Custom blog header by Bre!

In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Thursday, October 29, 2009


As you can no doubtedly tell from my recent lack of posts, I am a very, VERY busy girl this week. There is SO much to do at the new barn and not enough hours in the day, and I am working my BUTT off trying to get all my projects under control AND do all my daily tasks AND stand in for a lot of things that the guys can't do when we are short-staffed. But it's impossible to do my job when I have to do someone else's job as well, so I certainly hope that we can get that situation remedied soon. As it stands, I need SO badly to go to the store and get supplies for the farm that I might just be doing that at 6am tomorrow, because I need to make sure the guys know what's on tap for tomorrow since I didn't write it down on the white board tonight (I quite honestly just forgot... didn't leave the farm until almost 8). But despite all the CRAZINESS and not knowing anything but trying to do everything all at once, I love it. Once everything settles down and I actually complete the 29,000 projects she wants me to work on, I'll be able to really settle into a rhythm and take things as they come instead of struggling to juggle them all at once. It's insane but it's great. It's also very exhausting and takes up pretty much my entire life at the moment, which I will need to figure out how to balance. My room is littered with boxed and clothes, all things that need to be unpacked and put away... but I'm just too tired at the end of the day to do it.

And the extra horrible part of it all is that Gogo is getting less than her usual amount of daily attention. I've been so busy these past few days that she didn't get groomed or longlined from Monday through Wednesday, just walked. She hadn't even gotten to handgraze at all because it's been either pouring or completely dark out by the time I can actually do it. We also have some seriously slacker staff on some counts so her stall hasn't been done until like 11am these past few days, which REALLY annoys me, so much so that I've just been doing it myself. Unfortunately for me, she's stuck in the older barn in the smallest stall, which is only about 10x10. It does have the ComfortStall system, but I'd still like to get her somewhere bigger. We are about to be totally full up though, so I dunno how that's going to work. It's a little bit crazy and there is much to get acclimated to.

She is, however, getting to know and love the treadmill, and so am I. That thing is AWESOME! It has all sort of different speeds and heights that it can go to, and you can set it for different programs with varying levels of speed and angle for a real workout. Gogo, however, is just getting the Level 1 set, a totally flat and steady walk for 25 minutes at a time. The treadmill is ideal therapy - it's in a totally straight line (no drunken sailor weaving or turns or hills), it's a hard surface (good for stimulating tendon regeneration), and it's covered so it can be used rain or shine. Gogo was, as usual, totally the proverbial cool cucumber when I put her on it, although it took her a few minutes to really get it - every time I told her good girl, she'd stop, which meant she'd go backwards and hit the butt bar! It only took a few minutes to really understand, and the next day she was totally fine.

More pictures of Gogo on the treadmill coming soon.

Today I had to run allllllll the way to Waterbury to get grain from the sole Buckeye dealer in the state of Connecticut, and I ended up back at the barn quite late. Gogo is now scheduled to go on the treadmill at 11am every day, and hopefully if I ever start to take a lunch break (still haven't taken one all week), I will be able to long line her then. She got a nice grooming and a long lining session today when I got back, which was great and made her a very happy kid. There were several sets of trot poles set up around the ring, and we walked over those a good number of times, which is very useful for losening up those tight hips and back. I never ended up putting her on the Robaxin because her back soreness went away rather quickly (I think it HAD to be related to that vaccine reaction), and she's been off Surpass for nearly 2 weeks now - I hope to NOT put her back on. I haven't iced her hinds this week because quite frankly, they've been tighter than they've been since the injury, and cooler too. They're still not normal and they're still not as cool as I'd like, but give the circumstance I'm impressed.

And the best part.... ONE WEEK til I can get back on her and walk again!!!!!!

Now hopefully tomorrow, after I get Sophie bodyclipped, Pilgrim's mane pulled, all the needed barn supplies from the store, the new hay schedule set in place with the non-English-speaking workers on board, the maintenace guy called about the broken stall front, the folders for the new horses set up, two stalls prepped for two new incoming boarders arriving tomorrow morning, the blanket room measured for new racks, the board and billing book updated, the grains premade, and the 25,000 other things I'm forgetting here all done, then I will be able to maybe unpack some of my stuff from the trailer and figure out where to send my winter blankets to for cleaning. I also made friends with our exceedingly pro-barefoot farrier... more on that later. As for now..... SLEEEEEEP.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Reign of Tedi

I am a busy girl. Busy busy busy busy BUSY and given my last job, I am not accustomed to a job where I actually can take a lunch or sit down in a chair at some point. Therefore, I am exhausting myself at work out of sheer exuberance because I have been working up to 11 hours without sitting down or eating or taking a moment to myself, and you're not actually supposed to do that in a real job. Tomorrow I shall try harder to not try so hard. But there is so much to DO and so many projects and I hardly even know where to begin, I want to do them all at once.

But I will write more about that tomorrow. As for today, an era ended. My favorite school horse of all time, an old fleabitten Thoroughbred named Tedi, was finally laid to rest after 29 years on this earth, 12 of which were spent at his final home and resting place, Bit by Bit, which is also where my two boys are buried. Karen bought Tedi as an 18 year-old to be a lesson horse in 1997, long before my time at the barn, and who even know the number of kids he packed around? He taught the tiniest ones to post and steer, taught the older teenagers like me how to jump around a course (not in a stylish way, certainly, but no matter how many times we bounced around on his back or yanked on his face he just kept trucking in the exact same rhythm), went to a few shows, and lived outside 24/7 and wouldn't have it any other way. He was a very hard keeper and a severely chronic cribber til the day he died, so much so that he had to wear a wire muzzle to keep from demolishing every fence in the paddock. This did not deter him however; I distinctly remember watching him place his head over his friend Sunny's back and managing to crib on nothing overtop this horse's withers. Quite a feat for an old man. At 29 this year though, he started having difficulty getting up when he was down, and recently stopped eating. It was time to let him go with dignity before the hard winter came, and he got to live out his last day in the gorgeous, warm fall sunshine with his friends in the field. His reign ended this morning, and it's amazing to me how despite the fights we've had and the distance between us, we all come together as a family for things like this. He touched all our lives, every last one of us. He was the original Fuzzman, before Quincy was Fuzzman. That's how special he was.

When Quincy's falls because too much of a risk, it was Tedi that I rode in the interim between horses. I had ridden Tedi plenty before this time in my life, but I was never closer to him than during that winter when we spent every week together. I spent that winter before Quincy's retirement riding him bareback every day and nothing more, and learning confidence again with Tedi over fences. I hadn't realized how afraid I had become of jumping until I started jumping other horses. I was never afraid when I jumped Quincy, but as soon as I got put on dumpy old QHs like Barney, I suddenly freaked out, and I fell off a good couple of times when Barney pulled his signature leave-from-a-stride-and-a-half-out-for-no-good-reason. That didn't help my confidence at all. I was so nervous about jumping that - get this - I thought for sure that I wanted to do dressage and only dressage forever. I even looked at dressage horses exclusively for a little bit while I was hunting for Metro. But Tedi - sweet, patient, steady Tedi - was the one that really got me going again. Week after week, he'd pack me around sweet as could be, and even at 23 he and I did some pretty big and complicated stuff. We jumped all sorts of weird stuff - lines of never ending bounces, yawning spreads that we covered with tarps, all sorts of angled lines, and more. Through Tedi, I learned to trust and let my body figure itself out, because he was always going to be there for me. He just recently retired from still giving walk-trot up-down lessons to little kids, a job he excelled at. Amanda sent me pictures of his final day yesterday and I accidentally deleted them, so I will have to get her to resend them. She also sent one to me today of him down and already gone with Nataly laying on him, which made me cry but also made me feel like I was there with them for that moment. He went peacefully and I know he's off with the rest of those boys in horsey heaven, especially Quincy, who was his pasture-mate for a long time.

To all those horses from Bit by Bit that made our lives truly special when we were kids - Magic, Pork Chop, Tedi, Flair, Ziggy, Leroy, Tina, and Quincy - we miss you all.

Here's just a couple of pictures of the boys in their field in wintertime, 2003.

The grey with the honking muzzle (chronic cribber remember?) in the blue blanket is Tedi, the very handsome black with the little white dot on his forehead wearing the grey and black Taka is Quincy, the little chestnut with the red and black Taka (which I desperately wanted for Quincy) is Chris, and the lanky bay with the too-tight cribbing collar and green blanket is Sunny. Such was every memorable winter scene of my teenaged years, right here.

Rest in peace Tedi. We miss you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two Fatties Back to Work

As of Thursday, Gogo's rehab schedule has changed again, and now included one 15 minute handwalk in the AM (up from 10 mins), 10 minutes of handgrazing AM, and 15 minutes of long lining in the afternoon. She is far out enough from the injury to start toying with variations on her daily handwalks. She still needs flat ground, pavement, and straight lines, but she also is craving mental stimuation. I think she's acclimated to the whole idea of stall rest pretty well, but that didn't stop her the other day from doing some serious aerials during her afternoon handwalk. She's very well behaved about her obnoxiousness though - she might be shooting forward or bouncing off the ground with all four feet, but let me tell you something, she NEVER puts tension on the lead! Nevertheless, the last thing I want her to do is to start pinging around like that, so once she hit the 15 min 2x daily mark, I decided it was high time to start long lining/ground driving again. It was cute - when I pulled out the surcingle and the rest of the tack, her eyes about popped out of her head and her ears looked as though if she put them any more forward they'd snap right off.

(It's kind of cute actually... my whole little family minus kitten and parrot are in this picture. Dog, truck, mare, me!)
Boy those are two serious fatties right there. I myself seem to have put on 10 pounds over the course of the past 11 months and I am NOT happy about it. Despite the fact that I am half starved, the boarders are nonstop bringing Dunkin, brie, bagels, and more crap food to the barn, so that's what I've been eating, and it's really showing by now. Nobody is going to stop and look at me and call me morbidly obese, but I know the difference in myself, and that's what bothers me. Once the move is complete, I fully intend on shedding that extra grossness by being able to actually afford all sort of delicious fruits and veggies, and exercise. And as for Gogo, well, that's a bit trickier. I've cut her already meager grain ration to 1.5lbs daily spread out over 3 feedings (and remember, she's not actually getting grain at all, she's getting a ration balancer - I can't actually cut it any lower than it already is for fear that she wouldn't be getting all her daily needed vits/mins in), and she's munching on about 8 flakes of really crappy quality grass hay. I know next to nothing about our hay - no idea where it comes from, what's in it, etc - and it changes every time the supplier brings it, but there is one consistant thing about it: It's always crappy. Normally I'd be very unhappy about this, but given the circumstance, it's actually a good thing. We've been keeping Gogo happy by essentially keeping a constant flow of hay in front of her, and by having less than beautiful hay, it takes her much longer to chew on (she'd gobble it if it was nicer, this way she takes a long time to pick around her favorite parts first... she still hoovers it all, it just takes a lot longer!), and it doesn't fatten her up like a nice quality grass hay would do. Still, all that extra fiber in the form of stemminess is showing up in her increasingly pendulous belly - her colon is stuffed full! Her topline is decreasing too, but not in the way I expected. I assumed it would just melt off of her, but it's only sort of diminished to the way it looked last winter. I worked VERY hard to build a nice topline on her (the Ewe-Necked Wonder remember) so I'm very, very sad to see it go.

Wednesday, Gogo was bouncing around like a porpoise on the end of her lead, like I was saying, so I figured that with the change of schedule on Thursday, it was high time to start long lining again and give her something to do. A disclaimer for the picture: this is NOT where you normally stand while long lining. It can be very dangerous to stand this close, and it's generally much safer to stand about 6-8 feet behind the horse and off to the side a bit. We're not exactly long lining per say though... we're just ground driving. I have tried attaching the long lines at varying points on her surcingle and back to the bit, but given her tendancy to curl under and lose steering when she feels confined, I'm not willing to play with that right now during rehab, so I just run them from the bit through the side rings on her surcingle and back to me. At this point in our lives, Gogo's long lining experience includes steering and the commends walk on, trot on, whoa, back up.... yeah, that's about it. That to me only qualifies as ground driving. Still, it's something, and we're doing nothing more on the ground than just walking for the purpose of therapy (and tossing in a few halts and the occasional back up just to keep it fresh), so it serves its purpose. I see videos like this and go wow, one day perhaps, but that day is not today. (Also, those of you who know me know that I just can't stand Friesians... but I admit that what was done on the long lines with that one is pretty interesting). I don't have a clue where you would even begin to teach piaffe/passage on the long lines. Then again, I don't have a clue how you would really teach piaffe/passage at all, beyond the vague theory I've read about in books. Someday, Gogo... but not today.

Today, you and I are just going to go for a walk.

And admire the barn scenery while we're at it.

I officially move in to my new apartment on Sunday. And work begins Monday. I'm starting to get nervous at this point. Hang on to a stranger's galloping horse in the middle of the woods? No problem. Start a new job? Oh god help me. Bravery only gets you so far sometimes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


First of all, I'd like to announce that today is National Do Something Totally Random With Your Best Friend Day! This was a picture of Nicole, erm, dumping me into Niagara Falls. Sweet.

Also, the Eventing-A-Gogo blog has reached a new milestone - our 100th official follower! We're not even a year old yet, and this offical following doesn't count all the people who follow anonymously, or just read on their own. I never had any intention to ever create something like this - I had no idea in the slightest that it would ever take off in the way that it did. People have really responded to this wild ride Gogo and I have been on, and it's been awesome to get to meet and talk to so many interesting people over the course of this past year. I get a lot of e-mails filled with encouragement, stories, and thanks for writing about all the things that we do from day to day. So really, thanks to all of you, because you're all a part of my life now. I have so much fun with this, and I'm glad you're all a part of it, from those of you there with me in the very beginning to those of you just reading now.

And now for something completely different.

Two weeks ago, I headed up to the Great North (Connecticut is pretty much the Deep South of New England, at least longitudinally) to go foxhunting with Daun. However, due to Mother Nature's bipolarity, we had to settle for other fun things instead. I must have been a decent enough houseguest because Daun insisted I come back up again in two weeks for the meet at Tamworth, this time on a guest horse so we all could ride. I had one hell of a whirlwind weekend, and after this first hunting experience, all I can say is I hope Gogo's legs are good enough to give it a go next fall - it was serious fun.

My Friday started out on a happy note - Thursday was my last day of work at this job ever, and it had been my 9th day in a row of working, so I got to sleep in that next day. Let me tell you, not worrying about an alarm is THE BEST FEELING EVER. I woke up feeling refreshed and happy, and spent a large chunk of my day happily packing away. That evening, Shan and I were invited to go over to Judy's house, who is one our fabulous boarders, for a delicious homemade dinner and a haunted hayride. The company was excellent, the spiked cider even better, the hayride totally enjoyable (and freezing), and the ice cream that followed THE BEST. But needless to say, I still had to depart for Daun's that evening, and after Judy insisted I shove even MORE food into my mouth (she gave me a bag of cookies for the road too), I finally headed out at around 10pm. Now, my ETA at this point was midnight. Very late, but I had warned Daun that my arrival was going to be either very early or very late. Not ideal, of course, but I was assured that it was all right, and since Judy has been staving off my starvation and attending almost all my horseshows this year, I certainly was not about to turn down her dinner invitation. Anyway, so I'm on the road. I'm cruising steadily up I-84 when suddenly there are a million brake lights. Oh, for REAL? What is going ON? Apparently some sort of accident had happened, so then we sat. And sat. And sat. FOR TWO HOURS. Finally, after what seemed like a very long eternity, we started to move, and eventually crawled up to the scene of the crash. As it turns out, the crash was on the OTHER side of the highway... and that side of the highway was moving along JUST fine. It was just our side who weren't being shooed away by police that all wanted to stop and gawk at the carnage. WHY.
So now, it's past midnight and I still have at least 2.5 hours to go. I'm utterly exhausted, so I take a break and doze. I don't feel better after this, so another hour down the road I have to take another break and doze. Caffeine isn't helping either. Even though I was in contact with Daun during all this, I'm sure she was probably peeing her pants wondering if I had crashed and died by this point. 3am rolls around and I am STILL not there. By this time, I just couldn't physically drive anymore without slipping into unconsciousness behind the wheel and crashing and dying, so I just gave up and pulled over, snuggled into my coat, and PASSED OUT. I managed to very woozily rouse myself a couple of hours later, continuing on to Daun's farm and arriving a little after 6. As I stumbled out of the car, I was met by a totally incredulous Daun - "You're CRAZY! You have to hang onto a galloping horse today!" - and of course, with a little breakfast in my system, once we were on the road with the horses I was OUT again. We pulled up to Red Horse Farm in Tamworth a little early, and I opened my eyes to a full-fledged New England autumn morning glittering before me with the remnants of frost, our breath steaming as we shivered our way down to the main farm, our bellies filled with hot cider and rum once we got down to the main farmhouse. After dressing (in many, many layers... it was DAMN COLD!), we located Dana, the woman whose huband's horse Media Luna was to be my mount for the day, and I helped finish tacking and hopped up. Media Luna was once upon a time an Argentinian polo pony, and came complete with some seriously ragged hair, an ill-fitting and horribly slippery saddle (one of those generic ones that you get out of a Western catalogue with the label "English saddle"), and a totally sweet disposition. After a brief speech by our fieldmaster, we hacked down the road to the field where we would be releasing the hounds, and I had a chance to socialize a little bit with the other members of the hunt in the first field with us. What a hack - we traversed backcountry roads beneath great overhangs of golden leaves, flirted with the flanks of a crumbling stone wall, blinked and smiled as the dazzling morning sunlight flashed through the swaying leaves overhead. And suddenly, we were in the field, and the hounds were bounding about the feet of the staff horses, leaping straight up into the air to catch cookies tossed to them by Sue. She rallied them about her, calling each by name, and then we made to sort into our fields and move on.

Now at this point I had a moment of, wait a second now. You're on a horse you know nothing about and have never even seen before, are about to participate in a sport you've never done before, and are going in the first field - i.e. keep up with the hounds at whatever speed they're going, no matter what the terrain. Am I nuts? Well, yes, by mere mortal standards I guess I am; then again, I've done things like this before. For instance, when I drove across the country for three weeks with a friend in 2006, he insisted we go white water rafting on the Arkensas river in Colorado. Sure, why not, I thought. I don't like to get wet but we'll be fine in the raft, it's just like the Lazy River at Cedar Point right? Wait a minute... these are Category 5 rapids? As in, kill you rapids? Well.... okay, sure, why not! And we neither died nor captized the raft, so I am here to tell the tale today. Such was the case with Media Luna... I neither died nor fell off. Quite the contrary - I had some SERIOUS fun. Off we loped, the sparkling green of the fields a sharp contrast against the red and gold on the mountain overhead. We swung round the edges of the fields, trotted single-file through the woods, and followed the occasional direction from a voice behind us ("ware hound left!" as one of the hounds would come bounding up behind us). It felt like a step back in time, watching the huntsmen ahead of us working, and whenever we stopped (and hit the flask, which Daun and I merrily polished off), we were treated incredible views of what every perfect northern New England fall morning should look like. It was gorgeous. At the stirrup cup, we watched the hounds play in the water (and some of the horses too), chatted merrily with old and new friends, and looked out over the pond at the great view of the mountain behind us. And then, it was off again, re-negotiating some risky terrain (which, on the way to the stirrup cup, was the only thing Media Luna had a problem with - a very scary, yawning ditch, and I had to give her some big pony kicks to get her ungracefully over) and doubling back once in the woods when we lost the path. Media Luna was a charm - she trotted when the horse in front of me trotted, cantered when the horse in front of me cantered, and stopped on a dime when the horse in front of me did the same. The second half of the journey, I managed to squeeze my way back behind Brego (got stuck behind some morons capping in from Myopia.. they talked the WHOLE TIME and had a pony that wouldn't stop jigging and rearing), and we crossed some increasingly rough terrain, including a very rocky river and some shoe-sucking mud. When the hounds finally gave cry near the end of the hunt (only the second time they had done this during the whole hunt, lol), we had just unbogged ourselves from a particularly thick section of muddy trail. The staff, hounds, Daun, her SO, and myself were OFF! Unbeknownst to us at the time, however, the horse and rider behind me were mired in mud up to the horse's hocks, and the rest of the fields all piled up behind them. But the chase WE had was WILD! Ducking under treebranches at speed, negotiating all sort of wild terrain, exploding out from the forest, tearing up a grassy hill into the big field, and watching Brego boink around in front of me for a few moments, clearly enjoying the thrill of the chase. (He was on his best behavior for this hunt - only one little dolphin-buck going up the hill, and a brief moment when the war-horse in him prompted him to bounce forward on his hind legs when the staff took off in front of him. That's drive baby!) The hunt ended on his note, once we had rounded up all the muddy stragglers. It happens!

It was OUTSTANDING. I really, really hope Gogo's legs heal well enough to consider maybe going out in the second field next fall. Given the kind of terrain we negotiated, I doubt I'd want her to go in the first field unless it was at an exceptional venue, but still. If you're a good jock with some guts and you ever have the chance to give it a try, DO IT. You'll love it just like I did.

Awesome. Just... awesome. AND I got to see my baby sister that night for the first time in almost a year (baby = 21). Couldn't have been a better weekend.

Monday, October 19, 2009

RIP Lemgo

I have plenty to write about - I always do! - but I had to put this little blurb in here about Gogo's daddy, who died peacefully at the ripe old age of 28 a few weeks ago. I just found out. His final days were spent in a pasture at New Bolton Center, with two pinto pony geldings as companions. He was donated to benefit a behavior study, an old stallion fertility study, and the Barbaro Laminitis study, but he lived most of his retired life at the breeder's farm where I got Gogo from. Some of his lifetime accomplishments include numerous wins at Spruce Meadows, galloping victory laps with Tami Masters to the Radetzki March, a second place win with Anne Kursinski at The Ox Ridge Grand Prix, and many more. Other professionals riders who were a part of his career included Wash Bishop, Peter Wylde, Nicohol Shahanian Simpson and Laura Balisky. He has over 200 offspring, many of which are premiums, with one final one on its way this coming spring. After having Gogo, I'd take another Lemgo kid in a heartbeat.

RIP Lemgo, 1981-2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photo Adventure Fridays

This week's Photo Adventure...

Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki, New Zealand.
Actually these pictures were taken next to the park itself, not in. My roomie and I took a rather whirwind tour of the South Island during our midsemester 3-week holiday and this was one of the later stops. It included beautiful sunsets, an insane mad gallop through the brush on some crazy Quarabs, riding on the beach, getting totally lost without a flashlight in a pitch black cave (seriously, I can't even describe that kind of dark, it was scary), and itching the night away as we discovered our beds were infested with bedbugs.

And we also learned that apparently, I am bionic:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fate loves the fearless.

I've been quiet this week because I've had something huge brewing in my everyday life that has finally come to pass and finally can be announced. As it turns out, my plans to return to Michigan aren't going to happen after all. Instead, and quite by chance, I had a managerial position at a totally superb h/j and dressage facility about 45 minutes west of where I am now just fall into my lap, right when I needed it the most. The events leading up to this couldn't have worked out better. A month ago, after the AECs, I was so convinced I'd be moving back to Ohio to be with Alex that I essentially gave my one month notice right then and there to Vicki. As you know, I am broke - so broke! - and there was just no way it was going to be financially feasible for me to maintain this position and not starve any longer, especially with all my unexpected vet bills this summer. I love it here, I really do, but god, I really do need to eat you know. Unfortunately, the whole working student thing is not designed for financial success, and it wasn't what I really wanted to do with my life anyway. I have no desire to teach or train. I don't want to ride for a living. I don't like giving lessons, and I'm not good at it. I came out to New England mostly because I knew I'd fall in love with the east coast, and I wanted to establish Gogo out here against the big northern East Coast dogs. I never expected to stay at my current position for very long - actually I stayed quite longer - but I just love these people to death and it's very sad to be leaving. When it became apparent that moving back to Ohio to be with Alex was just really not going to work, and that I needed to just suck it up and give it up as a lost cause, I realized 'wow, I really don't want to leave Connecticut.' Michigan was all right, of course, since I really do love it there and it is always going to be home for me, but when it came down to it, I was essentially about to be jobless and even poorer than before, if possible, since my original plans completely fell through. I hadn't planned on that part. And I really did not want to be the 24 year-old loser going back to her parents' house because she couldn't make it work where she was. But really, when you get paid like a working student, you are VERY hard pressed to actually take in more than you actually spend and save. I managed to scrape along for most of this year, but it wasn't easy. Last year, I took the first position I could after my summer off, just to get out of where I was and to try and make something of my life. But at some point I had to stop and go, wow, I have a degree in Equine Facility Management, and I have nothing to show for that. It's time to get real.

But of course, my plans were collapsing. I was NOT going to go back to Ohio after all, which was the original plan. So what did that leave me? Michigan, and my parents' house? That's great... except then what? I really was not keen on leaving New England when it came down to it, but I was at a loss as to what else I was going to be able to do. And then, my friend Karen, who I went to college with and who also lives and works out here in CT, texted me last week while I was up at Tufts, saying, "I have a potential job to tell you about!" Interested, I texted her back, not knowing anything about it or what it was for. As it turns out, an amazing private boarding facility about 45 minutes west of here was looking to hire someone to help manage the place, and I jumped on it. She liked what I sent her, called me, and we set up an interview for yesterday evening. It seemed like a great fit, and voila, today I had an offer to take the position. And just like that, I'm onto my first really big job.

I mean, the timing of this could not be better, and neither could the terms. Today was my very last day of work for Vicki, and I was supposed to be packing up and going back to MI this coming week, so I'm free to start whenever needed. I get a stall with my offer - and I mean, a STALL! - and an unbelievably good salary. I mean, I could put almost a thousand bucks a month into my savings after all my expenses are taken care of. I could have real meals. I could go out once in awhile. I could pay off my vetbills. I could get Ti that new coat I've been wanted to buy. I could give people nice Christmas presents. I've never had any sort of real money to my name before. And while housing isn't included, I have the opportunity to live with my friend Karen, who originally networked me to this job. She lives about 20 minutes away from this barn at a gorgeous little private farm in an apartment over the barn, and works off her rent by taking care of the two horses, pony, and mini donkey that live there. Essentially, if we were to split the shifts of taking care of these critters (and it's easy, picking stalls and turnouts and feedings, and that's about it), we'd be living there for nothing at all, or at most like $75 per person. Which is very, very easily doable. The actual position itself is stuff I've great at - organizing schedules, keeping track of stuff, making sure things get done, interfacing with clients and the staff, and keeping everyone smiling. It's not so much about barnwork, as there is a fulltime staff to muck stalls and do turnouts already, but more about keeping the machine well-oiled. It's a big step for me in this world, but it's a big step in the right direction. I'm nervous, but I think I'll do just fine.

And as for Gogo? Well, she'll be in horsey paradise. There are a million custom, gorgeous jumps at this place, a big indoor and a big outdoor with special TravelRight footing, a treadmill (AMAZING for rehabbing tendon injuries!), and those giant stalls complete with the ComfortStall system. I'll be working somewhere gorgeous, somewhere I can really pour my heart into and be proud of, and she'll be in rehabber's dream paradise. I get to live at a gorgeous farm, work at a gorgeous barn, and actually make MONEY doing it. This is a dream come true, really.

Very excited.

On the Gogo rehab front, everyday life continues to be about the same as always. She still has another week of two daily 10 minute handwalks with 10 minutes of handgrazing each time, but she'll end her Surpass on Saturday. Dr. A told me that some Robaxin would probably help her back, but I haven't ordered it yet as I wasn't sure where it was going to be delivered! She is also still getting her ice boots once a day for 30 minutes, and of course a good daily grooming. The rough outline of her schedule goes something like this:

October 8-22: 20 mins handwalking (10 hw + 10 grass 2x), ice boots 1/2 hour 1x, Surpass 2x (ending the 17th), wrapping
October 23-Nov 4: 30 mins handwalking (15 hw + 10 grass 2x, if there is still grass!), wrapping
Nov 5-11: 15 mins handwalking 1x, 15 minutes tackwalking 1x, wrapping
Nov 12-18: 15 mins handwalking 1x, 20 minutes tackwalking 1x, wrapping
Nov 19-25: 15 mins handwalking 1x, 25 minutes tackwalking 1x, wrapping
Nov 26-Dec 3: 15 mins handwalking 1x, 30 minutes tackwalking 1x, wrapping
Vet recheck

If all is going well at that point, we will hopefully be about to start trotting for 5 minutes a day, if she is sound. We will see!

Gogo says, Happy Fall!

And also, it is still only October 15th.... SO WHY IS IT SNOWING LIKE CRAZY.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seasons of Love

How do you measure a year in the life?

Measure in love.
Hard to believe the Eventing-A-Gogo blog is approaching a year old. I started it last year in November... that is wild.

In the winter, she was freshly clipped and a little too hot for her own good with the addition of Ultium to her diet. Springtime rolled around, and she was FAT! Mid-summer came, and you can see by her dull expression in the third photo that this was when she was lyme-y and miserable. And the fall picture was taken today, even though she wasn't in the mood to cooperate much. That picture isn't great, but you can at least see that her topline hasn't totally melted off yet. But it already looks worse than it did. I worked SO HARD for that topline!

And wow. A lot can change in a year.

The seasons are turning right now as we speak. Gogo is suddenly turning dark bay again, quite a change from her recent summer bleach. She's starting to get a little peach fuzz, just enough to give her a little fluff against the autumn chill. Fall is my favorite season. Ethel Walkers was today... it was supposed to be her first Training. She was ready.

This is my favorite picture of the day:

She was not a cooperative picture poser today. But at the same time, I'm glad she's still being a snot, because it means that even though she's bored and unhappy with life in general, she's still got her fighting spirit.


On an unrelated note, I now have way more followers with blogs than I can possilby even begin to keep up with! I periodically ask my readers to leave a comment with a link to their blogs, just so I can go and check them all out, and I'm doing it again now. So if you have something you'd like me to read, click on add a comment and fire away!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Some Very Good News, and Good Times

Well I have some very good news! After reviewing the ultrasounds taken two weeks ago, and the ultrasounds taken three days ago, the vets have concluded that the lesion in her LH is resolving so well on its own that they felt the PRP was unnecessary - she is rapidly healing on her own! Sweet!

On Monday, I tidied Gogo all up (it was too cold for a bath, but she got a serious grooming and her face all clipped so as to not look too skanky for the vet... I believe I am the only one in the world who makes my horse look nearly show-presentable for the vet), and I packed all my stuff in order to head right from Tufts up to New Hampshire, where Daun and a fantastic foxhunt awaited me. Early Tuesday, I cleaned her up, threw on her nice sheet, put her shipping boots on over her bandages (this is a nifty little trick I just figured out... thin no-bows and bandages apparently fit nicely under shipping boots, which is great because she pulls down bandages in the trailer unless you offer some other kind of protection), and off we went by 7am in order to make it in time for our 9am appointment. We were a little early, so Gogo had to hang out in the little holding stall for awhile:

She was like ummmmm what's this about? But of course, she's perfect for things like this, so she stood quietly and peed a lot when another gelding came in (perpetually in heat, of course).
Dr. Provost and Dr. Chope came in to meet me after a well meaning but sort of confused 4th year vet student took our info (although I admit, the story is pretty complicated), and we did a lameness evaluation after discussing the case. She trotted out still fairly lame in both hinds, moreso in the left (they gave it a 1.5 to 2 at the trot on a straight line, and didn't rate the right hind), but it's a definite improvement. We moved on into the room with the treadmill and ultrasound, and Dr. Chope ultrasounded both hinds extremely thoroughly - we did both hinds pretty much from right below the point of the hock all the way down to her hooves, and it took at least an hour. Again, nothing of interest was found on the RH, except for some tenosynovitis in the digital shealth of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT). Essentially, she has some inflammation of the tendon sheath, which is filled with synovial fluid (which is really fascinating... the body is so efficient and fabulous when it works normally!). On the LH, she still has the small lesion in her SFDT, and some tendonitis and tenosynovitis, same as the RH, except the RH has a little more swelling than the LH. However, the lesion looked remarkably improved for just a week and a half out from the previous ultrasound - essentially, it's healing itself quite rapidly. We scanned the entirety of both legs, and it really is just localized to that one little area, which is great. The vets expect it to resolve itself just fine, and for the tendonitis/tenosynovitis to resolve with some more anti-inflammatories (namely Surpass). When flexed, her fetlock on the LH was painful, which was a little weird. We took some x-rays of it just to be safe, and found nothing remarkable, so it's possible that she either strained the fetlock, or that the way the leg was being tweaked was painful due to the ouchy tendon. The last thing of concern was her back. They were a little worried that her lameness level was a little more than it should have been for this type of injury, but it's possible that the tendons just hurt like hell, which wouldn't surprise me, but the other thing it could be is her back. She was pretty sore, not in a muscular way though... right over her spine, mid-back. It's possible that she either was overcompensating for the legs and stressed it, or perhaps torqued it while out on XC... or maybe she was sore from her recent vaccine reaction? Who knows. We didn't explore it further at this time, but I will have Dr. A the chiropractor look at her on Tuesday and see what he thinks about it. Whatever it is, it's pretty much a given that it's probably going to require stall rest, and we're already on stall rest, so there you are. We're going to put her on some methocarbamol and see if that helps.

This was the basic write-up:

"Upon presentation, Gogo was bright and alter. A physical examination was preformed and revealed that her vital signs were all within normal limits. A lamaness examination was performed which showed a 1.5 out of 5 lamaness (0=sound and 5=non weight bearing lameness) in her left hind and a 1.5 to 2 out of 5 lameness when she was trotted on a straight line. She was sensitive to palmation of the superficial digital flexor tendon distrally and resented fetlock flexion in the left hind. Digital tendon shealth effusuion was palpated in both distal hind limbs, with more effusion in the right limb than the left limb (you report this is an abnormal amount for her). She was also sensitive to back palpation in the caudal thoracis region.
Ultrasound of both hind metacarpal and pastern regions revealed a local lesion in the lateral aspect of the left hinmd superficial digital flexor tendon, between 38 to 41 cm from the point of the hock (proximal extent of the digital sheath). Enlargement was present. The margins of the tendon appear intact. Increased fluid and synovial thickening was observed in the digital tendon shealth in both hinds legs, indicating tenosynovitis of the tendon shealth bilaterally. All other structures were within normal limits. Her deep digital flexor tendons were measured and evaluated bilaterally and were nonremarkable at this time. Thus, Gogo has a focal subacute superficial digital flexor tendonitis and digital sheath tenosynovitis. In compasion to her previous ultrasounds, her superficial flexor tendon appears improved. The treatment for tendon injuries is rest and constrolled exercise, followed by a gradual increasing return to work with periodic sonographic monitering. Other therapies such as intralesional medication (PRP, stem cell, etc) or shock wave therapy may be beneficial. At this time, however, with the focal nature of the lesion and its apparent improvement, we do not feel that intralesional injection is likely to significantlyimrpove her prognosis over rest and controlled exercise. Accordingly a program is outlined below. Her digital shealth tenosynovitis is likely due to her tendon lesion in the left hind and/or strain. It should refuce with anti-inflammatory therapy. Radiographs of her left hind metacarpal phalangeal joint (fetlock) were taken and were nonremarkable.
Her degree of lameness is of some concern, as it is bilateral and possibly more severe than one mightg expet for her tendon lesion. However, as discussed she may also have a component of muscle or back soreless due to her slipping/competing/shipping and more recent possible vaccine reaction. Local nerve block may help rule oin or out a lower limb versus upper limb component. We recommend that we rest her for the tendon lesion and re-evaluate her lameness (possibly with nerve blocks) and tendon in 6-8 weeks. Additionally, re-evaluation by her regular chiropractor to assess her back comfort is recommended."

The program from here? Two more weeks of handwalking, 10 minutes twice daily, and ice boots for 30 minutes a day (this last part is just because I can, mostly). She'll also have 10 days of Surpass, followed by a week within, then possibly more Surpass depending on the swelling. She'll increase by 5 minutes a week for the following two weeks, getting 15 minutes of handwalking twice daily and then moving up to 20 twice daily. Then, I can sit on her again (yay!!), walking slowly for 15 minutes daily, and eventually building to 30 minutes daily over the course of four weeks. About two weeks into that, I can start to put her together again, and do some minor stuff at a medium walk. So in about 8 weeks, we'll re-evaluate her sonographically to see where she is. If she's looking like it's healing appropriately, she can start to trot for 5 minutes a day, and building by 5 minutes every two weeks until we reach 20 minutes. Then we can add canter in 5 minute increments. We'll recheck her regularly via ultrasound during her re-legging up. And this is all very tentative, of course, and it just depends on her, so it might change.

And the rest of my two-day adventure was AWESOME! Not only did I get to see my fabulous friend Ali, who is my very good friend from college and who is currently attending Tufts for vet school, but I also went from Tufts up to visit Daun and see the big Brego, and go on what we expected to be a totally fantastic foxhunt. Well, of course it being the perfect New England fall, the hunt got called because of rain. D'oh! However, that evening she and I took Brego and her mare Hobby over to the gallop track in the woods, and let them rip. Or well, we let Brego rip! Daun had me get on him (that's so freaking sweet!) and take him for a spin around the track. He tested me a little bit ("now do we REALLY need to go faster than a canter? I'd really rather not leave the mare thanks") but after some encouragement (whack whack!) he really opened up for me. Man that dude can FLY! I really would have NEVER expected such a big guy to be capable of speeds like that, but it's clear he's no ordinary Perch. It was getting dark so I didn't get the chance to take him over any jumps, but perhaps that day will come! He looks so cute and fuzzy from the outside, but he's got a big ego and an attitude to match. He is a seriously cool horse. It was pouring the next day, as expected, but she and I still got to squeak in a ride at the fairgrounds, which was great fun. Plus, they stuffed me full of super delicious farm food, what could be better? Daun has been a fantastic big sister-type to me all this past spring and summer, really and truly. She encourages me, challenges me to think outside the box, gives me fantastic advice, and cheers me on through thick and thin. Daun, you're awesome. AWESOME. Seriously awesome. And thank you.

And now, it's back to the grindstone of daily work, until it all ends on the 15th. Now that I've realized I really AM leaving, suddenly I'm very sad about it. I mean, this place has been my life and home for the past 10 months, and these people my family. I know I can't even begin to afford to stay at a low-salary position like this any more, but moving on is always sad. I actually already have a potential job lined up in Michigan, one that sort of fell into my lap and might turn into something special, but then again it might turn into nothing at all at this point. We'll play it by ear, and I'll have some more details about it when I know them. We shall see.

Good news, good news, good news.

Photo Adventure Fridays

I have a real update about Gogo coming soon, I promise :)

Today's Photo Adventure...

Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.
Just because this was a beautiful shot I got while walking about with my dearest Ali while at Tufts on Tuesday. And we can all find a little adventure if we just look around, wherever we are.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Picture of the Day

Today's Picture of the Day is just a nice one Alex took of Gogo at the AEC before XC.

She's a pretty mare.

More importantly than the picture, tomorrow she and I are heading up to Tufts to have PRP done. We leave early in the morning, as the appointment is at 9 and we have to deal with Hartford/Boston traffic, and from there I am heading up to New Hampshire to go foxhunting with Daun on Wednesday (AWESOME! But a little bit sad because it was supposed to be Gogo's foxhunting debut as well. Oh well, hopefully next year). You likely won't hear from me until Thursday, so keep Gogo in your thoughts. I'm jittery about the procedure, as anyone would naturally be, but I hope for a smooth, unevenful day and for a swift recovery.

All right, morning comes early and I still have laundry to finish, a room to clean, pets to tidy up after, boots to polish, and clothes to pack. Bleugh!!

Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

End of September Analysis (and a video of XC)

As I sit down to write this post, I realize that this is going to be a bit of a harder thing to work on temporarily, my goals, because I can no longer fit them to myself and what I really want to do. One can set them, and a timeline too, for a recooperation; in the end, however, it is up to the body. I was so diligent and dedicated to Metro's recovery, and still he ended up in a hole instead of back with me as a riding companion (or even a pasture companion). Gogo's prognosis is a million and one times better than his ever was, though. She has a minor lesion in her LH SDFT that we caught the same day it happened. He has a black hole the size of Jupiter in his low LF suspensory that went undetected by vets for four months, maybe longer. With the upcoming PRP, Dr. C said she expects Gogo to "heal and never look back." And I am very hopeful.

September Goals: 1) Successfully complete the AECs on our competitive dressage score, and have a total blast doing it. (I still want to be top 10.)
Well... what can I say about this goal? In all honesty, in my heart, I feel like we achieved it in an indirect way. Had we finished on our dressage score, we would have been 4th out of 40. Had we even gotten a rail, we still would have finished 6th. Even with our, erm, not so excellent dressage test, we still put some of those four-star riders to SHAME! We would have been the top finishing adult amateur by a huge margin - the closest adult ammy behind me finished something like 11th or 12th. I was totally surrounded on all sides by professionals - me, the kid who tried her hand at an unrecognized Training years ago with Metro just once, and that's it. And what I still can't believe is that Gogo seriously hurt herself out on XC, but she kept going. I know there was the adrenaline factor and all that, but after viewing the video and seeing the labored-but-determined look on her face in all the photos, there's no way she couldn't have been hurting. Which I will feel horrible about til my dying day, but at the same time, she really proved her guts and heart of gold to me out on course that day, because she just kept going. She went to the AECs and she gave it everything she had and more, negotiating what was far and away the most complicated XC course she'd ever run, and she never so much as hesitated anywhere. The injuries she sustained were horrible, and a bit freakish (it was the last thing I'd expect on totally flat, aeravated ground from a horse who'd been galloping XC on soaking wet, slippery hills all summer with never a slip), and we had no choice but to pull up after them. But we didn't go and bomb or suck or fail. She gave it everything she had and then some, and tried to keep going even when her body couldn't. We proved that we really were worthy of playing with the biggest of the big boys. I've never, ever been prouder of this mare.

October Goals:
1) Travel to Tufts and have a successful PRP procedure performed
2) Keep Gogo'a life as interesting as it can be while stuck in a stall!
3) Transplant once again, this time from CT to MI, safely and successfully

And yes, it's true. Gogo, Ti, Greta and I are moving back home to Michigan for some well needed R&R time. I am financially wrecked at this point after all these unforeseen vet bills, and while I was certainly prepared as much as I could have been for whatever accidents might have happened, the culmination of hocks/belly/lyme/emergency vet calls for violent vaccine reactions/tendons have set me back thousands of unforseen dollars that I struggle every day to earn. I'm literally starving at this point, because as a working student/barn slave, I just can't make it work any more. I mean, I'm living on tea when I'm hungry because I need to fill my belly with something, and I have nothing else left. (The pets, however, get the best food money can buy.) These kinds of positions are not designed to make it work financially. They really are much better suited to kids whose parents still pay for everything under the sun (gas, food, etc), but not for fresh out of college and dirt poor kids like me. And my parents do more than enough for me, much more than I deserve financially at this point, and I really can't thank them enough for it. I'm wrecked enough as is. At this point, a working student job is just not what's best for me, or for Gogo, or for my other pets. I need a real career. Just what exactly I'll be doing immediately, I don't know. We'll be back in Michigan sometime between mid-October and early November, depending entirely on Gogo's PRP procedure and how soon I can safely transport her a long distance after it is done. I might go back to Ohio, I might not. I might go to New Hampshire for all I know! We're taking it one day at a time temporarily, just trying to keep her stable and everything intact. But the time for future planning is now, so I've got some real soul searching to do. A dressage barn is not a place for an event horse going above Novice, it's just not. The people here are great and I love them, and I'll miss this place a lot. But I just can't make it work here, and I'm going in circles trying to keep my finances intact while not starving (obviously the starving part is currently happening... so it's failing). My parents are gracious enough to let my loser self stay at their place for a little bit while I sort out my finances and get myself back on track, and I count myself pretty lucky in that regard. We'll get it back together, I've no doubt in my mind. We just both need downtime for our bodies to heal. Right alongside hers, my own is failing me a little more every day, and even yoga today couldn't unkink my back. I'm in pain right now, just sitting the way I am. I need a good chiropractor, a supportive bed, and some time off. Then it's back to, well, the rest of life. I need to be careful though. My back needs a lot of work, and if I want to go into the alternative farrier field (which I really do), I'm going to need it intact and pain-free. Yes, R&R is exactly what we both need right now. I'm looking forward to a few weeks of just relaxing and getting it all back on the right path again.

And now, without further ado, the video Alex shot from the XC at the AEC. And in this little blurb, right before the 4th fence, you'll see where we think she did the damage. You have to pay close attention, because it happens so fast it's easy to miss, but she slides while voicing her minor objections to my half-halt. But then, voila! She keeps going like it's no big deal. The first thing you'll see is the 3rd fence, which goes well (I gave her some stick action but didn't need it), then we lope down to the 4th fence, where the slide happens, but then she hops over the 4th like it's no big deal. She sets herself up nicely for the 5th fence, the FISH!, does a perfect change before it, and then bops through the water and sort of heaves herself awkwardly out of it, but makes it just fine. She hasn't schooled an upbank out of water in well over a year, just because we haven't been able to. (Remember being at a dressage barn during a very, very rainy summer.) If you listen closely, you might be able to hear the announcer say something about 'of course they're through the water, this mare likes to play in the kiddie pool at home!' I heard her as I was going through, and it cracked me up. Not sure what got picked up on this shotty video though... I dunno if you can hear me out of the water giving her the repeated "Good girl, good girl!! either!

Oh mare. She's the best.

One last little thing - comparisons of her legs the day after the injury (9/13), and on 9/19 and 9/20:

They're by no means normal, but considering that was just one week out from the injury, that's a pretty amazing change. Yikes.

I also got a little pick-me-up from Jennifer too, but I haven't actually gone yet to, well, pick it up, so that's for the next post ;)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Photo Adventure Fridays

I know, I know, I haven't done one of these in a long, long time. But now, I have a little extra time on my hands, so I can feel free to exercise my rights to spam my own blog with irrelevant info!

This week's Photo Adventure Friday is...

Badlands National Park, South Dakota, 2005.

Nicole and I did a whirlwind week-long trip in 2005 that started when I flew out to Sacramento and spent a few days with her in CA. We then drove back together across the country in her tiny little car to Michigan, and then subsequently to Ohio for school. This was a sort of side-trip that we found after having spent some time at Mt. Rushmore. It was AWESOME.