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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year... and another gift!

Look, another gift! Gogo's Wall of Fame grows larger yet! :D

This portrait comes from Kat, fellow blogger and an old friend of mine. This one is already in the mail and I can't wait to see it in person!

Kat also did this portrait of Gogo a few years ago, back when she was still competing and sound... the original has been long since lost but the digital remains!

If anyone still has portraits of Gogo that haven't yet been sent, you should totally send them! Future Hubs and I are moving next month and I want to make fully sure that he is assaulted by memories of Gogo every time he opens his eyes and walks anywhere in the house. Oh wait, maybe that's me that wants that... details! ;)

Happy New Year to everyone.... 2011 has definite ups and downs, the lowest clearly being the loss of Gogo..... I am still hurting badly over the loss and not a day goes by that I don't miss her terribly. But with every passing moment, it gets a little easier to breathe. I still need time - a lot of time - but I am hopeful that 2012 will bring better things. I head up to see Sophie in ONE WEEK..... wish me luck!! And keep reading up on Bay Girl... she's coming along so magnificently!

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mare-y Christmas 2011!

Gogo and I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas!

And Metro and Quincy deserve a special Christmas spot here too:

I know I post something similar every year, but my oh my how time flies, and how we change.

Happy and safe holidays to everyone. Thank you all for all your support this past year, and may all your 2012 hopes, goals and dreams come true.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two months ago today.

Can't hardly believe it... but Gogo has been gone for two months as of today.
Christmas is going to be very strange without her.
I finally cleaned out my horse trailer from top to bottom... I had been completely avoiding it simply because I didn't even want to look at her stuff. I feel better now that I did it though.

I know I've posted this before, but I wanted to share it one more time. This is Gogo's dressage at Groton House H.T. in 2009.... we won this event on our dressage score of 31.5. Definitely one of the most memorable and best weekends of that entire year.

I might upload some more old videos of her in the near future, things I've not posted before.... I'll have to sort through my footage and see what I can find!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Collective Gift!

The gift that Denali's Mom organized is finally here!!

Many of you remember way back in November of last year when Denali was set to be euthanized, and I took collections for a present for Denali's Mom. A miracle happened - Denali got better - and she is still happy and healthy and around today. We took the donation money and had an awesome portrait of Denali commissioned, and needless to say she loved it. And now, when it is my turn to mourn and grieve, Denali's Mom led the charge (along with a few others!) and took collections from readers and fellow bloggers for a gift for me so I too could have something to remember my crazy mare by.

The gift arrived today in the mail...

Lynn Mazer crafted this absolutely stunning quilt, complete with my favorite pictures of Mami all over it (they had me pick them out before I even knew what the gift was!). My cats were all over it the second I put it on the bed for pictures... it even started a catfight between Mimi and Jasper because both wanted to sleep in the same spot!
The second half of the gift was an enormous check so that I could take tailhair that I saved from Gogo and make it into whatever I want from my favorite horsehair place, Pony Locks. I already have two of their necklaces, one from Quincy and one from Metro... and they are still holding up to MUCH use and abuse on my part years and years later! I'll have another necklace made for Gogo. I'm sure it will withstand many more years of excessive wear and tear on my part, and still look beautiful way down the road.

I cannot thank you all enough for this gift. The generosity everyone has shown is just mind-blowing, and I don't even know what to say except thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A million times, thank you. You don't have any idea how much this means to me. I love you all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Uncatchable Number 257

Hmmm, that's an interesting title, says everyone who is currently reading this post. Who, the collective masses ask, is The Uncatchable Number 257?

She's a mare with a number instead of a name. She is a surrogate mare from an embryo transfer program, pregnant with a deceased mare's foal. She is half-wild, uncatchable, and unhandled. She kicks when you pick up her feet, she can't be haltered (and instead must live in one with a catch rope), and she flinches away from human touch. She is also absolutely drop dead gorgeous and a lovely mover... which you often get a good glimpse of while she is running away from you in the opposite direction.

And she's my current project. She is under my care and handling as of this past Wednesday.


Number 257 is not owned by me, obviously. She is property of an embryo transfer program somewhere in the area (more details coming when I get them). We know absolutely nothing about her except that she is pregnant with the foal of a mare who died a few months ago due to some sort of freak abdominal bleed out. She arrived at our facility shortly before I did, and is here until the foal is weaned. (Maybe by then they will want to find a new home for her... she would make an amazing eventer!). She only came with the name Number 257.... we've been calling her "Bay Girl." I've been granted permission to give her a new name... thank god! I don't know how old she is, what breed she is, or what her history is (although I am guessing some sort of Araby-TBy-something). One thing is clear however.... someone was very, very mean to her. When all you are to the world is a uterus, no one cares enough to handle you with any sort of care.

She lives outside in a halter with a catch rope. We took her halter off one time while she was in a stall... it took me quite a long time to get it back on again. Anything from her cheeks forward is off limits for human hands in her mind. I managed to somehow get my hand over her nose (which resulted in a lot of head tossing), and after she had backed up twice around the stall with me at her nose, she finally stopped and I somehow got the halter on. I think if I hadn't been the one feeding her for three months prior to this event, I would have never been able to even lay a hand on her, even in a stall.

And yet, there is so much promise and potential in there. She does crosstie, and she does tie (or well, she hasn't set back yet...). She stands (mostly) for grooming. She is jumpy when you move too fast, but there is never that rolling white of panic in her eye. In fact, I have yet to see her truthfully get panicky... I have yet to see white in her eye at all save for when I somewhat unceremoniously tossed the crownpiece of her rope halter over her neck when I was trying to halter her in the stall (she had stretched to the height of a small giraffe at this point). I can't really blame her for that... and even then, with a soothing word from me she stopped moving and didn't flail or panic even though she was squished into the corner of a stall with no escape. Behind the jumpiness is a sensible mind... even standing completely alone in the very scary pool barn (with filters running and everything), she never bothered to look at a thing, cry out for anyone, or squiggle unnecessarily. She deserves so much more than the life that she has been dealt.

She is very pregnant at this point in time (and we have no idea when she is due), so she isn't going to be doing anything strenuous anytime in the near future. But I intend on at least making her easy to catch and easy to handle... and get some basic groundwork in too. After the foal is here and after it is weaned.... well, we'll see! She has a VERY long way to go before she would EVER be ready for actual work, so I will have plenty to keep myself busy!

I don't know how long she will be under my care, but I think she at least deserves her own blog, don't you think? I think I'm going to call her Portia. She is such a feminine, pretty mare... she deserves a sexy name!

Just a few bad pictures of the sweetheart....

Such a pretty girl. The picture of her butt is of her brand (and her namesake)... simply the number 257. And the picture of her nosey is one I snapped when she actually walked up to me!!

More about what little I've done with her and what my plans are with her later.... as for right now, here is some Sophie eye-candy! (Or not... these are pictures of her taken this past week. She is very saggy and out of shape due to the fact that she has literally not even been handled for a few months!)

It is uncanny how much she looks like Metro. I mean look!

Although she is a definite improvement on his conformation. Not that she is anywhere near perfect, obviously, but she is far better put together than he was, bless his sweet heart.

Suggestions for the new Portia (or other name!) blog are welcome!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks, 2011 Style

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for my family, who still puts up with me even after all these years. The older I get, the more I appreciate them and I can't wait to see them at Christmas.
I am thankful all my friends and contacts worldwide, who have been there for me throughout all these tough times and continue to send their unwavering support.
I am thankful for my menagerie of pets... the make me smile and laugh every day (and sometimes pull my hair out!).
I am thankful that I am still excited for the future, because it's only just beginning.
I am thankful for Texas, even though it's one of the most ridiculous and random decisions I've ever made, it led me right to Future Hubs... and that's exactly where I want to be.

And most of all...
I'm thankful for five beautiful, crazy, intense, amazing, eventful, and memorable years with my Gogo. She made me a far better horsewoman and rider, she made me laugh and cry, she molded who I am now as a young adult, she got me started on my career path of choice.... and so much more. Thanks for everything, Mami.

From Ti, Tonka, Twiggy, Jasper, Snidgey, Mimi, Saba, and myself, Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you all have plenty to be thankful for too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Gift!

I received yet ANOTHER Gogo portrait in the mail! This one was commissioned by Amy and done by her friend Danielle Larovere. It's a picture that was taken of Gogo standing with her back against the forsynthias at our old home in CT... I've always loved this picture because of her big cheesy SMILE! The artist said that was actually a bit of a challenge because it made it look almost cartoonish at first!

It will be framed shortly and be placed up on the Gogo Wall of Fame! I'll have to get pictures of the entire thing when it is complete, it's going to be LOADED full of pictures!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

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

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

As always, I am completely amazing to find that another year has already come and gone. We all know the story of the origins of the blog by now: it all started three 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. I've made countless contacts and friends through my writing, and the unwavering support you all have shown me in my time of sorrow has been so helpful and so meaningful to me. Thanks to everyone who has followed this journey... this chapter in my life is closing, but there will be many different adventures in the future, and those of us who took part in Gogo's life will never be able to forget her. Without further ado, here is a review of the past year, from where we left off last November until now:

November 2010:

Gogo has finished her tendon rehab completely and is back in full work. She also gets to go on hacks to the beach regularly! 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 the end of the world. She might come back, but she might not... only time will tell.

December 2010:

My job offer in Southern Pines falls through, and instead I take a job outside of Fort Worth, Texas. (Still not sure what I was thinking at the time, but so glad I did it anyway!) Between November and December I manage the incredibly complicated feat of moving the menagerie all the way down to the deep south. We spend our last few weeks in Connecticut taking snowy walks and trimming feets. Gogo goes into 10-hour turnout as per our rehab schedule, and she managed to not freak out or kill herself... well, at least not too badly. I discuss breeding or buying my next horse, and start much heated debate. And of course, we move!

January 2011:

Daily life for Gogo is pretty boring for the first half of the month.... out all day, in all night, rinse lather repeat the next day. She gives a message to all of her followers on how to get your human to spend more time with you, spends far too much time on her hind legs trying to kill her neighbors, and then finally moves to the 15 acres behind my house for 24/7 turnout. She doesn't approve at first, and tries to kill herself on the fence, which doesn't surprise anyone. I talk more about Metro, and end up with a new Dobe/Rott pup and not one but TWO new cats!

February 2011:

Texas has a deathsnow deathstorm, and I am without water and heat for an entire week. I try to bring home a free lease project, and it goes pretty horribly wrong, so he goes back home within short order. We lose a good horse to a freak accident. Gogo finally stops trying to kill herself and settles into her new daily routine just fine. Aside from that, I don't write much.

March 2011:

The weather begins to break in March, and I lament not being able to keep a pasture horse clean... coming from show barns, this is a very different lifestyle for both of us! Gogo starts to gain weight as the grass comes in, and meets her ultimate nemesis, the grazing muzzle. We change some maintenance issues, and cut grain from her diet completely. I reminisce on the good old show days of 2009. The blog has 300 official followers... I can't hardly believe it.

April 2011:

In the beginning of the month, I announce that I am finally, FINALLY pursing a career in natural hoofcare! I roach Gogo's mane and am delighted with how it turns out. Denali's Mom's gift finally gets finished, Gogo's soundness and strength out in the field continues to improve, and I almost die in a tornado. As the grass comes in, Gogo's weight gain gets out of hand, and her feet go through some unpleasant changes. I start to realize just how much diet has to do with hoofcare (everything).

May 2011:

I write about missing Quincy as I always do in May. Gogo has a minor brainfart meltdown about her shed and refuses to use it in a hailstorm. She then of course sets out to prove me wrong when I make the generalized statement that she'll never use it under any circumstances. Her lameness improves! She is still not sound, but she is getting better and better as the weeks and months go by. Her feet improve. She permanently destroys her grazing muzzle. And I sit on her bareback once or twice! Temperatures reach 100 degrees, and don't cool off again for the next five months.

June 2011:

Gogo turns 10 years old on June 2nd! (And Tonka turns 1, and Snidgey turns 3!) We go in to see Dr. H for our six-month ultrasound, and it doesn't go particularly well. There are a lot of adhesions and lots of scar tissue within the tendon sheath... something turnout unfortunately did to her. Dr. H tells me to sit on her w/t/c and I do... she feels very good to start. But not long thereafter she blows a suspected adhesion and I despair. I talk about the unfortunate and harsh realities of turning a horse with a soft tissue injury out. I leave my job (with much relief, as it turned out to be quite a lot different than it was supposed to be). I'm not feeling particularly great at the halfway point of the year, and hope that it improves from here on out.

July 2010:

Gogo moves barns (and I move too), and finds herself in with a herd of her own to control and boss around. She has some sort of odd discharge from one of her teats that doesn't improve with anything we do, hardcore antibiotics included (she will have this strange discharge for the short rest of her life). She is ridiculously sound all things considered (not SOUND, but better than she has been since her last reinjury). We talk legs, and we talk feet. Gogo and I celebrate five very eventful and wonderful years together at the end of the month.

August 2011:

At the beginning of the month, I try to sit on Gogo again in order to hopefully eliminate some of her enormity (walk only). The first day of this, she turns up with fill in the leg and serious lameness. We talk about fatness, feet, and the problems of turning out a horse with a soft tissue injury again. I start talking about the prospect of eventually getting another horse, and about regretting my decision to turn her out. I also face the reality of what might happen if she doesn't get better. We get some bad news from the vet and have a brand new and very bad injury. I start to consider the possibility of not having my mare around for much longer.

September 2011:

In the beginning of September, I get my hopes up about giving everything one last ditch effort. The blog reaches 500 posts, and we pass the two year mark from the original injury at the AECs in 2009. I sit down and make a Go or No Go plan for potential rehab, and we have some gorgeous photos taken of us together. Gogo gets her tubba, homeopathy, and some AquaTread time and we think that this might possibly be our magic bullet for restoring her to some level of soundness. But her left leg ends up with compensatory damage, and she becomes bilaterally lame at the end of the month. I can be hopeful all I want in my head, but when I look at her, I know there is no real hope.

October 2011:

Gogo goes back to the vet for a final checkup with Dr. H, and the news is bad. Her entire suspensory apparatus is failing, and her distal sesamoidean ligaments are fraying with alarming rapidity. We discuss the final decision that we must make, and I decide to let her have a few final weeks of happy retirement before letting her go. Her legs have other ideas, and her right hind fetlock begins to sink shortly after our vet appointment. Her entire demeanor also deteriorates, and she tells me she is hurting and ready to go. I have one final bareback ride and one final wonderful afternoon with her, and then I let her go on October 11th. She went peacefully and with nobility, like a true lady should.

November 2011:

On November 11th, Gogo has been gone for an entire month. Gifts come flooding in from friends and readers, and are still coming in as we speak. There will not be another year of Eventing-A-Gogo after this, but it will remain as a tribute to her and to all the memories we shared together.

Happy Anniversary, Eventing-A-Gogo, even though it's a bittersweet one. The blog has 411 official followers as of today and I can't hardly believe it. I miss her so much, and sometimes still can't believe she's really gone. Thank you to everyone who has shared in this journey... you don't know what it means to me.

"Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Gift

I received another awesome Gogo gift in the mail the other day! This is the second set of portraits that I have in my hands now, and there are more on the way. I'll keep posting them as they keep coming in! Gogo is going to have a legit wall of fame in my house! (Not that she doesn't already... practically every surface in the place has either ribbons she won or pictures of her on it!)

This is a set of tiny little watercolors commissioned by Snowhawk for me. The artist is a friend of hers, Cori Trout. The portrait is from when Josh Baker of AzulOx Photography came up to shoot some pictures of us recently (courtesy of JenJ!), and the jumping picture is of us at Groton House in 2009. I'll never forget that water complex as long as I live!

Crappy phone photo does not do them justice. They're so tiny and awesome! I'll have to figure out a good way to frame them. My other portrait from Niamh is getting framed as we speak.

And of course, how can we forget my own personal tribute to my mare? Very, very longterm readers will remember when I got my M on my chest for Metro, overtop my Q for Quincy. When Quincy died, I wanted to memorialize him with a tattoo over my heart, and I came up with the idea of using the first letter of his name and his color in the center of the letter as my tribute. (Yeah, I know my heart's not exactly anatomically right there, but it's symbolic, so there you are!) Of course, when Metro died he got the same memorial. And, true to form, Gogo gets one too.

The tattoo artist even touched up the colors in the M and the Q for me... you can tell how old the Q is by now. I had that one done at least six years ago... the M is two years old. I LOVE it. It's perfect. Simply perfect.
I'd also like to point out the very, very worn and loved horsehair necklace (with very tarnished silver band) that I am wearing. That is Quincy's tailhair. I have one of Metro's tailhair as well, and I wear either one or the other almost every day of my life. Keep this in mind... something else might be coming in the mail in the not too distant future as well! ;)

Tomorrow is a bit of a bittersweet day.... it's the three year anniversary of the Eventing-A-Gogo blog. I will of course do my year in review as I always have, but it makes me a little sad to think that this will be the final year of Eventing-A-Gogo. I guess I'll just have to continue the tradition on whenever it is that I end up with another horse and another blog. Eventing-A-Gogo will remain up as a permanent tribute to Gogo, of course, but it's still a little bit sad when you think about the fact that there will be no more future years to review.

Friday, November 11, 2011

One month ago today.

I lost Gogo a month ago today.
I'm not sure if it feels like it has been an eternity since then, or a moment.
I am still hurting very badly.
I am in the process of making plans to get up and see Metro's daughter, but that won't happen until January. Until then, my horse shopping has basically come to a complete standstill. When Metro died, I dove headfirst into searching for a new horse, and found healing in that way. This time around, I'm just not ready. Gogo was everything I wanted in a four-legged soulmate, competition and companion qualities alike. Everything about her was perfect for me, all wrapped up with her own little spicy flair added to the mix for extra laughs, extra tears, and extra clear memories of her. I will not be able to replace her. This is part of the difficulty in moving on from her. She is, and always will be, completely irreplaceable. There will never be another one like her.
I've heard from more than one of you that you miss hearing about her. I can certainly understand it.... I sure miss writing about her.

The world is not the same without her in it. She has left her magnificence and grandeur behind her, however, and the endless stories and memories of her live on in her wake. She touched a lot of lives and changed a lot of people... if she knew, she might just flick her tail in haughty indifference, as if to say, "All in a day's work."

The horse world is currently collectively mourning the great Olympic stallion Hickstead, who died after experiencing aortic rupture in Verona this week immediately following one of his rounds at the World Cup. His rider Eric Lamaze, who was mounted when the horse collapsed, had this very moving sentiment to say on the ordeal:

"What these horses do for us is incredible. They become part of our family. They really change our lives. It is a sport we choose because we love it and it is sport we choose because we also love the animal. It is not like breaking a hockey stick or breaking a tennis racket. We become very close to these animals and we have great respect for what they do for us. We are in the limelight with them. A horse like Hickstead changed my career. For me, it meant everything."

My Gogo was not an Olympian. She was not anywhere near the realm of an athlete like Hickstead. But for me, the sentiment is exactly the same. She molded and changed me, and her death was that of losing an irreplaceable family member. She was, and always will be, everything.

I posted this video a few months ago, but I wanted to share it again because these are some of my favorite memories of my little seahorse...

I miss you, Mama mare. I miss you every day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Gift.

In the weeks following Gogo's death, I've received a flood of wonderful gifts from people all over the world. I've posted several pictures of portraits people have done of Gogo, and on Friday I got a package on my doorstep... the first of them to physically arrive in my hands.

Niamh over at Hoofbeats for Heartbeats is the mastermind behind this idea. She spilled the beans on the project when she wrote about it in a tutorial (seriously, I dunno how the girl has so much patience, even as a detail-oriented and artistically-inclined person I'm not sure I could EVER have so much patience!), so I knew what it looked like, but I was not prepared for how amazing it is in person! Also note the AMAZING handmade card!

Simply stunning. Stunning! I will be having it framed and put up on my wall alongside all her ribbons, right where it belongs. Can't wait to see all the rest of the portraits when they arrive too!

Thank you Niamh!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pieces of Heart Horses.

This story begins with a younger me, my beloved gelding Metro, and a laptop in a college dorm room. I was a freshman, completely enamored with my beast-gelding, and was spending a moment of my free time surfing the vast interwebz for old information about my horse instead of doing something important (homework? Why do that?). Quite by accident, I stumbled upon a sale ad for a bay mare named Chloe in Alberta, Canada. Her sire was listed as Blue Rodeo, Metro's Canadian-registered name. Immediately I perked up. He was her sire? I knew he had been kept a stallion until he was six, and that he had bred a few mares, but didn't know of any actual offspring around anywhere. Sure enough, the fantastic little mare was up for grabs at a fairly hefty price. Video clips of her showed some dressage and galloping cross country. Pictures told of a beautiful, well put together mare. Her description sounded like she was exactly like my Metro, even walking boldly up to a running chainsaw and attempting to put her nose on it (yikes!). I oogled over the ad for weeks, wishing I could somehow find a way to afford a second horse. One day, a big graphic proclaiming "SOLD!" appeared on the front of her ad. Disappointed but not discouraged, I e-mailed the owners and asked if I could be put in touch with her new owner so I could speak with her. After some complicated finagling, and some months down the road, I managed to reach her. We sent countless e-mailed to each other, chronicling our collective related journeys and our precious horses. I was enamored with the little mare.

A year or so down the road, I got back in touch with the mare's owner. We discussed setting up a custom breeding for me for a Windfall baby out of her, now redubbed from Chloe to Sophie. My Metro had died by this time, and I wanted to keep a piece of him alive with me always. This never ended up coming to fruition, as I ended up buying Gogo instead. I told the owner that if she ever needed to find a home for Sophie, she could always contact me and I'd take her in a heartbeat.

We kept in touch over the following few years, just little drop ins to ask how everything was going and how our little mares were doing. Sophie was bred and produced a precious little filly by a Swedish stud, born right in the middle of a horrible storm with no muss or fuss. Life went on as it always had.

A year and a half ago, I couldn't get ahold of the owner. Her e-mail had been changed, and I had to do some serious Googling to find her. It took some time, but I managed to get ahold of her again to see how Sophie was doing. Much to my surprise, she was for sale. The owner was pregnant and no longer had time for her. Would I like to buy her for $10,000? Well, I couldn't exactly afford that random expense, much less keep two horses at the level which I was accustomed (spoiling rotten and sparing no expense), so I unfortunately had to turn her down. I was heartbroken. I wanted that mare so badly it made me ache.

She offered her to me again some months down the road. Again, I couldn't afford to keep two horses, so I declined. I forgot about it in the haze of rehabbing Gogo. We lost touch again.

This morning, completely out of the blue, I received another e-mail from the owner. I hadn't spoken to her in nearly a year. Would I still be interested in Sophie, she asked? Price dropped to $2500.

Good lord. Could that timing be better? One door closes, another opens.

This isn't the perfect deal. She's 15. She had an old stifle injury years ago that I know nothing about. I have no idea what she's been up to, if anything. I have to hear back from the owner concerning all of these things. But honestly, with this horse I wouldn't even care if she was just another expensive hayburner looking pretty out in a field. Let's hope she's not, let's hope she's perfectly rideable and wonderful, but either way it wouldn't matter to me. I've been actively pursuing this horse for almost 7 years. She could have three legs in the grave for all I care.

It's interesting about how much resistance I've gotten about this. Everyone says not to even bother thinking about pursuing it. Everyone is absolutely sure that they know what I want. Even my own mother told me I wanted a different kind of horse than this. I think that is all very interesting, seeing as aside from owning a piece of my heart horse, I don't even know what I want. To be fair, externally I imagine it looks like I want another uber-talented youngster who can replace Gogo as a Prelim prospect. In reality, the more that I think about it, the more that I feel ill about the prospect of essentially breaking and killing another horse. Do I want a horse with huge expectations and then be horribly let down when I fail to take them anywhere except to Lameness Town, or do I want something sweet and fun that will pleasantly surprise me if they turn out to be a good riding horse? Do I actually want to look at all of the following: a big, fancy warmblood that will win everything but totally fall apart a few years down the road? A little project mutt that will be fun but might not amount of anything at all? An off the track broken down maniac that might either kill me or itself in the process of turning it around? When you put it all that way, it's hard not to get discouraged about this whole process, and I'm pretty soured off the whole sporthorse ordeal at the moment.

This is not a good picture of her - Blogger for whatever reason won't let me upload the good ones - but you can get a vague idea of what she sort of looks like:

She's a lovely lovely girl.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Old 'Remember When'

Just some old videos of Gogo and I schooling XC in the POURING rain two and a half years ago in CT. Man that was a long time ago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One More Possibility (EDIT: Now with video!)

.... then I'm getting off my computer for the day, I swear!

This Mustang mare has eventer written alllllllllllllllllll over her....

.... and she's an hour away! And cheap!

Done now, promise ;)

EDIT: Got a video of her! DANG that trot! Canter is lateral and one of my biggest things is a nice correct uphill canter... so we'll see. It does become more correct when she slows down so there is promise. This video is of her first time with an English saddle on, and she is only 4 months out of the wild!