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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Picture of the Day

Today's Picture of the Day....

"WHHAAAT!!? You put me back on the moving-ground machine!? I forget how to use this thing!!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Better Me Now = Better Mare Later.

I had a bit of a rough time this past Rolex weekend. Not being there brought a lot of things to my attention that I wasn't quite ready to face, and I subsequently spent a lot of time sleeping and pretending like I honestly didn't care about the things that were bothering me. But I do. I kind of snapped out of my weekend funk yesterday finally, and realized I haven't talked about any of the important or interesting things that have been happening to me in the past week. Despite the financial difficulty of doing so, I've finally taken some initiative and am working to fix some of the things that have always plagued me but I've never really bothered to do anything about.

In short, I finally went to go see a chiropractor for the first time in my life.

It wasn't pretty. A week ago Monday was my first appointment, and I completely love the practice and the doctor herself. Dr. B is a fun, bouncy, bubbly, singing, funny woman with a good soul, and all her techs are always smiling, which I severely appreciate at the end of a long and stressful day. At my initial appointment, they were very thorough with me - they did a physical exam, a thermal scan of my back, and a few radiographs for good measure as well. While doing my physical exam, Dr. B tested my ranges of motion (which are extremely poor), felt for pain on my part, found what was out of alignment, and told me what a huge disconnect I have from my brain to my nerves to my organs. She could tell from what my body was doing which side of me was worse, but I honestly couldn't. There was such a disconnect in my mid-back that all I could do was identify that something was hurting. Dr. B took all the information from the physical exam, the x-rays, and the thermal scan, and formulated a blueprint with it. What she found wasn't very pretty. I have degenerative changes in my mid-back and neck, and quite a number of things out of alignment, torqued, pinched, and in general not-where-they-should-be, including a section of my lumbar spine that was completely locked (probably a byproduct of when Metro kicked me in the hip so very long ago). Given the incredible daily pain I am in, all this makes a lot of sense. This could have been corrected long before I ever got painful. Fortunately for me, we caught it at a pretty good time where we can realign everything properly and prevent further serious damage from happening in my back. I mean honestly, I'm 25. Should I really have the beginnings of arthritis in my spine?? Awful. As added fun, I also have very mild scoliosis. Sweet! I guess maybe that explains why I wake up crying in the middle of the night in pain - and also why I sit so crookedly to the right in the saddle. Seeing the degenerative change on the actual films was the scary part. I certainly don't want that to get any worse than it already is.
I'm on an intensive program right now which takes me in there 3 times a week for a month. My honey commented in a rather alarmed way last night after my appointment that I was suddenly ridiculously taller (it was scary, I felt like one of the Avatar people), and that's the way it has pretty much been after every appointment. I am taller! I am standing straighter, I am more comfortable. THAT is a very new thing to me. I had honestly forgotten what it was like to not shift uncomfortably every few seconds while standing or sitting. However, this isn't a quick fix by any means. Even after my adjustment last night, I was sitting in a chair in the office for awhile afterwords getting a bit of a lecture on spinal nerves, and the normal electric pain returned. Simply sitting upright in good posture is so foreign to my joints and muscles (did I mention I slouch like a sack of potatoes?) that it causes me excruciating pain right now. I have to try, I have to practice for my body's sake, but good lord. Thankfully, once I got up and moved around, my back felt like a hundred bucks again. Not a million bucks, mind you... but it's a start.
The bad news is that my insurance offers me pretty much no help at all for this, so I am on my own. And it's not cheap. I think I can manage to do it, but yikes. It's not easy. BUT I'm not showing this year, so I'm not trying to squirrel money away for show season and feeling crappy about spending it elsewhere, so if there was ever a time to get this sorted out, it's now. I have to do this. I can't live in pain any longer. I am starting to feel really, really good after my appointments - which currently include getting adjusted, getting electro-stim and also getting heat therapy - and the prospect of being able to live and function pain-free is so, so, SO exciting. I honestly don't remember what it is like to not hurt day in and day out. I can't wait to find out.

(A super-sexy picture of my dog and I wearing questionable outfits and hiking in questionable places)
The second thing I am doing - running in the Avatar Shoes, as a few of my readers like to call them! I've really only just begun in earnest, and I've been taking it pretty lightly until I got my chiropractic situation sorted out, but now that we are under control there, I feel more comfortable getting a little more serious about it. Running in the Avatar Shoes (or Vibram Five-Fingers, as they are actually called) is different from anything I've experienced. I am still adjusting to them slightly, seeing as I am so used to the old incorrect running style used with big, squashy running shoes - a heel-first landing. Yep, with horses this is the proper way, but with humans, it is not! Landing mid-foot first and then letting your heel make contact with the ground is shock absorbing, efficient, and comfortable, versus a heel-first strike where all the shock shoots directly up your spinal column, or a toe-first landing which makes your calves want to explode. Running improperly in these minimalist shoes is impossible to do, simply because it hurts! A padded heel takes a little of that uncomfortable shock if you land heel-first while running. When you have zero padding there to save you, it just KILLS! I'm working this week on formulating a better workout plan; I will keep you updated.

And lastly, for those of you wondering, I AM actually riding some right now. A few of you expressed concern that I wouldn't have much time in the saddle while Gogo was off, and for the most part, this has proven to be true. I'm not really much into riding other horses unless there is something in it that I can then take and put into Gogo at a later date. I never wanted to be a trainer or a teacher by any means... I really just don't enjoy that sort of thing beyond doing it for myself. And riding horses while on the clock is good, but I usually have so many other things to do in a day that it just seems like one more thing that will make my very long workday even longer. However, I've found that I actually have been enjoying my random bits of saddle time on other horses for once. The one horse in particular that I've been on a bit and that I hope to ride a bit more is this one, James:

James is a silly guy.

He feels a little like riding a wet noodle (he is 6 going on 3), and he is your typical goofy goob type of gelding. I am so not a goofy goob gelding lover - I am all about those snarky mares! - but James is a ham and he's a NICE horse. I rode him in front of my boss the other day, which is extremely nervewracking but apparently went well enough because she asked if I wanted to ride him in our clinic with Jeff Cook next weekend! (She even said she'd pay for half!) She did pick on me for being a defensive rider (well come on, do I really want to ride Gogo like a sack of potatoes?) and for riding "like a dressage rider"... well, maybe because I ride dressage! XD This will be very good for me, although it might be horribly embarrassing because the last time I jumped was in September. Hmmmmm we will see.

As for Gogo, she is getting spoiled rotten with baths and primping, grazing and cold-tubbing every morning and every afternoon, and her treadmill of course every day around noon. She is feeling good - a little too good even, remember what happens when she feels like that? - and as a result has been more obnoxious as ever. The other day I didn't come over and day good morning soon enough apparently, so in order to get my attention, she clamped her teeth down on her stall door and rattled the thing. She NEVER does that because she knows I will knock her brains into next Tuesday if she ever so much as thinks about putting her mouth on anything that isn't food. Cheeky wench.

But I have to say, her feeling good is making me also feel very, very good.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo Adventure Friday: Rolex Edition

This week's Photo Adventure....

... is of previous Rolex adventures!

Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Lexington, KY, 2006-2009.
Something I look forward to every year without fail. Spring doesn't start until Rolex is here. Next year, next year!
(Bonus points: see how many times you can pick out Karen O'Connor. For some reason she ends up in all my photos!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Want to know what started today? Rolex. The ultimate destination, as spectator or rider, for all those who love our great sport of eventing. Year after year, Rolex devotees make their annual pilgrimage to this holiest of grounds to cheer, walk 89 miles a day, rack up enormous amounts of debt at the trade fair, gulp down corndogs, meet up with dozens of friends we only see once a year, have heartattacks at every jump, and scream ourselves hoarse as we watch our favorite riders, horses and heroes conquer the most grueling event North America could possibly ever offer up. Rolex. Just the word gives me the good chills. Rolex, where I go year after year without fail, no matter how impossible it is to get there. Rolex... where I will not be this year, and it's driving me nuts. Hurting me, even. I gave up my Rolex this year because I have very limited vacation days and thought I was going to need them all for showing. Now, I don't need any of them for anything, and could have easily taken a few days to go. Sigh.

And yet, life goes on. Thinking about missing Rolex has made me sharply aware of missing my entire show season, and it hurts. I am doing my best to enjoy all the little things I love about my mare - how rich and glossy her coat is even with the last remnants of winter fuzz, how one section of her mane always falls to the wrong side of her neck no matter what I do, how her feet still remain rock hard and gorgeous despite rest and her perpetually sloppy stall (she is the worst hay dunker and she drags that water ALL over the front of her stall every day), how she always manages to look happy whenever I come around in the morning to say hi - but I'm still wanting to ride, to gallop, to just sit on her even. In due time, I suppose. Right now we are celebrating the victory of starting to treadmill again, of tight and cool legs that stay down and cool from the first cold-tubbing of the morning all the way to nightly wraps, and of a freshly trimmed set of feet that make me smile every time I look at them. I might be dreaming of Rolex right now, but I know that next year it will come. I might be wishing for a full and hearty season of eventing for myself and for my mare right now, but I know that even though we can't this year, with patience and time we can do just about anything.

I keep catching Gogo snoozing every morning after she gets a fresh clean stall. (Hence the terrible cameraphone pictures.) She's always covered in shavings, filthy, drooling, and peaceful. I think I know what she might be dreaming about.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Picture of the Day

Clover nom nom noms.

Friday, April 16, 2010


EDIT: I know several of you have e-mailed me over the past month, but in the craziness of it all I haven't been able to respond to any of them, or quite frankly find where any of them went!! So if you've e-mailed me with questions/advice/whatnot recently and I never replied, please resend your e-mails. Thanks and sorry!!


Tubba tubba tubba! Gogo at this point is a super tubber, as you can see in the following videos. She gets in and out of the muck tub like a perfect angel, and stands there immobile for an entire half hour while icing before stepping lightly out on command - a little poke in the butt and the verbal, "okay, get out!" does the trick.

Dunno why she felt the need to cross her legs like that for half an hour... but she did. Such a lady.

Gogo's schedule continues on as usual. Same old... same old. She's thankfully resigned herself to quietly walking and keeping all four on the floor now that the weather has improved, so our walks have been completely uninteresting. The rest of the barn is in chaos (colics, vaccine reactions, horses flipping through doors... you know, the usual!) and here is Gogo, being the steady one for once. As of this past Thursday, we are up to 20 minutes of handwalking a day, which is split up between two 10 minute walks. The grass is growing ridiculously long, and she's been completely loving our grazes... on the days when I have time!! It's been ridiculously busy around the farm, and with the grass paddocks opening next week, it's only going to get more hectic as we transition and acclimate horses, all of which are going to go out there and NOT ever going to want to come back in. I guess if there had to be a year to be injured, this is it: between a new love interest, a crazy busy job, and a hectic social/personal schedule, it all adds up to me not having enough hours in the day to do half the things I intend to do on a daily basis. Every day though, without fail, Gogo comes out of her stall in the morning and walks for 10 minutes, then goes right into the tubba for 30 minutes of icy cold therapy. Shortly thereafter, she also wears ice boots in her stall for another half hour. Rinse lather repeat in the afternoon, although depending on how the legs look and feel I sometimes skip an icing or tubbing, and add 15 or so minutes of grazing. We still have over a month until our next ultrasound, so the plan is essentially to continue this week with 20 minutes of walking, and then next week bump up to 25 minutes - which then means she can go on the treadmill again, as it runs on a 24 minute cycle. Although I guess I can adjust the time, but as we have about 15 horses a day that need to go on it, it's already a bit hectic. I'll find room to squeeze her on coming next week. She still gets her daily grooming, still gets loads of fresh hay spread over the course of 15 hours a day, still gets to snooze in her 12x12 on mounds of fluffy white shavings overtop the Comfortstall mattress system.... if she's gotta be stuck on rest, she's in the right place. Sometimes the legs are a little filled under her wraps, sometimes they're warm. Sometimes one is warm and filled, sometimes one is tight and icy cold. Sometimes they're both tight and icy cold. For instance today, the right was tight and cold, and the left was a little filled and warm. Remember that the right has the new injury... strange. I give up, I can't tell what it means anymore!

And as for me, I haven't really wanted to ride, but.... I still have the option whenever I want. Maybe I'll try to ride a little bit more. Like Sawyer (pictured here), they're all sweet, easy, uncomplicated and fun to sit on. Maybe I'll make a point to try. I'd really just rather be on Gogo though.

Rolex is next week, and for the first time in a long time, I'm not going. King Oak is in less than a month.... just thinking about all I was doing last year to prepare for it hurts like hell.

Photo Adventure Friday

This week's Photo Adventure...

In and around Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand.
All the terraces, smelly sulfer, plopping mudsplats, steaming vents, and noxious volcanic gas you could ever want in your life. Totally amazing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Year Ago I Was...

.... getting some nice dressage work going. Wow, this video was taken a WHOLE YEAR ago. We've come SO far since this was taken.

And THIS year, I am.... sitting on my butt wistfully thinking of the season that never was. Sighhhh.

Fragile Life

I've had a very rollercoaster-esque week at work since my last post. In contemplating life and fragility, I've had plenty to think about surrounding life's recent events and everyone's comments, which I thank you all for. You all have had very valid arguments on both sides of the fence, most of which I had already been thinking about, but some of which that had not even occurred to me and gave me even more to digest. Thank you for that. Friday, I was reminded of just how fragile these huge animals can be sometimes. We had a client horse here at the farm who ate breakfast, pooped, drank water, went on the treadmill, and acted normally all morning. I was grooming horses all morning, and while on my third one at around 11:30am I heard someone pawing down the aisle. It didn't stop, so I went to go check, and here was the client horse, digging a hole to China in his stall and curling his lip. Awesome, he's colicing. Ok, call the owners, check his TPR (99.8/HR 32/RR 80!), give him 1000lbs of Banamine and start walking. He worsens within a half hour and so we get the vet on the phone. He continues to worsen and I pick up a whip to keep him on his feet. The vet is there within a half hour, and we sedate him and do a rectal. Hmmm, where is his colon? Not where it is supposed to be. That's... bad. We tube him as well and find nothing out of his ordinary. He also has a murmur. The second the sedation wears off, he is back to pawing like mad, so the moment the owners arrive I hook up my trailer, tell my staff to hold down the fort, and load him up with another dose of sedative on board. The moment he arrived at the clinic, he was back to being painful again, so surgery was almost a certain thing. I headed back to the farm, heard around 4pm that he was headed to surgery, and waited for news. At 6pm, they told me there were complications and they needed to remove a piece of colon with compromised blood flow. I heard nothing from them again until 8am; I had assumed the worst. But he had come through surgery by some miracle, and was back on his feet. As of today, he is still alive and doing fairly well, but we aren't out of the woods yet at this point. My first major emergency as a young professional... very scary stuff. Honestly, he was fine that morning. I checked on him during my morning rounds like I always do, and he was normal. I can't figure out how the hell these things happen sometimes. Just terrifying to think about, you know? Of course, the following day things did not improve around here. One of the big jumper mares was getting freelunging in the indoor in the morning, and she decided that she was going to make a break for it.... through a tiny half-door. There was a very small opening to the outside over the top of the swinging door, which can be shut in by a sliding garage door, but it was open at the time. This mare - who is HUGE I should mention - trotted to the opening, jumped, smashed her back into the roof of the doorframe, flipped forward and caught the heel of her hind shoe IN the drywall ABOVE the doorframe, hung there for a moment doing a handstand, and then front-flipped out of the doorway onto her side on the gravel driveway. I missed the entire thing and never heard the noise it made (the guys were blowing the aisle and I was in the office) so I was quite alarmed when my boss came flying in saying, "there's been an accident!!" Good lord, I had a heartattack. By some miracle, the mare is fine - a few cuts and scrapes, but honestly, nothing worse than that. She is sound and fine. Phew. So needless to say, I rather enjoyed my quiet day off yesterday. Anyhow, about Gogo... I'm not breeding her. Of course I WANT to - who doesn't WANT to? - but that doesn't mean at this point that I SHOULD. There are lots of reasons on both sides, obviously, as to why I should or should not, but in the end I know that while it really is a good time to do it, there are plenty of reasons to wait. Honestly, the biggest one for me isn't one that I talked about or any of the comments really touched upon. My biggest stop is this: what has she done to really prove that she deserves to spread her genes? Has she won Rolex? No. Had she gone to the Pan-Ams? No. Did she win a medal at the Olympics? Nope. And quite obviously, I don't want a horse that is ever going to do that, so that isn't the horse I'll be breeding for, but I want a horse capable of Prelim at least, you know? And quite frankly, even though her injury was just a stupid accident as far as we can tell and she SHOULD make a full recovery, what if there isn't some sort of long-term breakdown issue there? I won't know until we continue on into the future, and I won't be breeding her if there is. Once she proves herself a little more to me - if she can reach Prelim and stay sound after this injury, and she does well as it - then we'll talk. Yup, I'll be breaking a baby when I am closer to 40 than 30, and that's a little bit scary to me because I cannot POSSIBLY comprehend being that old. But that's life, you know? I'm a little hypocritical about breeding because I see human breeding and horse breeding in a similar way. As for myself, I know that, like Gogo, I am completely middle-of-the-line mediocre. Yeah, I'm athletic enough to not be a fattie on the couch. Yeah, I'm smart enough to not totally fail at life I guess. Yeah, I'm pretty nice. But I'm simple. I'm average. I'm nothing interesting or exciting. I'm okay with that. I'm not going to change any lives, save the world, or make the human race better for any reason, so I know that my genes are not worth passing along. Whether or not I end up wanting kids - sometimes, I think maybe I will - I have already opted to take myself out of the gene pool because I am not worth replicating. I'm just not. I see no reason to add another mediocre life into this world. We are SO overrun with extra lives and SO overpopulated as is. Why do mediocre people breed? Why don't just the good ones breed? And then if they also produce mediocrity, remove those individuals from breeding as well? (I mean let's let them live and be happy and stuff, let's not go the full Hitler or anything... just don't let them breed!) I don't understand and I never will. Same with horses though.... Gogo is just as mediocre as I am. So why am I breeding her? Because I love her and want another one similar to her? That's what human parents do... they replicate because they love each other, and then create more mediocre humans. In a way, it doesn't make sense. Too much to think about, on this gorgeous spring day. At least the weather has been like 90 degrees... love that. Om nom nom grass... icky bugs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Breeding: Pros and Cons?

In contemplating Gogo's future for the next year, I keep coming back across breeding as the one thing that sticks out as simultaneously the most important thing I could do, and the most undecided. I've already ruled out eventing for this year - even if she bounces back fast from this injury, I see no reason to push her and fit her up for it. We have time. I have two different vet opinions on breeding - one says definitely, one says put her back to work and don't bother. While I do agree with putting her back to work at least in a rehab sense, as that is the best and most controlled way to strengthen and heal a tendon, I'm not planning on hitting any big shows anytime soon. And seeing as I had planned on breeding her next year anyway (before this injury happened of course), this isn't exactly a spur of the moment thing. I've given it a lot of thought, and it's a definite yes for her future. The question, however, is when. Do I breed now, or do I wait? If I don't breed her this year, chances are (should she recover well and go on injury-free) that I won't have a chance to breed her for several more years given her ideal competition schedule. And let's be honest, it's a gamble all around to have an older maiden mare, and sometimes it isn't worth it.

So that leads me to now. This is the ideal time... or well, almost the ideal time. If I do breed her now, that probably cuts out next season as well, seeing as it's a full time job to be a mom, a double full time job to be a mom and a riding horse, and a triple full time overtime no lunchbreaks job to be a mom and a riding horse who is getting fitted up for a competitive season. (Although hell, that way I might finally get her to lose some damn weight!) And that isn't ideal in my mind either, losing two seasons. On the other hand, it will absolutely get me to take my time. Forget about worrying, forget about planning for a season, forget about feeling the need to push her before she may or may not be ready - I won't have that option, so it won't happen.

She'll be 9 this coming year, 10 when baby hits the ground, which means it won't be until age 11 that she's back to eventing fully again. God, that sounds old. Way old. But by breeding her now and REALLY taking my time, I might just secure a seriously long competitive career with her down the road. Who knows, she could be eventing until she's in her 20's! Lil' Tricky was 21 when he did Rolex. The nicest dressage horse in my barn is a Grand Prix horse who is 21, still in full work, and not on a SINGLE supplement. Nothing. He is a far more supple and expressive mover than all of the other horses in the barn combined. That's impressive. But back to Gogo... god forbid I try and get her back into work too soon and she reinjures herself, because she'll probably be done. And then she'll be making babies anyway, so there you have it. It's just a matter of NOW or LATER?

I've made my very basic list of pro's and con's for you all to see. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but I want your opinions on this. Breed her THIS YEAR, or DON'T?

Reasons to breed this year:
1) Good time - recooping from an injury, not competing
2) Gives me plenty of reason to take as much time as I need - won't have a competition season next year either most likely so this injury will have absolutely maximum potential for not ever happening again!!
3) Will have a super awesome, well-bred event baby to start up potentially when Gogo's career is winding down - good timimg all around
4) Breeding now prevents her from being an older maiden, which are harder to get pregnant, keep pregnant, and foal out safely
5) Did I mention having an adorable, bouncing, rearing bundle of joy!? I have no interest in purchasing my next horse elsewhere. I want her kiddo and nothing else. I would be the happiest kid in the world to end up with a complete carbon copy of her. In fact, I'd prefer it that way!

Reasons to NOT breed this year:
1) Money. I am doing well enough at this point for myself and will be able to afford two horses without issue, but still... two horses is double the expense of one. I enjoy spending lavishly on Gogo, and I do remember what it was like not long ago to be spending lavishly on Gogo and then going very hungry myself. Not where I ever want to be again. This is really the most enormous reason. Of course I'll be able to afford it, but I kind of am enjoying being able to spend extra money on ME for once! I also eventually need to be thinking about, you know, my life and future beyond all this... do I want a house someday? I have a really small savings fund for my supposed someday retirement, should I be thinking about this some more? I mean, as a horseperson I will NEVER retire until the day I die, but you know. The future is eventually going to be the present.
2) Cutting out an extra competition season. I suppose this is just for selfish reasons really. Can't wait to get back on that mare and gallop XC! But there will be time for that in the future. Sometimes it just feels like everything is a ticking clock though.
3) Time. With two horses, probably at two separate barns, I will lose large amounts of time that I already struggle to find somedays. Yesterday I got home at 9pm from the barn, just because I was there cleaning! I didn't ride anybody, so imagine if I had two horses to ride! I also would probably lose travel time, due to both the time and money issue. And that's fine, a sacrifice I can make (because I've already sacrified it anyway, sadly), but you know. I like having the option even if I don't actually have it.

So what to do? Breed her now, take two years to get back into competition, and then go on to have a long career while baby grows up and gets reason to head out just as she is winding now? Continue to ride her and not breed, and have a competition season next year and extra time and money for myself but have to breed her later as an older maiden and risk sitting out several seasons while I have neither mare nor baby to ride? A hard choice.
I will tell you this, I had a dream two nights ago that Gogo did in fact foal out right in front of me and randomly (don't think I knew she was pregnant in the dream). I went in to clean her stall, and she popped out a baby while STANDING, and it lasted all of about 5 seconds. It was a huge, bright bay colt with those distinctive I'm-going-to-grey-out markings around his lil' nosey. Oh noes, not a grey colt! We want a dark bay filly just like her mom!

(One of my boarders snapped these two pictures of her looking adorable. She has the oogly-eyed skeptical face on in the first picture because the guys were in the hayloft getting reason to throw down lunch hay, and in the second she is obviously getting up to get her lunch hay!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Picture of the Day // Photo Adventure Friday, or Not

Two pictures for you....

Today's Photo Adventure Friday, Which Is On a Saturday But Was Taken On a Friday So Still Counts....

Pootatuck State Park, New Fairfield, CT.
We went hiking here yesterday. It may not be a faraway place, but it was a Friday adventure, and it was gorgeous, so it counts!


And also, the Picture of the Day:

Gogo's RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME new halter. Yes, it is bright blue with GOLD overlay. AND pink Merino halter fuzzies. PINK.

Poor Gogo. She say, "Mom. Why you do dis."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vet Discussion; End of March Analysis

My last post got me to thinking a bit concerning vets and following treatment orders. When do you follow exactly what they say, and when don't you? Several of you have mentioned turnout versus stall rest; whether or not that is right for a particular injury is hard to say. My personal belief with vets is that if you don't trust or like a vet, then you should find a different one, one who meshes with your particular beliefs, who is good to you and your animals, and will tell it like it is and give you a plan you can work with. And whether or not you like what they tell you, you should be able to trust that they know what they are doing and have you and your animals' best interests in mind. If you don't have that relationship, then you should find a new one.

The vets I work with now I really rather like, which isn't like me at all. I don't like vets - hell, I drive for hours to get to the vets I regularly use because I just don't like the several local practices very much - and a lot of the ones I'm regularly around have just been WRONG about several diagnoses made at my barn. In those cases, we have sought different opinions elsewhere, or done what we think is best instead. We didn't listen to those vets, because they weren't right. And vets sometimes aren't right. With Metro, my last horse, THREE different vets all told me that his problem was ringbone, and that I should move him and turn him out (and ride as well). So I did... for four months. I turned him out every day, and he ran and played and was adorable and free. I got him out as much as I did, even moving him over to 24/7 turnout. I finally sought another opinion at Michigan State after he continued to get lamer and lamer despite following all the vets' orders, and discovered the gaping black hole in his suspensory. Had I not been turning him out and moving him for four months, had we caught it sooner, he might still be alive today. I should not have listened to my vets, but I didn't know. I trusted they were right. They were wrong.

So where does that bring us? Vets are people with jobs, just like we are. Some are in it because they love the animals and the clients. Some aren't. When do you not listen to the vet? When they don't give you the kind of advice you can work with? When they don't give you a diagnosis you like? Who is to say who is right or wrong? Maybe you're right and they're wrong. Maybe you're wrong and they're right. Maybe if you disregard their opinions, you'll be doing the right thing. Maybe you'll be condemning your horse to a lifetime of pain, or worse. You are paying them for their diagnosis and opinion, and that is what they are giving. Like I said before, everyone needs a vet they can trust, whether or not they give you the information you want to hear. I didn't want to hear that my horse has a new injury. I would have liked to just press on with her training and pretend like nothing was going on. But how could I? Just because she was a little off didn't mean it was something major - or did it? In this case, it did. If I had continued to ride her and turn her out, who knows when a major breakdown would have happened? For any number of vet-related things, if I DON'T follow their advice, am I destroying my horse? If I DO follow their advice, is it the same? I trust my vets, and I trust that they are going to give me the best diagnosis that they can, and good solid advice for bringing her back. But I've been there with vets I didn't like and didn't trust. I moved beyond them.

She wasn't THAT lame. This was her jog-out the day after she went horribly off:

How many horses do you know that are *just* that lame? Are they okay? Or, like with Metro, is there something horribly wrong that you might not ever know about until it is far too late?

Readers, when do you listen to the vet? When don't you? And why?


And, sigh..... my March goals.

March Goals:
1) Start canterwork, building from 5 minutes for the first two weeks to 10 for an additional two weeks, then resume regular flatwork sessions in the beginning of March

Uh.... yeaaaa. Well, we were almost there. Mid-March, we were approaching real dressage work, and she felt amazing. She was cantering again 4 days out of the week for 5+ minutes, both directions, getting stronger every day. And then it all fell apart.

2) Continue to build our hacks up to an hour of walk work (revamp plan as well so we have a more concrete idea)
Well, we were almost there... again. We were at 45 minutes of walk with a minute or two of trot on the road. We would have reached an hour. I had a hack plan all figured out all the way through the end of May too. Sigh.

3) Move to the next incline level on the treadmill

Success! And now, failure. We aren't able to treadmill at all. But we were up to Level 3 on the incline. (There are 9 levels.)

4) MAYBE if everything goes according to plan and we are back to regular work at the end of the month, a trip to the beach!? (Just to walk around in the water and smell the salty air!)
So sad that we never got to do this. The beaches closed yesterday to horse traffic for the summer. But hopefully we can do in October...!

5) Near the end of the month, reevaluate show season - where we stand, where it looks like we'll be, and what we will need to do to have a successful show season (finances, opening dates, rejoining organizations should her soundness continue)
Except... her soundness did not continue. We have a brand-new injury, and therefore our show season is almost totally shot. I have hopes that maybe this fall we can do some little things, but we will just have to wait and see how it goes.

April Goals:
1) Not break down/freak out every time I get a little too emotional over this horrible blow!
2) Start to build from 10 minutes of handwalking to 15, then 20, then 25 by the end of the month
3) Near the end of the month, start treadmill work again on Level 1 (flat setting)
4) Stay positive!
5) Start handgrazing a little every day

I know, they're kind of lame goals. But you have to start somewhere, right?