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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm doing all right, for the shape I'm in.

Three weeks have gone by since Gogo passed away. I've kept very busy at work, spending my days working horses out in the AquaTread and applying therapies as per my usual. It's all very healing to be able to help other hurt horses, even though it makes me horribly depressed that I couldn't help or save my own. I focused a lot on rehab work when I was in college, and actually designed a facility for a senior project during college that was quite a lot like the one I work at now. I really, really enjoy my job, and I love my growing group of clients that I trim for as well. I'm not advertising yet - I so don't feel ready for that! - but I imagine I will start to actively market myself sometime in the not-too-distant future. Should our claim for mortality come through from Gogo's insurance, I am going to take a different direction with it instead of what I had originally planned to do with it (put it back into another relatively expensive horse). Instead, I plan to take a chunk of the money and use it to solidly establish my business. The rest of it will go into savings, and also into another horse... but I will not be buying another mega expensive warmblood for the time being. Maybe someday I will be rich and famous and be able to throw money around like it is nothing (unlikely!), but for now my priorities are different than they were five years ago when I bought Gogo. I have her to thank for this entire journey, and I will be forever grateful for it.

I received a write up from the vet's office today for my second to last vet bill I'll ever have from Gogo, this one from 10/4 when I took her in for her final evaluation. The write up was incredibly depressing, but assuredly puts to rest any doubts I have had since the time of her euthanasia (with commentary in parenthesis by me):

"Today Gogo is borderline 4/5 lame on RH, has been progressively worse since last exam of RH distal sesamoidean ligaments injury. Lame at walk with 2+ increased settle of RH fetlock especially at right turns - still enlarged grossly and markedly painful to palpation. LH has 3+ effusion in digital sheath and moderate enlargement @ the DSL (distal sesamoidean ligaments)/P1 as RH. Trotting straight increased 2+ RH fetlock flexion response increased 3+, took ~4 strides to get her foot back down. (She hopped away after flexion.) Hock/stifle and suspensory ligament has no pain or flexion response.
Feet are well trimmed and short toes. (Go me! He doesn't know I'm her hoofcare provider so this was great to see that he made a point of mentioning it!)
DXR (digital xray) of RH to evaluate sesamoid position and potential joint subluxation.
Sesamoids are notably distal in position more so than normal and pastern joint is WNL (within normal limits) at this time. (Three days later, it was NOT within normal limits.)
Based on the progressive nature of the RH injury and body mass that accelerates the issue, there is a 0% chance of performance and a guarded prognosis for anything else based on the likelihood of a breakdown injury."

Which possibly was the most depressing write up I've ever seen. I had a great day at work today, but after reading that I just wanted to lay down and forget about everything for a little while. It of course assures me that I did the right thing, but man... it just hurts to read about it.

Her death has profoundly affected me in a lot of ways. I'm really doing well in a lot of aspects of my life - I'm living relatively comfortably, I'm gathering clients and building a nice base in my own business, I'm working a rehab job that I really enjoy, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous, I'm with the Future Hubs of my dreams, I get to see my family AND Nicole who I have not seen in three years come December - but I'm really hurting when it comes to the whole process of finding another horse. I've completely stopped looking at ads of nice youngsters for sale because everytime that I do, I just see a future of debilitating lameness and death. I know it's a bit irrational and extreme, but I am having a hard time not looking at it that way. I just couldn't keep either of my last two horses sound, and I lost both of them because of it. If I couldn't do it for Metro, and I couldn't do it for Gogo (who was my absolute best possible chance to redeem myself after Metro), then how could I do it for another horse? It feels like a lot of my hopes and dreams of competing have died out with her as well. I don't think they are dead and gone forever, but I think they will take some coaxing to come back out again. It isn't that competing isn't a priority anymore, it's just that I have zero desire to break a horse down again. I need to do something for awhile that is lower key in order to prove to myself that I can actually do right by a horse for once and not cripple and kill it. Then, and only then, will I be able to get back to the level that I wanted. Then I will be able to find my fighting spirit again. But it will take a long time.

Which is why I am so interested in Metro's daughter Sophie. Aside from wanting to own her for the past seven years, she might be exactly what I need in order to heal, do right by my karma, and come around again. According to her owner, she is still fine to jump around at 3', but at 4' she comes up a little short behind due to her old stifle injury. The best vets in Calgary worked her up when it happened six years ago, and the best they could come up with was that it was some sort of acute trama. Nothing showed up on any of the images they took with various instruments. I wasn't even banking on her being able to do anything beyond a little dressage and some trail (if even that!), so it's all gravy on top. If she can do some tiny lower level eventing, that's great! If not, that's fine too. As long as she is sound enough to carry my butt around and help me feel like I have a chance at finally righting my horrible horsey karma and turning my eternally awful bad luck around, that's about all I could ask for. This mare deserves all the love, attention, and affection I can shower her with. She's been bounced around and around, and she deserves a well-earned permanent home until the end of her days. I hope I am the one to be able to give that to her. I have absolutely no free time until January (unless something magically opens up), so I don't know what is going to happen in terms of being able to get up there and try her out. And who knows? Maybe I will hate her, or maybe she'll be a total cripple and I won't take her. We'll just have to see.

The Eventing-A-Gogo blog has 404 followers as of today. That is absolutely amazing, and thank you all for taking the time to read about my precious little mare. Through everyone who knew her or read about her, her memory will live on, and for that I am so grateful. Thanks to every last one of you.

Here's Sophie! I am not a fan of that name but I think that I have known her for seven years as Sophie, so it might be completely impossible to chance should she ever come home with me:

She's by no means picture perfect, but she is definitely an improvement on Metro's conformation, that's for sure!


TBA said...

She's gorgeous! Love that face :) I hope it works out for you, it sounds like she might be what you're looking for right now.

Alanna said...

She is pretty! I think you should go for it.

Snowhawk Przhevalsky said...

The more I read, the more I say go for it. :3

The timing is too perfect.

sunflowers & absinthe said...

Seems Kismet. She is a looker, good luck!!!!

Tarra said...

She is gorgeous! I hope you get to bring her home :)

Melissa said...

Aw, she's a cutie! I love the lopsided blaze. It sounds like she may be just what you need right now. Go meet her! (And I'd say clear your schedule to do it, but you know what you'd have to cancel better than I.) I think it's a great idea to put a good chunk of Gogo's insurance into your business, too, it's a good tribute to her.

I'm a bit amused that you have 404 followers as of this post - to computer nerds like me, 404 is the error code for "web page not found". Maybe in this case it means horse not found... yet. There's this gorgeous little bay up in Calgary that you've had your eye on for a few years, though...

Breathe said...

I don't know about correcting your karma, but I do think she will sooth your heart.

You gave these horses very good care all their lives, however brief the journey. In my eyes it's your heart that need repair, not karma.

Hope you can find time sooner rather than later.

Amy said...

I don't know of an eventer that is heavy into competing that doesn't have to take a break at some point. I think we all have to take a step back at some point and reevaluate why we do this. I think you are making a healthy choice and it will only make you stronger and more passionate down the road. Kudos to your clarity and very wise to put money into your business.

Val said...

Glad to hear it. Your rehab job and growing a new business sound like wonderfully productive ways to channel your energy as you heal. I miss reading about Gogo. She really was a special mare. Take all the time that you need. You will be better for it.

Mrs. Exeter said...

I love your blog, and from a purely selfish point of view I think the way you have handled the very difficult decisions you had to make regarding GoGo will help me be strong if I find myself in a similar situation. I'm so glad you are able to help other horses day-to-day - your ideas for building your business sound great. Best wishes, xxx

Bella said...

I admire your strength in a situation like this and your ability to look into putting money into a business rather than another expensive horse. :) I'm not sure if I'd be able to think as logically as you in these circumstances. I'm sure Gogo would be proud.

Sand. said...

Imperfect horses often last forever; we never expect them to be perfect and they often surprise us. : )

I always thought I'd by some light boned warmblood/TB/etc. and fell in love with a short, stocky QH. And he's more amazing and perfect for me then anything else. I think Sophie will thrill you.

P.S. I'm in Calgary for Christmas...can I go for a ride on Sophie ; )

Kate said...

She sure is cute.
I think your allocation of funds from Gogo is probably very wise. I sort of see it as her way of helping you get your business started ;) Plus, I don't think she'd want someone fancy new youngster replacing herself too soon... not that anyone could ever replace Gogo.

Tricia said...

It has been an honor to read your words and follow your adventures with Gogo. While none of us would ever have wanted to follow where you two eventually went, I think we are all privileged to have been witness. We will, we truly will, carry her with us for a long, long time. As for Sophie, or whatever is next, trust your gut. It'll tell you what's right.

eventer79 said...

It's ok to grieve and struggle. Be gentle on yourself and take your time. There is nothing in the universe that says you have to do a darn thing and you shouldn't push yourself back into eventing just because some part of your brain says "I'm an eventer and I compete!" There is no point in doing something you don't enjoy.

I think you have a lot going for you right now in terms of work, etc, so just roll with it. Let yourself work through the grieving process and give yourself the time to resettle that you desperately need.

Anonymous said...

Sophie means wisdom! I know all about feeling under bad horse karma. I had to put my beloved thoroughbred down a few years ago and my two current horses are both lame. Wishing you lots of love!

Bif said...

Will the owner keep her off the market until you can see her?
She looks lovely, and in many ways exactly what you need for awhile.

Netherfieldmom said...

Andrea: I don't want to sound completely nosey or bossy, but I have been wanting to say this for awhile: Your continuous comments about you breaking your horses, crippling and killing them, is the key to your struggle. If, as you say, it was you who purposefully did these things, then you are right--you should quit horses altogether. If, as most of us see it, these happenings were accidents that are part and parcel of horses in sport, and--as is evidently clear to anyone who reads your blog--you did everything in your knowledge and power to prepare and protect your horses, to the best of your ability...then you need to FORGIVE YOURSELF for things over which you had no control, i.e. body construction, uneven ground, mis-steps, wrong diagnoses or medicines or veterinary advice. Foregiveness is a wonderful, healing balm. You need to give yourself some, Andrea. We all have suffered through events like this. You aren't the only one. Beating yourself up daily by saying these terrible things will never make you feel better and will not bring your horses back. Think of it this way, if I had posted all those stories and you were reading them, what would you say to me? Would you agree, that I had broken and killed my horses? I really, really doubt it. You are a terrific horse owner, and a wonderful, unique, talented young woman. You inspire us. We admire your passion and diligence and fortitude. Now, do for yourself, what we have all been doing all along--be thankful and show yourself mercy and grace. Let the anger go. (I say this as an older friend, who was riding horses before you were out of diapers. I hope you can hear it in the manner it is intended. :)

OneHindResting said...

Andrea, I feel that the "best" horses, the ones we love to be with, cannot be bought or found. They find us, and we feel so lucky when they do. They aren't always the most expensive, the most beautiful or the most talented. (But sometimes they can be any or all of those things).

Please don't be hard on yourself - it is plain for all to see that you didn't have Gogo to event her. You had Gogo because you loved her. (And I can't imagine you doing things differently when or if you look at getting another horse)

I hope my friend doesn't mind me posting this, but she shared a poem with me, I'm not sure who wrote it:
"Somewhere behind the rider you've become,
the hours of practice you've put in,
the coaches that have pushed you,
the fences you've hit,
the hard falls you've taken,
the long distances, the chips, the strides, the sweat, the tears, the blood, the blisters, the ripped jeans, the wool jackets on 100 degree summer days, the lame horse, the crazy horse, the "are you serious ?" horse
and everything in between.
Somewhere behind all of this is the little girl who fell in love with the sport, the horse, the idea, and never looked back.
Ride For Her."

To me, it's about remembering why - the answer to the question 'Why horses?'. So I would add:
"Somewhere behind the rider you've become,
The things you've been told, and have accepted,
Is the heart that fell in love with the Horse -
The person that delights in velvet kisses
And rejoices in the simple blessing
Of the company of a horse."

Anonymous said...

Sophie is a beauty and I hope your plans work out. I commend you for having the presence of mind to allow yourself a change of direction. Investing in yourself - on all those different levels - is wise.

I would also like to emphatically ditto what NetherfieldMom said. She was bang on target.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Sounds like Gogo put you on a great path. Building your business, teaching people like me about BARE FEEEETS and general horse loving care. That is nothing to scoff at. Sophie is a pretty girl no doubt. Whatever happens, I'm sure that next horse in your hands will be LOVED and cared for way better than the norm.

Mallory Stiver said...

Andrea, I found a horse on dream horse that screamed your name to me. You should check her out.

achieve1dream said...

Sophie is cute. I hope it works out for her.

That's cool that the vet made positive comments about Gogo's trim. That should make you feel good. I'm glad your trimming business is going well.

We all miss Gogo, but I still think you're putting too much pressure on yourself. Just because you were riding when it happened does not mean it was you fault. Horses break legs galloping across the pasture. Horses are just so accident prone.

You'll find the right horse to build up your confidence again and I can't wait to read all about it. :)