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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I.... am awesome

I am, for the most part, a modest person. I don't give myself credit where credit is due, because I hate cocky a-holes and I always feel like it makes me sound like one whenever I admit that I did something well, or that I have a particular talent for anything. For the most part, I think I am pretty average in all ways - a fairly talentless, mediocre individual with medium-average intelligence, and not a lot more. But today, I am going to brag about myself for a minute. Today, I am AWESOME.

I am awesome because I am outrageously clever when it comes to work under serious pressure. I am awesome because I am friendly, social and selfless, and in my travels I have made a lot of contacts and friends who are all willing to help me out when I am in a tight spot, simply because they know I would do the same for them. I am awesome because I am well-adjusted and adaptable, and under pressure I am calm as the proverbial cucumber. I am awesome because in the face of major uncertainty, I am still just as happy as ever.

When the job down south fell through, I suddenly found myself facing a major crisis. I got back to Connecticut on Saturday, and had exactly three and a half days until doggie, kitty, pony and myself were completely homeless. *I* can be homeless without a problem, but I can't have all my critters out in the November cold without a warm place to go, so I had to act really, really fast. I had all my stuff to get out of the apartment, I had Gogo to move. I had no idea WHERE we were going but I knew we had to go NOW. When faced with a crisis pertaining to most basic levels of survival - not freezing to death in November - I moved forward with single-minded determination. At blinding speeds, I packed everything I own, set my little critters up at Honey's apartment, made some quick phone calls, packed up everything at the old barn, cleaned up Gogo and tossed her on the trailer, and spent my Sunday evening settling her up at Hillden, where I once lessoned with Kerry Milliken. (Yikes look at that equitation... that was soooo long ago!) Jen was kind enough to let me come last second, and gave me a day rate in case I found another job somewhere else mid-month and needed to leave. The best part about this situation is that Gogo is now getting 10 to 12 hours of turnout a day, coming in only at night to escape the bitter winds. It's exactly what she needs right now to transition over to 24/7... I don't think she's had that much turnout since she was a foal at foot. I spent the rest of past two days packing and loading all my stuff into my horse trailer. I think I should mention that pretty much EVERYTHING I own fits into my trailer's TACK ROOM. Wow.... that's kind of sad, but also a little bit liberating.

As for Gogo, she survived her first day of long turnout without an issue. I thought she might decide at some point that she wanted in NOW, and would run, but she went out at around 6am, and when I arrived at 4pm, she was just standing quietly by the gate. The paddock she is in has a shed and a holding area, which opens up to the bigger paddock through a gate. When she saw me, she screamed, and started pacing the fence like she was definitely ready to come in. 10 hours is pretty good for a horse that normally starts to run the fence after the first two or three! There was another girl there, and she said that she was grazing out in the field when she arrived an hour or so before I got there.

The farm is known for its absolutely gorgeous sunsets, which you get a perfect view of when looking out at her pasture....

I also made her an oatmeal snack out of the box of old plain oatmeal packets I found in my cubbard while cleaning, and spiced it up with some cinnamon sugar. She thought this was absolutely excellent:

I think she might get used to this retirement thing pretty quickly if all I ever do when she sees me is groom her and shove food in her face!

As for the rest of everything, today is the final day of packing, loading and cleaning. Jen's farm is about an hour away, so realistically I don't think I can go every day, but I will do my best to see her as much as possible while in this little bit of limbo. I have a job interview I am flying out for on Thursday, which is great. The rest of everything is all set up at Honey's apartment, and we are all fed and warm. Honestly, if you can believe it, this whole not knowing what tomorrow might bring is pretty exhilarating. I mentioned to Daun yesterday that it was starting to get old, this whole living out of a suitcase and being constantly on the move (versus friends my age who own houses, are starting to make babies, and are getting fat and rich in their little bubble worlds), but I think I am only interested in having a home base because I am always intrigued by what I don't have. If I was tied down to one spot, I don't think I'd really like it... I'm not old enough to really crave that yet, and the adventurer in me still yearns for movement and excitement. I am young and mobile, and I can go anywhere and do anything that I like. In the wintertime, I do get pretty homey, so the timing of this movement is a bit unfortunate. Secretly, I am seriously excited, because I have NO idea where I am going to end up, and NO idea what comes next. For the moment, I am awesome because I assessed the situation, addressed every issue with streamlined efficiency, kept my cool about the whole ordeal, and have still come out smiling. Given the whole situation, I think THAT is something to be very proud of.

And in her huge grassy turnout, and her big airy stall filled with fresh food and clean bedding, Gogo was as happy and fresh as I've ever seen yesterday, despite how ugly her leg is. She's sound at the walk, so I'll take it for what it is. She ate her oatmeal snack with gusto, and stood with the happiest, perkiest look on her face the whole time I was grooming her in the barn. If she's happy, I'm happy.

I am awesome. Gogo is awesome. And YOU are awesome for reading this.

More packing and cleaning.... and then I am freeeeeeeeeeee!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What to do, what to do

I have a confession to make. I've come to the realization that I am completely, utterly, totally, ridiculously, 100% useless without my functional horse. Every single important life decision I've made in the past four years has had her enormously factored in; for instance, the reasons that I took both the post-college jobs that I did were nearly entirely because of the benefits SHE reaped from them. (And yeah, it was good experience for me and all that, but that was way less important to me.) The major reasons for taking those jobs all centered around getting some great training for Gogo, or having a nice place to rehab Gogo, or whatever. I have come to realize that when my horse recently broke for good, I suddenly had no reason to take the job in NC anymore, because the greatest benefit the job had to offer was training and housing for HER. When I found out she couldn't come anyway if she was broken, it made my life simultaneously a lot easier and a lot harder - easier because I had a reason to say no, and harder because suddenly, I didn't know what to do, where to live, or remember what my lifelong goals were supposed to be.

In other words, I am utterly lost without her.

Very obviously, she's still here! It's not like she has gone somewhere or will be going somewhere. But I've come to realize that SO much of my life, time and energy goes into planning for her, thinking about her future, designing schedules and goals for her, shopping around for stuff I'd like to get for her, picking out which shows and/or places I'd like to take her to, playing around with supplement/blanket/tack/etc. choices for her...... that when all of those things come down to the very simple, very rudimentary "all we need to do is provide a good living situation for her and let nature do its thing," I suddenly have vast gaps in my day where I just DON'T know what to do. I feel completely confused and a little bewildered. My life has been given a good hard shake, and it feels like my brain isn't getting the full extent of the message. I'm in denial that I may never do more than sit on my horse's back ever again.

I am at war with myself over the best course of action for Gogo right now. Every fiber of my being screams against turning her out with a fresh soft-tissue injury. It's simply a fact: she WILL get hurt. It WILL hurt her. It MAY permanently damage and deform her. It MAY offer perfect, miracle healing. It might completely ruin her, and cosmetically and structurally destroy her permanently. The last horse I saw that was turned out with a SDFT injury ended up literally so deformed and lame that she knuckled over at the knee in an effort to not use her painful limb, and was severely lame at the walk even after the tendon was declared set for life. THAT could be Gogo. OR, she could take good care of her body, build up scar tissue, and come back as a mildly useable animal someday. The fact of the matter is that the body compensates for whatever it needs to in order to make itself functional. Likely, she'll build up an ugly bundle of disorganized scar tissue and heal herself. She'll hurt herself out there, oh yes! She will. Which is why I am at horrible, stomach-turning odds with myself. It's the right thing to do, retire her and let her loose to be a horse and give up hope of her ever being really rideable again. If she ever IS rideable, great! If not, it's fine too, so long as eventually she turns out pain free. Understandably, this is completely killing me.

I pulled her turnout after a day or two of seeing how utterly miserable she was post-injury. Dr. C said to just turn her out and that's that, but I just can't stand by and know that she's hurting. With a little bute, cold-tubbing and wrapping, her spirits improved, but she's just been sort of mopey ever since I stopped spending the vast majority of the day at barn. I think this retirement-until-further-notice is going to be really hard on her. This mare lives to have a job.

This is truly going to be a painful leap of faith. Letting her out into a herd and letting her just be a HORSE for once is in all honestly going to be the ultimate best medicine for her. I will just have to keep a desperately close eye on her, and be ready to alter my plans if something horrible should happen. I can only anticipate she's going to get into scraps along the way... she's a nasty piece of work out in the field. I love her, but you know she is! She WILL get hurt! But then she will heal again. I want to bubblewrap her and coldhose and wrap and rest her, but I just know it's just not right or fair at this point. What am I trying to prove? What am I trying to do? All I want is for her to be comfortable and happy. I don't care if she ever comes back to be even semi-rideable or not.

Only I hate every moment that she's hurting. So I continue to be at endless odds with myself.


As for the living situation, it currently comes down to where I can keep Gogo. I have a place for myself either in MI or in CT, but I have a place lined up for Gogo in MI only.... not in CT. I guess that means I'll be leaving New England, although hopefully not for good. I love it there, and leaving it will make me hurt.

Until we figure out a solution, I will keep teetering around in my little fog, looking for some sort of ray of sunlight to guide me out again. I suppose it's time to learn to be my own person again, someone who doesn't completely rely on her horsey best friend for the vast majority of her strength, drive, and happiness. I just... don't like that. At all. She is, and always will be, the center of my whole little universe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that, despite everything that has happened, my horse has lived to fight another day, and that she is healthy and happy.
I am thankful for my fat, fluffy beastcat, and my sleepy, lazy greyhound.
I am thankful that even though my parrot doesn't currently live with me, he is happy at my parents' house.
I am thankful for all the good luck I had this year, and all our little successes.
I am thankful for all the bad luck, because it humbles and gives me perspective, and makes me appreciate the good.
I am thankful for my horse's healthy, strong bare feet.
I am thankful that my own health has made a turnaround, and I am no longer limping every day.
I am thankful that even though we are all about to be homeless, I have such great friends and family around the world that I am not worried about where we'll end up.
I am thankful for my sense of humor and my ingenuity, because that will get me through this.
I am thankful for all my supporters, family, and friends.
I am thankful that I am still excited for the future, because it's only just beginning.

From Gogo, Ti, Greta, Saba, and myself, Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you all have plenty to be thankful for too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


First of all, THANK YOU to everyone that donated to Denali's Mom's gift. In that first few hours, I got nearly $80 in donations! I'll keep donations open through Thanksgiving, and take down the button after that. We have lots of good options for gifts; Sydney has offered to do some custom horsehair work, but we will still have leftover money. Laz's momma had another good suggestion about custom posters like the ones she had made of Laz. I had another idea but we'll have to see how much money is left over. Any other suggestions would be great!
If you donated but haven't contacted me via e-mail yet, drop me a line. I'd like to have everyone e-mail me with a little message for her (and your name and/or your blogger name so she knows who you all are) and then send a collective card along with the gift.

Seriously, you guys are the best. Sometimes it completely floors me how much blogging and the connections you make through it can really touch the people around you. Thank you.

In other news, guess where I am right now!

Aaaah, yes. Michigan. I am home for a few days of rest, relaxation and turkey consumption, back in the good ol' thumb state where I was born and raised. I was definitely needing a break, seeing as I am inconsolably stressed about the upcoming move and Gogo's swiss cheese tendons. (Ok, so they're not THAT bad.... but they may as well be at this point.) Last night I finally received a reply to my inquiry about keeping Gogo at my new job despite her injury. The e-mail simply stated that the facility was not equipped to have a laid-up animal on the propery, and that I would need to make arrangements for her elsewhere. And also, if I could find a useful animal to replace her with, that would be good too.

Well. Very unfortunately for me, the salary at the new job does not allow for keeping a horse boarded off the property AND pay for the expenses of TWO horses, much less a dog and a cat and all my other bills. As the riding and training was such a huge part of the job, and because I really am not planning on snagging up the first project I find, that leaves me with no real choice but to decline the job offer and search elsewhere.

Only. All four of us - dog, cat, horse and myself - are all about to be totally homeless. Doggie, kitty and myself can of course stay in honey's apartment, despite the fact that said apartment is a bit small for that many creatures. But I need to find somewhere for Gogo, and FAST.

I have two options for temporary living. 1) stay in CT and live with honey and find someplace nearby for Gogo. 2) go to MI and stay with family and find someplace nearby for Gogo. Both are doable options. Neither are things I could do for longer than a month without a job. Both of these situations have one central problem: finding a place to keep Gogo, NOW. This in theory should be easy. I mean, all she needs is a field and a shed... no arenas, no stalls, no concerns about location or footing or amenities beyond the simple ones. In reality, I only have 6 days to do this. Barns in CT/NY are very, very expensive. Barns in MI are less so, but it all depends on where you are. I do know a lot of people in the surrounding area; barns where I've kept Gogo before, and where I've kept my other horses as well. There is the possibility of 24/7 turnout in the giant herd where Quincy lived for a few weeks while he was retired, right up until he died. I already spoke with the woman on the phone; I told her she probably wouldn't remember me, but when I mentioned that he had died and his name, she said, "Oh no. That day is burned into my head forever. We've been in business for 40 years and I've never seen anything so horrible." Um, yeah... me too.

So there are options. They take care of my immediate shelter-seeking needs (although if any of you have barn suggestions in either CT, NY or MI.... let me know). We can safely see our way through December this way, but not beyond that.

So now it's time to get serious. In reality, my job in NC was not going to me any further along the path to achieving my goals. Contrary to popular belief, I DON'T want to ride/train/teach for a living. I really, really don't. I love to ride MY horse... and I enjoy riding other horses sometimes. Doing it for a living? No. Teaching? I don't even have the slightest clue how to begin, and I don't want to do it. I guess the problem with knowing these things about myself is that I also know that it creates certain large limitations in my vaguely chosen fields.

Again, I keep coming back to it. Hoofcare. THAT is what I want to do. It's still just a matter of HOW. There's more to it than just trimming... I want to specifically get into sporthorses and farrier work beyond the traditional steel. I've had a lot of good recommendations, and I have a few good leads. It's all a bit vague still, but ideas are becoming more solid by the day. Maybe someday I'll be able to make this all work and not be completely homeless every single time I change jobs. Maybe someday I will have a big, booming business and my own farm. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Yes. But first.... I need to have a place to live.

Baby steps.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For Denali.

I just heard the news about Denali, and I am sure many of you have as well. We featured Denali and her mom in one of our early Sunday Success Stories, and had been following her plight long before that, through all her ups and downs. It breaks my heart to hear that a final decision has been reached, and I know her mom is really hurting right now. I've been in that situation before, when I know I'm doing the right thing by my horse even though it hurts me, and if you haven't stopped by her blog to send your condolances, please go drop her a note to let her know we're all thinking of her. I don't have a lot of money, and I don't know Denali's Mom outside of the blogging community, but I really want to do something for her. I have a set of custom horsehair necklaces that I was given when each of my horses passed away, and they are stunning. I wear one or the other every single day, and have since the day I got them. I think something like that would really be special.

I don't have much money, but I'll match anything that anyone will donate to this. A really nice one is about $100. Please, if you have just $5, send it along. I'll let you know the details about it if you shoot me an e-mail - I want to keep it a semi-surprise.

((Donation button removed... thanks for your generous gifts!!))

And go hug your horse today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Late-Night Musings

Man. Gogo's been retired-until-further-notice for all of four days now, and I am already itching to get on something and ride. Without a competition horse, I am going into my new job feeling as though I might miss out on a lot of the opportunity I will have access to, and I'm not quite sure what to do about that. There will be horses for me to ride, of course, but I am not a catch rider, and never will be. I just don't enjoy it that much, except in certain circumstances (a big black Perch comes to mind!), mostly because the reason I enjoy showing so much is because I like to show off the particular bond a certain horse and I have together. I don't have interest in ever going pro - I've never felt any particular draw to teaching or training. My riding and competing interests remain pretty much completely limited to my horses alone. Don't get me wrong, I love riding, but mostly I love riding MY horse. Kind of in that way that parents think other kids are cute, but they really only LOVE playing with THEIR kids.

This, unfortunately, isn't an easy remedy. Gogo's not going to be rideable anything in the near future, and she's not going to event again until she gets a magical leg transplant sometime in the near future. I would love to breed her, and am still contemplating the possibility of a bouncing, rearing bundle of joy sometime in the future, but there is a lot to think about. Even if I DO make the choice to breed next spring, we're talking something like five years until I have something to really work with. (And I haven't decided yet if I will even breed her, ever.) I really do want something to work with now.

Only... I will never in a zillion years be able to spend any sort of big money on a talent similar to Gogo's. The only reason I was able to afford Gogo in the first place was because of the insurance money we collected on Metro's mortality. Yes, blood money. Yes, I thank him every day for that unintentional sacrificial gift. She didn't cost a million bajillion dollars, not by any means, but it's quite a lot more than I would be able to shell out just out of pocket at the moment.

What I COULD do is pick up a really cheap project for a turnaround sale, or just a really cheap project to keep for myself. Most of the time though, you really do pay for what you get. Sometimes you get lucky, but it's probable that the OTTB you just picked up for $250 has major mental or physical baggage. (Edited to add: I should mention that I'm not really a fan of hot, hot, hot, hot horses. I enjoy a forward thinking animal, but if it has a load more energy than Gogo has, it's too much!) As I already have one very lovely large pet in the field, I think I'd like to keep that number down to just uno. I obviously can spend more than just the dirt cheapest cheap that you possibly could, but my budget's not very high. If I'm looking for a nice quality beast at a cost that won't break the bank, then I need to either breed my own, or buy very young and wait. (Both potentially doable for sure, and preferable, if I am looking to buy.)

The problem is, that still doesn't solve my immediate problem. I would still be waiting a long time if I bought something already on the ground, and just like it would be a crapshoot if I bred her, it would be a total gamble to see what a young horse would really turn out to be good at.

Hmmmmmmmmm. Conundrum. Decisions. How do I get something nice to play with without breaking my bank, and without risking being saddled with another potential pasture ornament should things not work out?

Wait a minute. Duh, why didn't I think of this before? Why don't I free lease something?

It's a great solution! If I can find a good 1-2 year (hopefully) free lease option with a very clearly written contract, then both the owner and I can win in this situation. The owner wins because their beastie goes off for some free training, showing and care, and it also saves them on board/vet/farrier/whatever bills (assuming these are the things I take over myself). I win because I get something to ride now, don't have to be committed long term if the horse doesn't end up being suitable for what I want to do, and don't have to spend a bundle on a gamble of any sort. Gogo gets a few years to be her horsey self outside, and when the lease is up, I can reassess where I am at with her and decide if the other horse should be a purchase or not.

I honestly stumbled upon this solution while browsing through some online equine ads this afternoon inbetween rounds of packing. One particular ad stuck out, mostly because the horse is for sale OR offered up for a free lease situation EXACTLY like the one I just described above. The horse has various conformation issues going on, so I don't think she would ever make an UL prospect of any sort, but you can't deny, she is darn cute:

Full App, can you believe that? She's sportbred (but without the Wap) so she moves like a warmblood. And also, by some miracle, she has a tail.

When I mentioned to Gogo this evening that she might be getting a sister, I got the full-on snake eyes look from her. I promised her that she's NOT getting replaced in any way, and she looked slightly less miffed, but only after I bribed her with many cookies.

Any ideas or input?

Somebody didn't learn how to share in Kindergarden!

No matter what happens, I think we all know this one universal truth: Gogo is THE boss, and always will be THE boss. I took a few pictures of Gogo out with the girls last week, and when I opened them up today to get a closer look, I laughed outright. I didn't realize how funny the series was until I put them all together in a row!

First, we see Gogo, eating alone off in the distance, enjoying a pile of hay in the all-weather turnout...

Aww, how cute. Look, there are her ladies!

The ladies want to come say hello and see what I have brought for everyone! Three apples, so we all can share!

Oh wait, I forgot. Gogo does NOT share.

Guess who ate all three apples. Pretty sure her name starts with a G.

Oh, Gogo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Two-Year Anniversary, Eventing-A-Gogo!

Today is the two-year anniversary of the Eventing-A-Gogo blog!

Once again, I am totally shocked to find that another year has flown by so fast. This blog started two years ago as nothing more than a little something to keep track of my training successes (and failures) with my wild little mare, and it turned into so much more. So many things have changed in the past year - many of them good, some of them not so good. My list of blog-related contacts and friends continues to grow, and hardly a day goes by when I don't get little notes of encouragement, questions, and general friendly comments from all of you amazing people. Thank you all for following this journey... it's certainly been a wild ride! So without further ado, here is a review of the past year, from where we left off last November until now:

November 2009:

Gogo continues to settle in to her new fancy living arrangements, treadmill and all. I let another farrier work on her for the first time in a year, and was happy to find that yes, even metalworking traditional farriers CAN perform a nice barefoot trim. I get back on Gogo for the first time in two months, and she behaves perfectly - until she doesn't. Gogo gets turnout for the first time in two months, even if confined to only a 20x20 area. Our day by day schedule is very simple, but steady, and we are both comfortable and happy in our surroundings. Things are looking way up.

December 2009:

Gogo's two/three month checkup at Tufts happens, and everything looks great on ultrasound, but she's still a little wonky on her RH. A partial body bone scan showed that she apparently jammed her stifle during her slide, and we medicate it to the tune of big $$$$$$. It causes her no further issues, and we get back to talkwalking, which turns into a daily bolting, rearing nightmare. We take our first trot steps, which go great, until they don't. Gogo gets booted from her stall when she starts attacking horses over the gate, to a stall with no gate under the loft - hey, she deserved it! I discuss the Elephant In The Corner, and the subsequent clarification needed as follow-up, all in response to the question everyone asked: will you shoe your horse now? The answer was, and always will be 'no' in the traditional sense, but there are many new and interesting options out there, and I think we are getting closer to a real, solid event-type answer every day.

January 2010:

I make a lot of pompous goals for the upcoming years - which events we'll do and whatnot - and experiment with tack (drop nosebands, different bits). Gogo goes on her first 'hack', a 10 minute ride around the barn. I go to the Area I convention to collect year-end awards, only to panic and turn on my heel as soon as I got there... somehow, collecting awards for my lame horse felt completely wrong, and I wanted no part of it. I talk about missing Metro, Gogo moves into the next size medical turnout (about 20x50), and totally wipes out on the treadmill. I start my own barefoot adventure, and pick out a baby daddy for Gogo. Gogo also goes insane trying to attack geldings over the fence in turnout, which doesn't surprise anybody.

February 2010:

I don't write much in February. We go back and have another ultrasound done, and everything is looking spot-on, so we get the clear to canter for the first time - which goes great for the first two days. The third attempt at canter, and she goes dead hopping lame. She makes a rapid turnaround, and the vet suspects a blown adhesion in the tendon sheath - painful, but something that will resolve itself shortly, and life will go on. Gogo gets to be the poster child for the awards section of the USEA website. She also loses her mind several times, complete with spinning, rearing, bolting, bucking, and standing on her hind legs in the stall so high that she actually cracks her head on the ceiling. Steps forward, steps back.

March 2010:

March starts out beautifully, with the outdoor arena returning to use (much bigger than the indoor, and better for Wild Gogo Brains.) We spent way too much time inside, where she was way too wild and spooky, and subsequently also spent way too much time on a circle at one end.... in hindsight, probably an awful choice. We toodle around with some groundwork. Gogo has a day where she feels just so slightly off, and this turns into a sudden, violent three-legged lameness during an amazing ride. I suspect stifle, but when we head back to Tufts, we find that a suspected adhesion has blown on the right, taking a crater of tendon with it. Boom done! Another tendon injury. We medicate the sheath with hyaluronic acid, and go right back to the beginning.... stall rest, handwalking, wraps and coldtubbing. I feel pretty crappy.

April 2010:
I try to keep my spirits up by starting up Photo Adventure Fridays again. I go over the breeding option again, and again, and again. Gogo gets lots of tubba, and lots of grazing time on the clover. I start going to the chiropractor - a LOT - and do lots of hiking in my VFFs. I mope around because I miss out on Rolex, and I SO should have gone. Gogo goes back on the treadmill for the first time in a month and a half, and is shocked!

May 2010:

I write about missing Quincy every day, and about how he died. (Yes, I cried when I wrote it.) I participate in a clinic with Jeff Cook, obviously not on Gogo, and have a blast. Gogo steals the computer and blogs all by herself. My dear friend Lynnie loses her battle with brain cancer. Gogo heads back for her two-month ultrasound, and the tendon looks great, but she's still a hair off, flexing positive at the hock (to no one's surprise; to fill you in if you didn't know, Crazy Abusive Trainer spent 6 months lunging her in a tiny, rutted circle with tight side reins on in one direction only, every. Single. Day. For an hour at a time. THAT will screw up your hocks.) I blog about milestones: my baby sister graduates from college, I get back to tackwalking on the mare, and the blog reaches its 300th post and 191st follower. I write the Ten-don Commandments, and vow to double my efforts in resolving this rehab case: arena work ONLY, straight lines ONLY, NO hacking out, NO uneven surfaces, NO turnout, coldhosing/wrapping/icing at specific, timed schedules every day, and Ace every single ride. NOT worth it to EVER chance anything else.

June 2010:

Gogo turns 9 years old on June 2nd. We spend exactly four weeks at this schedule: tackwalking 6 days a week, 30 minutes on the buckle/loose rein, straight lines in the huge outdoor arena ONLY, with 5 minutes of on the bit work added every week. (35 minutes of riding the 1st week, 40 the second, 45 the third, and 50 the fourth, to make a total of 30 minutes on the buckle, and 20 on the bit) 'On the bit' work includes straight lines only, REALLY shallow leg yields once or twice in each direction, walking over poles, and... that's about it. We do our seasonal glam shots, and we walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. The blog does its first Sunday Success Story, and they catch on fast and go strong for a good long while (I miss them, send your stories people!). I write about the first leg of the barefoot journey, and Gogo gets the all-clear from the vet to TROT! The first trot this time around feels SO much stronger and better than the first trot over the winter. Yay trot!

July 2010:

We stick to a rigorous schedule: four weeks of a 6-day a week schedule, 30 minutes of loose rein walk, 20 minutes of walk on the bit, and 5 minutes of trot added every week, to total 20 minutes at the end of four weeks (1:10 ride). Gogo looks awesome. On National Helmet Awareness Day, I write about how a helmet saved my brains. I do lots of Sunday Success Stories and Photo Adventure Fridays. The humidity makes Gogo's legs get HUGE, but she stays sound, so we keep at it. Near the end of the month, we win more blog awards, and my hip completely blows out when an old injury gets reaggravated. I am completely lame, but in very good spirits. Gogo heads back to the vet for her recheck, and we go ahead and medicate her hocks. I spend the following two weeks bringing her back to her former level of work VERY carefully, in case her new hocks made her feel a little too awesome. We are two happy chicks in the summer sun.

August 2010:

I celebrate (a few days late) my four-year anniversary with Gogo. Four years of Picture Poses, four years of striking poses, and four years of 'special moments.' We CANTER! I am understandably nervous given what happened last time, but I didn't need to be. We again stick to our set-in-stone schedule: four weeks of a 6-day a week schedule, 30 minutes of loose rein walk, 20 minutes of walk on the bit, 20 minutes of trot, and 5 minutes of canter added every week, to total 20 minutes at the end of four weeks (1:30 ride). Near the end of the month, at the 15 minute mark, I start to realize how totally exhausting this schedule is (and how totally fit she is), and decide after yet another stellar ultrasound that it's time to back WAY down. We get the go-ahead to carefully begin hacking out, jumping, and turning out. We go on our first hack in many months, and participate in an in-hand clinic with Bettina. I write more about the barefoot journey, and say goodbye to another dear old friend. Gogo goes back into the medical turnout, and life is good.

September 2010:

Gogo feels amazing, and gets back to a vaguely normal schedule. We take our first tiny crossrail! We also recab the entire year since the original injury (Sept 12th, 2009). Gogo goes on her first few trailer-out trail rides, and is a perfect angel. She is totally weaned off the Ace (FINALLY), and is great. I talk more about the barefoot journey. Gogo tells me, yet again, that she wants a baby of her own:

October 2010:

I almost go to the WEG, but don't at the last second (who has that kind of money?) Gogo jumps a few more tiny crossrails, but not much. Gogo goes for a walk on the beach, and has a blast. I talk about gayness. I also contemplate whether or not I should give Gogo a few light, easy months before returning back to real work, or if I should stick to solid things. I decide to take the middle road. Gogo gets out of her stall and demolishes the barn, and subsequently gives herself huge fat legs. We head back to the vet, and thankfully she is still sound as a dollar, so we skip the ultrasound. (Maybe a mistake now? We'll never know.) We take some more glam shots. Gogo rejoins a herd of mares in turnout, and is one happy cookie.

November 2010:

Gogo does amazingly well, and continues to go on hacks to the beach and up the road. She gives me some amazing dressage work. I announce that I am leaving my current job, and find another to take its place, this time in Southern Pines, NC. I am looking violently forward to getting Gogo back into some real event-type training when a mystery misstep suddenly leaves Gogo very lame again. Ultrasound confirms a reinjury of the area, and we decide that it's time to stop what we're doing and give her a few years out in a field. The news is devastating, but not all bad. She'll be all right, and she's not going anywhere. The blog has 254 followers, we've had stories published about us, been plugged all over the web, met some amazing people, made some fast friends, and have loved every minute of sharing all our ups and down with all of you, even more than we did last year.

Happy Anniversary, Eventing-A-Gogo! It doesn't matter that Gogo's current career is hayburner and pasture puff. She's not going anywhere, and neither is this blog. Here's to another year of more ups, more downs, more friends, more fun, and MORE GOGO!

"You see the world in black and white
No colour or light
You think you'll never get it right
But you're wrong. You might."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gogo's New Career


I guess I have to have a little humor about this whole ordeal.

Gogo has a new career.

What is it?

Yep. It's true.

Sunday afternoon's feeling-a-little-weird progressed later that evening into full out, dead hopping lame on the right hind when I went out to check her that evening. Even with 1000lbs of Banamine in her, she was way lame. Way, way lame. And I just knew. I knew.

Yesterday afternoon, I trailered her back up to Dr. C's, knowing that the news was going to be bad, but unsure of the severity. Sure enough, when we jogged her out, she was about 2.5/5 lame on the right hind. Ultrasound showed that she had reinjured the same area on her SDFT, and also had fiber disruption below it, lower than it ever was. Dr. C's advice? Turn her out for a year or two and see what happens then.


I guess that's that.

Honestly, if she can't stay sound even in medium work, then it's better for me to know now than to try and put her back into heavier training and have her breakdown then. If she puts one foot wrong while out for a light toodle and ends up hurt, then there's no way she can hold up to eventing, or jumping of any sort for that matter. Her injury isn't serious by any means, but the fact that it is recurring no matter what we do doesn't bode well for the future. I do think that she'll be a nice trail horse down the road, and maybe can do some dressage, but we're talking years away from now. For the foreseeable future, she's a lawnmower and a pasture puff.

But you know. It's all right. She's still alive, and healthy, and good. We could probably go at this aggressively once again, but to what end? I can't lock her in a stall for another year for no reason. I just can't do that to her. She means far too much to me, and it's no longer fair to her.

Who knows? It's probably my fault, I'm sure I did something wrong somewhere along the way. But I tried my hardest for her. I did everything I could, everything I knew how to do. I fretted over ever step she took, iced and coldhosed her after every hard work, wrapped and poulticed and babied her every moment of the day. I kept her only on good footing, wasn't working her hard, wasn't asking anything unreasonable of her, wasn't trying to push for anything. She had the best of everything - best footing, treadmill, my hawkeye on her all the time. And she still didn't stay sound. So that's that.

Only one person asked if I was going to get rid of her. Psh... of course she's not going anywhere. I'd rather have her as a fat, hairy, waddling pasture puff burning her way through a steady pile of hay than not have her at all. She's my family, and she's not going anywhere. Who knows? Like I said, maybe in a few years she can get back to some light work. I owe so much to her. She's the reason I moved to New England in the first place. She's the reason I got into natural hoof care. She's everything to me.

Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the Eventing-A-Gogo blog, which is a little bit sad. Clearly Gogo's not going anywhere, so she's still going to be the focus of my writing, even though there probably won't be many interesting adventures in the foreseeable future. Maybe as I get into hoofcare, I'll be writing about that more. And of course, there's the great possibility that I'll be adding another project horse to my little family somewhere down the line. We're all still heading to North Carolina, so who knows what might be in store for all of us down there?

Oh Gogo. No matter what, you're still the best, and I will always love you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby, You're a Firework

I've been totally silent all week since the announcement about leaving my job, and with good reason. I have news I wasn't ready to break until I had solid plans in place. The last thing I had written on Monday was, "I'm not unhappy, and I'm not nervous or upset. I'm just looking forward with rapt attention. It's foggy and gross out there this morning, but I'm not worried. Soon, the sunlight will break through." That very same day, I received a phone call from one of the clients, just as the rain outside literally stopped and a few rays of sunlight began to sparkle on the wet grass. (Literally, I'm not even kidding you. It was meant to be.) I have always tried my best to be good to the clients, and they in turn wanted to make sure I was taken care of after my time at this past barn. She has a friend who knows a BNT north of us who was looking for someone full time, housing/board/training/salary all included with the package deal. I of course jumped at this opportunity, went up on Thursday and Friday to interview, and really enjoyed myself. And wouldn't you know, here I am today with a new job and an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with an amazing rider. They are leaving for Southern Pines this weekend; I will be following them down after Thanksgiving and a little bit of a well-needed vacation for both myself and my pony.

Gogo's been awesome all week, so Beth and I decided today to head to the beach for one last low-ride ride:

She looks so amazing.


Today she did not feel amazing.

She felt a little funny.

And when I got off, I thought perhaps her RH looked a little funny.

Maybe it was the footing. Maybe I am imagining things. But of course now I am completely panicked. She did work pretty hard yesterday. Maybe I am making things up. Maybe she's just tired after her work. She's been totally, thrillingly, amazingly, better-than-ever sound since last June. Maybe one day when she doesn't feel as amazing is not the end of the world?

I dunno. I hate days like that! It was so gorgeous and fun at the beach. I had such a great time. Damnit Gogo! You heard the words 'Southern Pines' and this happens? Come on woman, really?

I guess we'll just have to see tomorrow morning what she looks like. Once back home and in the barn, the legs looked the same as always. Maybe the right windpuff was slightly squishier than normal, but again, I could be imagining things.

Maybe I just need a Xanax. Leaving a job and moving is stressful in a lot of ways. I think a big pizza and some beer might be the only remedy this evening... but I better go see the Mommy first. Although honestly... I'm not sure what else there is to do for her that I haven't already done.

I guess we'll just have to see.

(But I can't lie.... VERY excited for Southern Pines regardless!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Picture of the Day

Only seven months until Groton House ;) Is it too early to be dreaming about next summer?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

End of October Analysis (AKA WTF where did October go!?)

Yay Blogger is finally letting me actually POST something! It pooped out on me three days ago and I've been unable to get to the homepage for some reason. No matter, it's back up now!

Anyway. How on earth it is already November? I believe I said the same thing when it suddenly was October. And September. And August. This year is blasting by at warp speed!

I am thankful to report that Gogo's lumpy bump has vanished. The following morning, underneath the wraps, the swelling was down nearly 80%. I put her on the lunge to look her over, and she trotted off with her tail over her back, snorting and prancing. The maintenance guy brought farm truck by the arena, which didn't help the matter. She finally settled, and looked as sound as ever. I didn't bother with icing and wrapping after the second day, and by day three the leg looked totally normal with the exception a small warm spot near the cut. I was not at the barn on Sunday - we went up to help out at the New England Hunter Trials and cheer on Daun and the Big Brego! - so I never actually got to look in on her that day. Secretly, this was all right by me, seeing as it was Halloween, and traditionally every Halloween Gogo gets possessed by demons. (But to counter the freaky, check out some adorable Halloween Picture Spam from years past.) I figured it was probably best to avoid opening that can of worms this year... and maybe every upcoming year for the rest of eternity.

So Monday, it was back to work. We had a birthday party to attend that evening, so the only thing I had time for was a quickie bareback hackamore ride with the woman around the property before it got dark. We even managed to cruise up to the stopsign and back. Beyond that, all I could do was toss on her heavyweight blanket and tuck her in for the night. Yes, it really is that cold at night, with temps dropping into the 20's!
Tuesday morning was no warmer, and I showed up to the barn bright and early at 7:30am, just as the sun was rising over the frost-covered property. Bundled in my polarfleece britches, two shirts, a sweater, a puffy vest, a scarf, and a puffy jacket, I climbed aboard, and despite the fact that I looked slightly like the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, my toes and fingers went instantly numb. Thanks for the nice weather, New England! I was amazed to find that the frigid air did nothing to make my little monster fresh or wild, and she bopped along lazily on the buckle while we warmed up in the outdoor. The more we did, the more energy she managed to find, but it was a nice balance that resulted in freshly forward momentum that was easily kept in check. She was losing some of her responsiveness to my half-halts near the end, but a series of transitions helped remind her of our collective braking ability. She was so good! She really is a different horse this year. Trying to figure out all the new things about her is a total learning process, and the things I needed to do last year in order to get her mental cooperation are no longer applicable. She moves better, is stronger and more fluid, and happier to do her job now that she has a whole new level of comfort and strength. Whatever this long period of rest and subsequent structured work did for her body overall was so good. I'm still icing her after every hard ride, just out of habit, but at this point I don't feel the need to coddle her too much anymore. So long as she stays relatively well-behaved in turnout, then she's going to get booted OUT for as much time as I can give her, and be given the chance to just be a horse for once. I think it will do nothing but help her at this point.

Wednesday and today, Gogo had off. This wasn't exactly my intention, but circumstances involving very crabby people prevented me from doing much in the way of anything with the Mamacita. Despite that, Gogo DID get her yearly Halloween treat, albeit a bit belated this time around - a tiny pie pumpkin, stuffed full of apples and a smidgen of caramel. The first year I served this to her, she gobbled the whole thing. The second year, she ate all the insides and about half of the pumpkin. Last year, she ate all the insides and snuffled around the pumpkin itself. This year, she refused to eat any of it at all. I had to pick up pieces of scattered apple and shove them forcibly into her mouth after she had rolled the pumpkin all around, dumping all its contents onto the floor. She did end up eating most of them, but I think only because I started to offer them to the other horse in the crossties instead. She did NOT find that amusing. Fine, whatever Gogo. Next year I'll make you bob for apples instead. How will your dignity like THAT?

Despite being an Ice Queen, she's still the best.

The other thing that happened today was that Dr. R, our amazing dentist from Virginia, came for his six-month visit. He checked Gogo over even though she got done six months ago, and rounded off a few sharp areas. He also found some hardcore plaque buildup on her top incisors. This was a bit odd, as nothing in her diet had changed at all, and none of the other horses had any sign of it either. Dr. R said that it sometimes shows up with very hard water or feeds chock full of molasses, but she's getting neither. Hmm! He had to scrape it off with a nail file, it was so hard! She also had a bit of gingivitis to go with the plaque, so I will need to clean the area with Clorhexadine solution one a day for the next week in order to get it to quiet down. Remembering her obnoxious performance last time we did dental work on her, we didn't even bother trying to put the speculum on until we had sedated her heavily. Mares... gotta love them.

And now, onto our October goals, which were pretty much a big giant fail.

October Goals:
1) Go trail riding on the BEACH! (Safely, of course... no mad gallops, no deep sand riding... the rule is stay below the high-tide line anyway so I think we're good for footing!)

SUCCESS! Definitely one of the biggest ones of the month. We went to the beach THREE times, and each was more awesome than the last. I had wanted to find a day warm enough to actually go for a real swim, but alas, those days are long gone for the season. Maybe in March!

2) Possibly take a few dressage lessons? And maintain last month's weekly schedule
Well... lessons didn't happen. With the escaping incident, Gogo ended up having two whole weeks off when I didn't know what was going on. Once she got cleared by Dr. C to keep on trucking like we had been, we went back to the weekly schedule, but I wasn't violently strict about it.

3) Have Gogo adjusted chiropractically
Again... fail. I had hopes of trucking her in to Vicki's when Dr. A was over there, but it just never worked out. Hopefully this month if I can arrange it, although I have to say money is very tight. I know I'll manage somehow, like I always do... but you know.

4) Move into the next size paddock (step up from medical paddock)
This is THE biggest success of the month. She stepped up from the medical to the small paddock, then stepped up from the small to the medium sized paddock. When we started having issues with turnout juggling (it is heading into the winter season after all, and the grass paddocks are now closed), I bit the bullet and tossed her out with the ladies in the big field. Best. Decision. Ever. Her legs look amazing, her demeanor is highly improved, and her behavior is stellar. Also, by removing a horse from the solo turnout list, I managed to free up space in the smaller paddocks. Everybody wins!

5) Be a better record keeper!! (I was a slacker this month and my day-to-day written record keeping was not very good. I am normally great at this so I need to get my butt in gear!!)
This was a TOTAL fail. Near the end of the month, I scrambled to get my act together and reorganize, and did much better for the last week or so. But even now, I find that I've already missed three days of my records in this new month. Bad girl!!

November Goals:1) Make this the Month of Dressage! Lots of dressage work, focus on correct and confident work, start to add bits of collection back into the mix, practice tests, take lessons, etc!
2) Do records - EVERY day!
3) Have Gogo's teeth done
4) Hopefully have the chiropractor work on Gogo
5) Map out a rough game plan for the next two months - I hope to really get back into real, planned, structured work in January in hopes of eventually conditioning for eventing, but I want to keep it simple and easy (and fun!) until that point.

I still can't believe it's November already. In two weeks, the Eventing-A-Gogo blog will be TWO years old. We just reached our 250th follower TODAY! We should have a party!