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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Magic Bullet...... Maybe?

This story comes with a prelude. Let me take you back to the days of Gogo's youth (not that she's old, but you know... when she was younger!), back to the first few trial rides I had on her when I was considering purchasing her. When I first found Gogo, she had just been started and was not great with things like steering and stopping. She was not exactly a pleasure to ride at the time. At the end of her second ride, her owner suggested I take her for a hack outside the arena to cool her down. I said sure, why not? What I didn't know was that she hadn't really been out of an arena before... and hadn't ever been by herself... and did I mention she had no idea who I was and couldn't really stop or steer? And that the area outside of the arena was a cornfield full of tall July corn and there was a stiff wind and four-wheelers screaming through paths in the cornfield? Maybe I shoulda thought that one through before I attempted it.... but Gogo was brilliant. Rattling corn, being alone, roaring four-wheelers, stranger on her back.... and she just sighed and walked along on the buckle, marching along in her confident way that I have always admired. That little hack sold her for me. I knew she was a real gem when we trailered her over to the vet's office for her prepurchase, and walked her underneath a giant rolling garage door and into a very vet-smelling lab area, complete with whirring machines and bizarre footing, and she never even batted an eye. She just looked around with a calm curiosity, as if this were a most interesting everyday occurrence. Despite her mare moments, she has ALWAYS had this amazing confidence and intelligence, and it has never ceased to impress or amaze me. She is absolutely one of a kind.

That prelude out of the way, I can now continue on with the real purpose of this entry! You'll see how it interconnects in a minute.

As per some reader suggestions, I switched up my homeopathy and decided to take a slightly different approach. On Monday, I started her on Arnica and Ruta together, and cut out the Rhus tox and the Calc fluor for now. I also had an Arnica topical rub (that has Ruta in it, interestingly enough) that I had picked up, and after her tubba I rubbed both hinds with it. She still has some residual fill on the inside of the left hind, but it has greatly diminished and is still just a superficial bonk as far as we can tell. (Thank sweet baby Jesus in Heaven for that.) On Tuesday, I woke up super early - much to Future Hubs' dismay, I think - and made it to the barn before work so I could load Gogo up and take her over to work. That's right, somebody got to go swimming yesterday!!

The AquaTread is the epitome of Really Sweet Rehab Equipment. I've blogged about our old treadmill before, and I will have to do a full post on the AquaTread as well. Our AquaTread is housed inside a barn built specifically for and around the treadmill, complete with four wall stalls facing the treadmill. Horses that are new to the AT usually come in the barn bug-eyed and snorting - the entire barn is full of LOUD gurgles, whirrings, and hummings from the jets and filters (of which there are many). Getting them into the chute and down the corridor into the water can sometimes be a bit hairy the first few times. We are always slow - if they have a bad experience, they will assuredly NOT get in next time - but we do use a butt rope or a waving whip if we have to. Horses get onto the ramp and snort, tremble, paw, poop, and generally fuss until they get into the water, either by sliding, leaping, or tip-toeing in (the last being the ONLY kind we want to encourage!). Once they figure out that they don't have to swim AND that they have to walk on the moving underwater treadmill at the bottom of the ramp, they figure things out. They are in water that is about chest-deep and they can either do a slow walk, a power walk, a slow jog, a normal trot, or a fast/extended trot depending on their size and gait. After a time or two, they figure it out, and all our horses that regularly swim all walk in, work out, and walk out off of the exit ramp without problem. It ALWAYS takes a bit of time to get a new horse in. ALWAYS. Let me repeat that one more time: ALWAYS.

When Gogo arrived on the farm, I put her up in a pen so she could hang out, and tossed her a bit of the hay I had brought for her. My boss came out shortly after I had fed everyone, and we took a peek at her. I told her about Gogo's extremely extreme lameness on the right hind, and then jogged Gogo out for her to see, first on a straight line and then on circles. When I was done, I brought her back over to my boss to see what she had to say about it.

"Well, I hate to say this," she said, shaking her head, "but... your mare's not really lame."

..................... wait. What?

I of course didn't believe her - no way, she's dead hopping lame, are you sure? She offered to jog her out for me so I could see for myself, and sure the heck enough, she was a WORLD better. I could still see it on the right hind just because I know this mare so well and know what she looks like fully sound, but I've not seen her looking that good in a very long time. She was a different horse.

I stared at her in disbelief. What had changed? And then it hit me - I had given her Arnica with her Ruta for the first time the day before. D'OH. Something actually worked. This is NOT to say it CURED something - but it took away quite a lot of her pain. The only other possibility (aside from some sort of majikal miracle) was that I had given her a 500lb dose of Banamine 15 hours before the jog out... but a low dose Banamine can hardly be attributed to a pain reduction of this significance when it was given that many hours before, especially when she was also getting doses of Banamine last week, and they did nothing to relieve her of her pain in the way that the Arnica seems to have. To say that I am shocked in the best kind of way is a gross underestimate. The other interesting thing about the Arnica topical rub? I have an AMAZINGLY HUGE disgusting black/blue/green/red multicolored bruise and a massive hematoma on my upper arm from where I got smooshed into a metal panel by a hungry horse at feed time last week, and the colors were just beginning to intensify. I was waiting until it got to the brightest array of colors before I took a picture of it to show everyone... it was one of those kinds of bruises that you want to remember forever. After applying the rub to Gogo's legs, I half-heatedly wiped the hand that I used to apply the rub with over my bruise. The next day, there was a dramatic reduction of the bruise, both in swelling and in color (and in pain). Aw man... I really wanted a picture of it and now it is almost gone!

When it came time for Gogo's AT experience, we loaded her up in the barn with two other experienced horses so that she could watch them get into the AT and work out. This works wonders for new horses - they see how other horses get in, how they work out, and how they get out, and they are able to see that the horses come out intact and in one piece and were not consumed by Nessie/alligators/piranhas/whatever else might be in a scary gurling body of water. Gogo walked into the pool barn without so much as even bothering to give the AT a glance, which I've never seen a new horse not do before. She watched the first horse go in with a look of semi-confusion and interest on her face, leaning forward on the crossties with a soft eye but an arched neck and pricked ears. The second horse to go in didn't even elicit a passing glance from her. When it was her time to go in, my boss came over to help in case we needed two people to get her in, but I wasn't worried.

Sure enough, Gogo walked up to the bubbling, gurgling water (which was dim enough so she couldn't see the bottom or what she was getting herself into), went "oh well that's interesting," and literally just walked herself right in. She carefully tip-toed down the ramp, playing with the water on the way in, and when she reached the treadmill, she walked on it like she had been doing it all her life. She didn't even take an uncertain step. "Wow," was all my boss could say for a moment. Apparently, in all her years of rehab work and owning a rehab facility where countless hundreds of horses have passed through, she has only seen 4 other horses walk in like that their first time. But I wasn't surprised. She is the same brilliant little mare that she was when she was 5. I knew she'd go in easy.

I will have to get more and better pictures next time, as well as video. Go mare!

We stuck to a regular walk workout for 15 minutes. From above, we could see how out of alignment her spine is - she could really stand for a chiropractic adjustment. I haven't had one done on her since I moved to Texas. When we were in Connecticut, Gogo was getting adjusted every three months, and I was getting adjusted every 3 days! I had stopped her chiro because the amazing Dr. A told me not to bother for the time being - just standing around crookedly would throw her right back out of alignment anyway, so I haven't bothered to pursue it until now. I think we are both suffering a bit from lack of chiropractor disease right now though. Or at least I know I am... my back and right hip are falling apart! I'm actually having another really bad flare-up of whatever was bothering me last year, but this time it is in my left hip (the one with the original kick injury 6 years ago), and it feels like there is some sort of ligament involvement - whenever I walk, there is a painful moment when the limb is being brought forward where it feels like there is a stabilizing ligament in the front of my hip socket that is on fire. I have no idea what it is, bur I've been limping around for three days now... dangit.

The best part? When Gogo got out of the pool, her legs were icy cold and TIGHT. Super tight! I've not seen them look that good since last year! Even her windpuffs were gone. ALL the swelling was completely gone. EVERYTHING. It did come back, of course, she certainly wasn't magically cured - but it was obviously incredibly helpful for the time that she was in there.

Maybe we found the magic bullet. Between weight loss, the homeopathy, and the AquaTread (within reason... I get an employee discount of course but it still gets expensive quick!), I might be able to bring her back to reasonable comfort. I am also considering some supplements. I've had her on SmartTendon before but had taken her off, so I might do that again or either look into an herbal supplement - anyone have suggestions?

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leg Transplant

That's what I've decided that I want for Christmas. I want bilateral leg transplants for Gogo's hind end.

Seriously though, I showed up at the barn yesterday after leaving Gogo's wraps off the night before, and what did I find? This:

The Ugly Stepsisters

Mare, COME ON. WHY. What's up with the mystery swelling on the left hind? Does that HAVE to be there? Can't we, you know, banish it to Siberia or something? Or somewhere else equally as unpleasant so it can't ever come back and haunt your hind legs ever again?

She still doesn't appear to be lame on it, but again, it's hard to say for sure what is going on. She is SO absolutely dead hobbling lame on the right hind that there is no way to tell what is going on with the left - if there is pain there, it is obviously less than what is on the right and she is using it as she must in order to stay mobile. She did take some terrible steps on it while turning on a tight circle, but only once. It was enough to be completely alarming. Hopefully it's just a whack on the leg or a bandage bow and not something serious and structural. At this point, who knows.

Apparently, however, she's been a complete nuisance and a hellion in her new little tiny turnout. There is enough length to the corridor for her to engage in her new favorite game: run to one end, spin and run back to the other end. The run and spin game is amusing to everyone but me. Those who witness her little gallop fits think that she must not be feeling too bad if she has the gall to be galloping around. As for me, I think that whether or not she thinks she can run around right now, her legs are going to explode if she continues to do so.
She has also decided that her double-new favorite game is to climb into the giant water trough with both front feet and splash all the water out. She absolutely LOVED to do this as a baby - I never got photographic evidence of it aside from the moment right before she climbed in once - but this one is a metal trough and her only source of water in this pen so it was unappreciated all around. They removed the tub and she now has 3 buckets instead of a trough. I take this to mean that she must be either a) really bored or b) feeling good and playful enough to have a little fun in there. She actually has honestly visibly lost a few pounds - the giant lumps of fat over her tailhead are melting back into her butt! Baby steps.... baby steps..... baby steps.

She looks a smidgeon less fat.... what do you think? She's still about 150-200lbs overweight.... we have a long way to go!

Now if only the LH would stop looking so ugly and just go away! She is the queen of mystery non-lameness-inducing swellings after all, as those of you who have followed for a long time might remember. She does it all the time - random hot lumps and bumps on her legs that just go away after a few days and never make her lame. Here's hoping that this is just another one of those. Either way, it was big enough to warrant me digging around in my trailer and breaking out the good ol TUBBA again!


Here's hoping it vanishes magically in the next few days. Next week, I'll try some revised homeopathy and continued coldhosing/icing. I wish she'd stop moving around so much though. I mean, it's great in one sense because she will actually lose weight (a critical key in this last-ditch attempt to get her comfortable), but on the other hand, she's going to hurt herself if she runs around like an idiot. Aside from stalling her, however, there's just not anything else I can do. There is no smaller turnout to put her in, unless we move. And I'll be hard pressed to find one smaller than this one either way.

In other news, if you're going to Greenwood drop me a line! I'll be there braiding and hopefully spectating inbetween if I have time! Also if you need braiding, I do a mean set of buttons, and I'll cut you a deal ;)

PS: I should never go horse window shopping because I find critters like this who call out to me:

I LOVE a tight and compact build like that! Holsteiner/TB and reasonably priced to boot (under $10k). 9 years old, sound and uphill with a big jump, living in the rocky wilds of Montana and is barefoot with nary a bad step out on the trail... dream come true. As if I have $10k sitting around anywhere..... yeah right!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Which Gogo Dissaproves of her Jenny Craig

Two days ago, Gogo was given a rather nasty shock. There she was, hanging around in her field and bullying her companions for their food, when suddenly her mom (AKA your truly) showed up at the gate. "Mooooom!" she yelled as she saw me. "Moooom I hope you brought some foooood!" Not only did I not bring her any food (much to her disgust and dismay), but after coldhosing both hinds and shoving some unpleasant homeopathic remedies into her mouth, she was horrified to find that she was being wrapped and dumped unceremoniously (in her eyes, anyway) into a small, narrow turnout inbetween fields. This turnout had NO food in it, and no friends to bully either. Gogo was distraught. "Moooom...... Mom you forgot the fooood again.... Mooooom?"
Two very measly flakes of hay later, Gogo was severely miffed. She decided the best course of action was to punish me for my misdeeds. The best way she could think of to do this was to gallop the length of her tiny new paddock repeatedly, doing rollbacks that would make a reiner proud at either end, and galloping off in the other direction again. (This is the report I was given later.... great. Apparently she did it for some time too.)

When I arrived yesterday afternoon, both her wraps were around her ankles. She looked at me with nonchalance, as if to say, "Well, you deserved it. You MADE me do it." I removed the wraps to find that the right hind actually looked vaguely better than it had the day before. The left hind, on the other hand, was quite puffy and blisteringly hot in the area of her old injury. You know, the one from 2009. Oh, that's just great.

If you look at the left hind, you'll notice the puffiness around her fetlock as well at the neon pink sock, which indicates inflammation:

I wrapped her again last night with tighter, thinner, better fitting wraps in the hope that this was merely a bandage bow and that it would go away in a few days - and that she wouldn't pull them down again. She does not appear to be lame at all on the LH but admittedly it is hard to compare when you are looking at the hobbling lameness on the RH - I am bollocks at seeing bilateral lameness, for all I can see hind end lamenesses. Today of course she had left the right hind bandage up but the left hind was down around her ankle again. Today, the swelling and localized heat were quite a lot more dramatic and worse. Coldhosing didn't help either hind leg... I've been doing it every day regardless.

Again though, she doesn't appear to be lame on the LH. My hope is that this is just a bandage bow from yanking that wrap down twice. If the swelling and heat doesn't go away within the next few days though, I will have to have it looked at. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that because you all remember what my Red Light Means No list says about a new injury.

I've been trying a few homepathic remedies this week, and either I'm doing something wrong or they're just not doing anything. (Not that I thought they would.... I just figured it was cheap and worth a shot.) Every single person I've talked to had given me a different recommendation for dosage, all the way from giving one dose of one thing once only to giving four doses an hour followed by a dose every hour for a few following hours... I have no idea what proper protocol is. As it stands, I winged it and am doing a dose a day for a week. I've seen zero change but I'm not sure what I expected to happen anyway. If anything, she is worse. I'm trying Rhus tox, Ruta, and Calc fluor.... anyone know of the actual proper dosage one is supposed to give? Homeopathy fail!

Oh Gogo. I know I am starving you and giving you weird crap and it must not be a lot of fun but will you please just stop being a silly mare so you can stop teetering on death's doorstep?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Photo Adventure Fridays.... Literally!

Last Friday afternoon, I had a pre-planned surprise from JenJ take place at my barn. A friend of hers, Josh Baker of AzulOx Photography, came up from Austin to do a photo shoot of just the mare and I. I have a lot of competition photos and photos of just Gogo over the years, but I didn't have any good ones of just the two of us together looking nice. We decided that we would trailer over to a local park where there was actually *gasp* some grass and trees and that would provide a nice beautiful backdrop for us. The day dawned warm and sunny, just like every day has been for the past four and a half months. It hasn't rained in that long either, so I of course didn't give the weather a second thought as I walked out the door to work that morning. Obviously there would be good weather for the shoot, we're in the worst drought in Texas history, how could there be any other weather aside from hot and sunny?

Fast forward to 5pm later that day as I am finishing up at work: there are giant stormclouds brewing on the horizon. Great... The first day we've had rain in almost five months and it ends up happening on the ONE day that I needed to be outside looking nice? Fail! After clocking out, I sped off to the barn (which thankfully is 10 minutes away from work), and had just enough time to bring Gogo up from her back field before the sky absolutely opened. Josh showed up at about this time as well, and was spared a moment of dryness to get inside the barn before the deluge began. It POURED! Sideways rain, thunder, lightning, wind.... and there was no end in sight! Josh and I stood around after I had cleaned Gogo up and chatted for about an hour about whatever came to us. He's a funny guy and he thinks I belong in Austin.... I think he's right!

We had a momentary lapse in the rain and we decided to go for it. We had long since abandoned the idea of trailering out anywhere - why bother, when we knew we might not even get to shoot at all before sunset - and we rushed out to the back pasture where Gogo and her friends live and decided to make the best of the scenery. The rain was still drizzling (and sometimes pouring) on and off, so Josh took refuge in the horses' shed while I took outside and posed with the Mami.

And they came out GREAT!! I can't believe it given the weather and the dim light and the whole situation in general! I waited to post about it until all the photos were uploaded online so I can share... these are just a few of my absolute favorites. Enjoy!

Also, for those inquiring about the grass in my pasture.... this is proof that there is NO grass, just check out the muddy shoes! I think I will never get them clean again!

It was super fun and I can't thank Jen enough for this. So awesome!

I have more updates on life changes for Mami mare coming soon.... they include a diet, a move to a drylot, and a stab at homeopathy. Stay tuned ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Master Plan

Because my head won't stop spinning over the what-ifs of Gogo's situation, I decided last night that I needed to sit my butt down and write out a concrete set of guidelines for 'proceed or do not proceed' procedures. So, you know, proceed with the procedure-reading!

Green Light Means Go:
If she improves and continues to have improvements.
If she continues to get around well in her field and be able to do all the horsey things she deserves to be able to do: having a herd of friends, living out, stuffing her face, etc.

Yep... that is basically it. So long as she is ok and living what I perceive to be a comfortable and happy life, then we'll keep going.
The do-not-proceed list is longer and more detailed:

Red Light Means No:
If her condition worsens dramatically.
If her condition worsens and does not improve over a week (or longer, depending on severity - but not longer than a month).
If she stops getting around easily in the field.
If she loses interest in basic everyday things she enjoys - food, attention, etc.
If another new injury occurs.
If she is unable to be out doing the things she deserves to be able to do: having a herd of friends, living out, stuffing her face, etc.

Simple, I think. I feel better having it written down. I guess the basic gameplan is this: Try, but don't expect. The reality of it all is that the chances are VERY high that nothing is going to work. But she's still here and she's still pasture sound and able to beat her companions to a pulp, so I might as well stop sitting around in despair and do what I can to try.

A Few Things to Try:
Icing/cold hosing.... maybe pick up a cheap human-version of Game Ready on Ebay if I can find one
Some very basic homeopathy
Herbs/supplements... possibly
Castor oil packs w/Back on Track wraps
AquaTread/E-Stim/PEMF... possibly... it gets expensive fast and I'm not going to waste money on this!
Jenny Craig for Fatties.... drylotting and strict dieting

Most of this now is all throwing poo at the wall to see what sticks. I'm certainly not going to do ALL of those things, and as for the more expensive things... they are only getting done if I come into a random chunk of money that I don't have anything better to spend it on. A lot of these things might just be dumb ol' hoodoo and nonsense, but nothing else has worked so far, so why not change it up a bit?

It's all just grasping at straws a bit, and I'm not going to keep trying unless she is comfortable and getting around well. If she stops being comfortable and mobile, we're done. But while she's doing decently, I want to at least give it a try. The only thing I have left to lose is her.

Everything has been on fire for 4 months...

... but on Friday the skies changed and we ACTUALLY HAD RAIN!

AND we had an adventure in the rain, all thanks to JenJ.... more on that later ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Photo Adventure Fridays

This week's Photo Adventure....

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA.
Easily one of the most fascinatingly beautiful places I've ever been. The crazy rock formations are called hoodoos and are created through the process of erosion - wind, water and time sculpting the land. We rode horses (and mules) through the canyon... I had the most delightful little red mare who had a super soft mouth, turned on a dime, and was seriously careful while walking along the edge of a cliff. Proof that sometimes trail riding guides don't give the "experienced" riders the crazy horses... sometimes they give them the nicest horses so that they don't get ruined!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Many Milestones.

This is the 500th post for the Eventing-A-Gogo blog.
We have over 250,000 hits as of this week, and 365 official followers.
And exactly two years ago today, Gogo blew her legs out on XC at the 2009 AECs.

The first two things are super exciting and awesome! The last thing, not so much.
I am teetering on the edge of try or do not try. One minute I am hopeful, and the next I despair. I don't really know what to do.

The video of the original slide and injury in 2009:

Oh, Gogo.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I am not a patriotic person. Most of the time if you catch me, I'll make a snide remark about the States and talk about how I'd move to New Zealand if I ever had the chance.

But not on this day. On this day, I am American down to my core. Much in the way that Rhett Butler was called to war in the eleventh hour by his own Southern blood, I can't help but feel the pull towards my country on this day and be glad and proud of what I have as well as mourn those we have lost. Memorial Day, Veterans Day... none of those holidays mean anything to me at all. But 9/11 is a day that is burned into my head for a lifetime, and I will never forget. I don't care about the conspiracy theories, the supposed 'truth' movement, or any of that crap. I care about the unified horror we felt as a nation on that day, and how the country came together as one.

It was at the end of second period at Cranbrook, my high school, during my Junior year. I was carelessly ambling with some of my friends towards the bus to transport me from the Cranbrook campus to the Kingswood campus for painting class (yes, my high school had campuses...). One of my friends came trotting up to the group of us and said, "A plane just hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York!" We laughed - what kind of an idiot was so dumb that they miscalculated their flight path and hit a tower? - and I had an image in my head of a tiny biplane bumping into a building. Still laughing, we boarded the bus and headed off to class.
My easel stood in the far corner of the painting studio next to the old, metal-wrought windows. That day we were working on a still life - a chair and table with flowers set up on desks in the middle of the painting studio, our easels encircling the setup. The door to the classroom - right in the middle of the main wall, at the end of a long hallway - was open, and just as class was beginning, one of the other teachers came it. It was Mama J - Mrs. Jackson, whom we would lovingly sing the then very popular Outkast song to when we'd forget our homework (I'm sorry Ms. Jackson, oooo! I am for real!) - and she wore a grave, harried look on her face. She announced to us that there had been a terrorist attack on the United States, and two planes had struck both the World Trade Center towers in New York City. We stood and stared at her in shock.
The next few hours were a confusing blur. I passed by the library and saw through the glass doors a few images on the TV that was playing - namely the second tower collapsing. We heard reports of a plane hitting the Pentagon, of another plane going down in Pennsylvania. Planes all over the country were being grounded - we had no idea how big the attack was going to be, how many planes were involved, or what other structures would be targets. My father was on a plane that day, and my mother worked in one of the tallest buildings in Detroit. If they were targeting large, important buildings in major cities, hers was a sure target. And where was my father? Flying on a doomed plane somewhere, soon to die? I couldn't get ahold of either one of them for a long while, and I was terrified. Later I found out that both my parents were safe - my father had actually been the next plane on the runway scheduled to takeoff, but right before they did, the pilot informed everyone that there had been a terrorist attack and that all planes were now grounded. It was a terrifying few hours.
I didn't have my license or a car yet at that point in my life, so a friend of mine drove me home - the school let us our early as there was no way we could possibly go on with our studies. I remember lying on my side on the living room floor, staring up at the television replaying video of the planes striking the towers over and over... and videos of people freefalling to their deaths, over and over. Something in me broke that day, and I had an emotional meltdown. That event sent me spiraling into depression, and I spent the next few years in a self-mutilating, suicidal vortex. Planes were rerouted on their flight paths into and out of Detroit Metro airport in the following weeks and months after the attack, and they came right over our school. I cringed and looked up in horror every time one flew over for months. Seeing videos of the timeline of events that happened, or videos of the people falling out of the towers, still to this day makes me cry.

In the immediate aftermath following the attacks, one thing stuck out at me as the most memorable: there were American flags everywhere. Every car an American flag sticker on it, every house had a flag flying. Every street corner, every lamppost... everywhere one could be hung, there was a flag. The entire nation rallied together strong and powerful in mourning, and we refused to be broken. We stood up together, and helped our neighbors and strangers alike. We were strong, we were unified, we were proud and we were free. And nothing could take that away from us.

The way the country had changed in the past 10 years is sad and grim. The economy is struggling, war has been raging for a decade, and racism and hatred are as strong as they ever were. But I choose to look beyond that. I choose to remember and honor those who were killed, and those who survived and had to begin again. I choose to reflect upon this day and think of ways I can help my fellow Americans, and other citizens of the world as well. And because I live in this country, I have the freedom and the right to choose. And for that, I am forever grateful.

9/11/01. Never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lunatic Fringe

Working at an equine rehab facility, I see lots of serious cases of lameness coming and going every day. Some of these are far worse off than Gogo, and some of them get better with the therapies that we do. There has been some talk about seeing what we can do for Gogo in terms of therapies and whatnot. Whenever we talk about it, I think, "yes! Wouldn't it be amazing if this or that helped her and we could make an amazing against-all-odds comeback!" I get thinking more and more about hope, and less and less about the fact that the vet deemed her to be permanently unrideable and that we are still considering euthanasia as a possibility. In other words, I may be living on the lunatic fringe, and I'm not sure if it should be considered healthy and positive, or dangerously emotional.

Truthfully, it is hard to justify trying to do more financially for this mare. I've dumped god knows how much money into this rehab, and not a cent of it has paid out. Why should anything be different now?

I have no plans to spend tons of money at this point on trying anything. It would just be silly to do so, especially when I have plenty of other expenses to worry about and I'm more broke now than I ever have been. I had been so ready and resigned to letting her go.... now I'm considering giving it one last try. Maybe I'm nuts.... but I have nothing more to lose except for her.

The AECs are currently underway in Chattahoochee Hills, GA, and I am just as unhappy about not being there this year as I was last year. I have a number of friends riding and am cheering them on from the sidelines, much like I did last year. I was all bummed out thinking about it last night when I made the mistake of going and looking at the coursewalks and photo/video coverage online, but thankfully I had Future Hubs there to snap me out of it. He's such a good down to earth kind of guy... I don't know where my head would be without him. I can't believe that in two days it will be two years since Gogo's original injury.... I can't even get my head around that. I've been a little all over the place as of late, but things in general are turning around for me. I'm back to working steadily for the first time in two months, I will be making relatively fair money between the rehab center and my growing little string of clients, and in general I'm getting along better than I have for quite some time now. It's just a matter of getting back on my feet again, as usual. As for the moment, I am still flat on my face, but at least I feel like I might be able to stand up soon.

Greenwood Horse Trials are at the end of this month. I haven't been to a horse trial as a spectator in over a year now. I think I'll go. Yes... that will be good for me, I think.

This face isn't ready to give up yet...

I don't think I am either.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There is still no easy answer.

I've been a busy girl as of late. Between my trip to Austin, trimming horses, and starting a new job at an equine rehab facility (which is awesome.... pictured right is the Aqua Tread), I've not had a lot of time to get out and watch Gogo really move since her vet appointment. I've seen her walk around a bit (or maybe at this point the correct term would be waddle), but aside from that, I hadn't had a good chance to review her soundness and whether or not she had improved since her cortisone injection in the tendon sheath on the RH. Conveniently, her barn is only about 10 minutes away from the new job... how about that. I had no idea it was so close until I actually drove there after work yesterday.... one less thing to worry about.

Being away in Austin and refusing to think about the whole mess did me no favors in the end in terms of coping and coming to terms with possible and unthinkable things. I pushed the whole idea of finality out of my head during the trip and refused to think about it, even for a moment. In doing so, I allowed myself to create the delusion that life is continuing on as it always has, and that Gogo is really fine and that I must have been overreacting to her severe lameness. I can't imagine life without her, so that's exactly what I've been refusing to try to comprehend.

The original area of filling (the excess in the tendon sheath) has dramatically improved post-injection, just the same as it had last time. The area below it, however - the area of new damage - has not changed. It still looks as terrible as ever.

On the lunge, well... there is some improvement going right, but going left, she is as hip-hiking lame as ever.

Reality check. This did not magically improve while I was away blissfully ignoring matters as hand. This is still a serious problem.

Yet, she is still as cheerful as ever. I am struggling with the morality of the issue at hand - it isn't right to euth a horse who is still in great spirits and getting around okay, but it also isn't right to make a horse wait until they are on three legs and unable to get around before you make that decision for them. Given her current level of mobility and her happiness, it is absolutely NOT time to consider euthanasia yet. I am surrounded constantly by far lamer horses than her who are still alive and getting around okay as well. Still, just because we can keep them going doesn't necessarily mean we should keep them going.

Playing God is impossibly hard to do in these situations. You can eke a little life out of something that normally would have already died, or you can end a life by choice whenever you decide the time is right. They don't ask to die unless they are already dying. They, like all other living beings on the planet, are just trying to survive as best they can.

I've been told that it is to my detriment that I don't believe in organized religion or Men In The Sky or the healing power of prayer. I am every bit a right-brained thinker, but I also wholeheartedly believe in biology and science, and I know a tendon/ligament problem is just not going to magically heal itself to good-as-new. Right now, however, I wish I could buy into the idea of hoping for a small miracle. My hope always spikes and then deflates. I've never had lasting good luck in my life... I can't imagine it would bother to start now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On a Brighter Note

On a much lighter and brighter note than the few previous posts have been on... anyone remember the scraggly little hairball that I pulled out of a ditch in a rainstorm in January? She was on her last legs when I found her... I don't think she would have survived the night had I not found her. She had a festering wound on her tail and was skin and bones. There was no way I could have left her there in the freezing rain. I took her home, had her doctored up, and named her Mimi.

Fast forward to August....

Doesn't even remotely look like the same cat does it? She even changed colors! She is fat and sleek, and her hair feels like silk. She always climbs in bed with me when I sleep, and had the most adorable nearly-silent little mew when she wants food (which is always).

It feels so good to save a life!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Picture of the Day

Today's Picture of the Day...

Mami when she was 5 years old, just a lil babelet... she was such an evil little thing. She was SO BAD!

I think I've reached the Total Denial stage ever since I went off to Austin. I was accepting and ok with everything right up until I left, but then made a very conscious effort to put it all out of my head while I was on my mini-vacation, and now I am having a hard time thinking about it again. She was so beautiful and lovely this morning... it doesn't seem possible that she might not be around for much longer. I guess I won't know anything until I know... you know?

Friday, September 2, 2011


I am overwhelmed by the response I got to my last post. E-mails, calls, texts, comments, and other blogposts came rolling in, all expressing grief and support for me and what I am unfortunately facing in the near future. I discussed my thoughts and views with my vet, and he is on board with me and my decision. Both of us believe that the life she is facing isn't going to be of any sort of fair quality, and that when she becomes more uncomfortable, it will be time to let her go - before she gets too bad. Our guess is that this will probably happen within the next month or two, considering how quickly she went downhill over the past month. She had cortisone injected into her tendon sheath again which helped to take away some of the fill in the sheath itself, but this won't affect the damage to the distal sesamoidean ligaments below it. There's nothing we can really do at this point except keep her comfortable and let her just be a horse. She loves and rules her herd of six with an iron fist but they adore her. That's where she wants and deserves to be.

We don't have a set date yet - we'll let her tell us - so for right now you guys are just going to get mega-spammed with as many pictures of her as I can possibly take. Right now I am just happy for any moment I have with her. I'm going to make sure she feels like the royalty that she is every second of every day.

In the future, I know I'll be looking for another horse. That's a given - I just can't live without them. But I think I'll make a brand new blog for that and leave this one intact and as-is as a tribute to her. Going back over old posts and remembering old stories is helping me through this, and being able to relive the memories like this is something I'll always be thankful for. I'm so glad I took the time to write this journey down, and so glad you all took part in it with me.

I've been away in Austin for a few days just trying to get my head on right and getting ready to face the future without her. I had an awesome lunch today with JenJ which was great. I've missed Gogo so much though while I've been gone and can't wait to get back to the barn. My poor sweet baby.