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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goodbye Ernie

I am sad to report that I just got an e-mail from Abbie over at The Chronicles of Ernest, whose main character Ernie was featured in our Sunday Success Stories some time ago. Ernie was let go a few days ago after old age finally caught up with him, and Abbie is heartbroken. Life, even if it is long and fruitful, is still fragile at the end of it all.

Go hug your horses today. And go tell Abbie we're all thinking about her. Life is precious and don't forget that for one moment.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ms. Brightside

Those of you who have been following me for a long period of time have seen me go through a couple of jobs along this very strange and wonderfully odd journey my life is taking me on. Most recently, I ended up far, far (far, far, far, far, far) from my last homebase in Connecticut when I took a job in Texas. It wasn't ideal, and it wasn't really what I wanted to do, but I needed something. It seemed like it would be fun to do for a little while.

It wasn't. But that's life.

In a very bizarre turn of events, seven months into this new Texas life I decided to take a few days off for a clinic and mini-vacation. During this time, I received a very unpleasant shock when I received one lone text stating that all of the horses on the property were leaving the Tuesday after I returned. Permanently. I'm not clear on why, but it doesn't matter. Very effectively, this has completely eradicated my job. I have the task now of finding a new job, a new house, and a new barn... quickly. Again.

But I'm not doing this again. I'm not throwing myself to the mercy of someone who offers housing, board, and a salary in one big trapped-like-a-rat burrito ever again. I'm not grooming, riding, managing, or catering to the elite any longer. I'm not going to ever be in a situation where I find myself panicked, jobless and homeless whenever a job falls through, for whatever reason. It's a miserable way to live.

Honestly though, despite everything, I'm glad this all worked out the way that it did. Because I took the job in Texas, I found Future Hubs, and that in and of itself is worth all of this drama and heartbreak. If I hadn't moved here, I wouldn't have ever met him. And because this job has been so sub-par, I had the incentive and drive to actually start school, and get going on my career of choice. I was happy with my last two jobs, so I didn't bother to do more than look into it. This time, I took the initiative and went for it, and I'm glad I did. I'm not ready at this point to take on clients, but I will be soon. If I can get through this interim, everything will come together. If I can make it through whatever kind of housing situation I end up with for the next six or so months, I'll be able to get a place with Future Hubs (that's when his commitment at his current house ends). If I can get some sort of something-or-other job to just pay the bills for however long, I can take it part time when I accumulate more clients, and I can eventually go full time with trimming when I am ready.

So yea, it sucks a bit at the present moment. There is going to be a period of time when I am probably going to be a bit hungry and a bit miserable. But really, how is that going to be ANY different from the past three years?
There is a better life coming, and I'm making it happen myself. It's the journey that counts just as much as the end result.

Go hug your grooms and barn managers today though. They bust their asses for you and they struggle very hard breaking their bodies down for minimum wage. Thank them and tell them they're doing a good job every chance you get. If they do a good job, they deserve to hear it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Itchmeister Flex

Nothing much to report on the Gogo front. The leg is much, much improved, and looks to be about where it was before the supposed adhesion rupture. I haven't even bothered to put her back on the lunge. I kind of don't want to know.

I'm currently out of town at a clinic, but I will leave you with some pictures of Itch-Woman getting some scratchy love from before I left:

Ohhhhhhh that's the SPOT!

More unfortunate life-altering changes coming soon..... I'll keep you updated, it's a blessing in disguise but it's bad news. I am a very happy and bright person but even I am starting to think I am life-jinxed. Can a girl and her horse catch a break?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harsh Realities

I think it's time I really sat down and took a serious look at the entirety of Gogo's eternally long and depressing rehab. Over a year and a half has gone into endless fruitless attempts to bring her back, and we are just a few months out from the two year mark (Sept. '09).

The original injury to both hinds occurred during a slip on XC at the 2009 AEC, with tenosynovitis in both hinds and a small distal core lesion on the LH SDFT. Rehab went smoothly and traditionally (stall rest, wraps, coldhosing/tubbing/icing, handwalking, treadmill, medical turnout pen, back under saddle at 2 months at the walk, trot under saddle month 3.5, canter month 5), and then she blew an adhesion between the sheath and the SDFT on the RH in early March '10, taking a good piece of tendon with it. This new injury went through an even stricter rehab (stall rest, wraps, coldhosing/tubbing/icing, NO turnout, treadmill only, back under saddle at 2 months at the walk, trot again at 4 months, canter again at 6 months and hacking outside of the arena, turnout again at 7.5 months, small crossrails at 7.5 months), and everything was going beautifully until one small misstep one day during a hack out in mid-November '10. She reinjured the RH in the exact same spot as before, only now there was annular ligament involvement. The vet advised turning her out for a year and seeing what we had at the end of it. Six months into 24/7 turnout, she was seen by the vet here in TX (June '10), and multiple adhesions were found in the RH tendon sheath, along with disorganization of the scar tissue in the SDFT (both hinds had some extend of this but she was sound on the LH, slightly lame on the RH). The tendon sheath on the RH was injected with Kenalog, and the vet advised sitting on her again at the w/t/c for 15 or so minutes a few times a week. About 5 or so rides into this, she came up pretty lame RH, with fairly significant swelling in the area of the tendon sheath. This improved slightly in the days following. Following the Kenalog injection, the leg had been looking really quite magnificent. Now it looks about like it did when she reinjured in November.

There is no way to know if she just blew an adhesion or if she has reinjured the tendon without another ultrasound. I haven't even called the vet yet to let him know though. I'll leave him a message I suppose, and see what he thinks, but at this point is there any point? I'm still going to just keep her turned out, and I don't know what the point of trying any more aggressive therapies might be. What am I trying to do here? What kind of horse am I trying to bring back if she just cannot stay sound? Adhesions have to go, it's true... and it might not be that bad. But it might be, and the fact that she now has a chronic injury with permanent remodeling to the SDFT and annular ligament leaves me with a horse that will have questionable soundness in the future. There is pretty much no way she'll ever jump again, much less event... and even if there was a chance, I couldn't bring myself to risk it. Will she ever do dressage again? I had thought so, until a few days ago. Now I'm not so sure. Will she even be able to be trail ridden? Will she do anything at all?

I'm not trying to be pessimistic or mopey in any way. I'm trying to be realistic. I have to be. I have to evaluate this with a level head or else I might not make the best decision for her... I might be making a decision for me. And I just can't do that. I know too many animals out there who are hobbling painfully around, medicated and kept alive for their owner's own selfish needs and ways when they really need to either be retired or let go. I owe it to her to put her needs first, always.

This is unfortunately the depressing and harsh reality of turning a horse with a soft tissue injury out. Without keeping an injury such as hers confined with controlled exercise, you risk the horse doing additional damage to the original injury, or laying down a tangled mess of scar tissue instead of a decently aligned pattern. There are of course exceptions... some horses heal in turnout perfectly, and some horses on stall rest totally fall apart. I guess you just never know. Do I regret turning her out? Well... no, I guess not. I didn't really have an option at that point though. Obviously the stall rest/controlled exercise thing just wasn't doing the trick. She was healing amazingly, then reinjuring... what was the point of it?

On turnout, she is not really doing a good job of healing. She's just sort of toodling around, doing her thing. She's not doing poorly, but she's not sound. The leg stays down until she stops moving, then it fills pretty dramatically. That's indicative of acute damage.

At this point, I don't really know what to think, or what to do. What is there to think or do? Maybe another year and a half of turnout is just what she needs. Maybe then we'll see what we have. Right now, we don't have much of anything.

But she's happy and she's comfortable walking around, so at least there is that.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Very Brief Update

Well, we can't be sure of what's going on, but it appears as though Gogo has possibly blown an adhesion, or might have reinjured herself, probably at some point two days ago. I sat on her in the late afternoon, and she didn't really feel so great. It seemed to get progressively worse pretty quickly, and when I dismounted and checked the leg, there was pronounced swelling in the tendon sheath. That's probably indicative of an adhesion tearing, which in and of itself isn't bad, but if you remember the last time she tore an adhesion, this can also take pieces of good tendon with it.
Yesterday, there was still a fair bit of swelling in the leg; I snapped a few pictures which I will upload later. Today, the leg looks quite close to normal again. I was going to put her on the lunge to get a better look at her, but it was 106 degrees and I was feeling pretty depressed about the whole mess. (It's still 90 degrees at almost midnight right now.... yikes.) Maybe tomorrow if I get ambitious I'll see what I can see.
At this point, I really need to be realistic. Yes, blowing an adhesion isn't really all that bad, but if it's more than that I don't really know what I'm going to do. What are we really trying to do here?

I'll write more about it later. I need a nightcap.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We don't need no stinking saddles!

Hay is being cut today in Gogo's pasture.... so what did we do for fun? Went for a little bareback jaunt in the roundpen, of course!

She feels really quite good. She's still a little wonky but it's not bad. The leg looks SO much better after the injection - and the left looks better too, probably from not needing to compensate so much.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Six Month Ultrasound

Well.... that wasn't quite as great as I had hoped it would be.

Today Gogo went in for her 6 month ultrasound (6 months from when we first turned her out 24/7). I cleaned her all up this morning, bath included... she of course rolled right before loading on the trailer. Typical.

By the way, want to know how to make me dance? Give me a bucket full of angry wasps. I will practically do backflips to get away from them. (There was a nest being built in the bucket I keep overturned on top of my hitch... I picked it up and was suddenly faced with an army of angry wasps. This is not the first time they've built a nest in my trailer... and certainly not the first time they've created a veritable hell for me otherwise.) I only wish I had been able to video my crazed antics as I attempted to breakdance around my trailer avoiding divebombing wasps while hooking up.

((Gogo waiting to be unloaded.))

Dr. H palpated and flexed both hinds, watching her trot on a straight line in the driveway. He also observed her turning - and commented on how she seemed more reluctant to pivot on the right hind than the left. I personally have noticed that she is less comfortable standing for her left hind to be trimmed, like it's not comfortable to stand for any length of time on the right. She was a little lamer today than she has been, although the last few times I've seen her trot it was on soft ground. On hard ground, it's a bit of a different story. She's not THAT lame, but she's not sound.

In the roundpen she was about the same:

Lamer than on soft ground for sure.

I'm not sure how we did it without Crisco and a crowbar, but we somehow managed to wedge her gigantic fat fanny into the stocks:

((Fat mare in a little stocks...))

Ultrasound showed what Dr. H suspected about her gigantic windpuffs: multiple stringy adhesions freeloading (some attached) in the tendon sheath of her right SDFT. It sort of looked like a pot of spaghetti. There was also some disorganization of the actual tendon, moreso than the last time we ultrasounded. Before, there was a definite little black hole of a focal lesion in one spot. Now, it's just sort of an offcolored area of mess. The left hind showed some very small degeneration in the area of the original injury as well, and a possible adhesion in the sheath, but given the fact that she is sound on the left we are just taking it as old healed tissue. The right hind is the real problem.

That was the risk we took in putting her in turnout... that's just sometimes how these things heal when they're not controlled.

The other problem is her annular ligament at the back of her fetlock. It appears to be doubled in size compared to how it should be, and it is possibly putting pressure on the SDFT, not allowing it to fully heal. (If it ever fully heals). We're not going to do anything about it right at the moment, but if there isn't improvement at her next ultrasound, we may need to cut it. I really, really don't want to do that... but we might not have a choice. It might really help.

Again, she's really not THAT lame. She's just a little off. Amazing how just 'a little off' can have such dramatic things behind it. You just never know.

Dr. H injected the tendon sheath with Kenalog, and got out what fluid he could through the needle pre-injection. He said he expects the excess fluid in leg to decrease over the next few days, at which time he wants me to sit on her again. Walk, trot, canter for about 15 minutes at a time, a couple times a week.... I can sure do that. It's not going to be hurting her at this point... this is a chronic injury now, and there are permanent changes in her SDFT. Which I expected... but still didn't really want to hear.

Will she do dressage? Probably. Will she jump again? Maybe not. Will she event again? Probably not. It's pretty unlikely. But it was a long shot in the first place.

I guess that's just how it goes. I will certainly enjoy getting on her bareback and loping around the field a few times a week for the next couple of months. We'll see what we have in 60-90 days.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Plethora of Birthdays!

Happy 10th birthday to Gogo!!
Happy 3rd birthday to Snidgey!!
Happy 1st birthday to Tonka!!

Today was one giant birthday party for half of my herd of animals. I can't believe Gogo was barely five when I bought her.... can't believe Snidgey could fit into the palm of my hand when I first brought her home.... can't believe Tonka has put on almost 40lbs in five months since this past January.

Who knew that this tiny little thing.....

Would turn into this GIANT HAIRBALL?

Tonka looks much the same now as when I first got her back in January:

Except she's put on nearly 40lbs. How she spends most of her days:

She is the best. I am so lucky to have her.

And of course, Momma Mare got plenty of snacks (and drooled them all over me):

Tomorrow Gogo goes back to the vet for her six month ultrasound.... nervous but excited for sure. Wish us luck!