the quality, not the quantity that matters.

achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry. It's not fair what you and Gogo have been through. :( Please don't blame yourself.