Tuesday, July 09, 2024

New Kid(s) on the Block


One year ago, exactly, a tiny baby horse was fighting for his life. This little wild colt was found by some incredible people who were bringing water to the wild herds amidst the drought that had forced the horses out of the hills in search of water. He was septic and had been abandoned by his herd for unknown reasons, but possibly because he was sick and couldn't keep up. 

Our friends Elise and Barb drove him several hours down to the Phoenix area so that he could receive medical care. They had placed him the back seat of Elise's pickup where Barb held him all the way down. They said they thought he was going to die on the way down and their journey was delayed by a high speed chase that was happening along the highway at the same time, so it was incredibly tense because every minute counted for this baby. Elise said her phone ring is a horse neighing and at one point, it rang and the colt neighed in response to it. That phone ring may have been the quick adrenaline kick he needed for his little heart to keep beating. 

When he arrived at the vet clinic he was septic and I'm not sure how many people actually thought he would survive. Even the news covered his story. Perhaps it was a prompting of Divine nature, but as soon as I had heard about this colt and Elise's role in transporting him to his only chance at survival, I had this absolute certainty that I should place an application for his adoption, should he survive. I did not have great hope that he would survive. A couple months later, I received a call/email letting me know that not only had he survived, but he was up for adoption and we were being given the opportunity to become his family if we still wanted him. I had never even mentioned the adoption application to my family, but when I told them that "miracle baby" was being offered to us as his forever home, it was a unanimous decision that we wanted this boy in our lives. We named him Shadowfax and he was instantly bonded to Kelton; I think they were made for one another. 

We brought him home and Devany was instantly in love. Fancy wanted to kill him, or at least make him realize that he was decidedly not welcome. :-) When we felt it was safe to put him in with mean old granny and his new mom, all was as it should be. Devany and Shadowfax spent hours playing in the field together and she was wonderful about setting boundaries and teaching him right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable. Fancy made it clear that everything he did was suspect and worthy of scrutiny, but we even caught her standing over him while he slept and sharing her hay bucket with him upon occasion. 

He is full of spirit and life. He's smart, ornery, snuggly, wonderful and naughty. We take him for walks, trailer him into the woods, bathe him, work him in the round pen, and watch him grow into an extraordinary creature. He turned into the devil trying to kill everything, including his own hay bag in March, so we gelded him. Now, our nice little boy is back, though he didn't lose all his tricks. He's still a lot to reckon with, just like his master and we're so excited to see what the future holds for this horse and his boy. He has stolen all our hearts and also the hearts of most of our neighbors who love watching his antics in the field. 

Having Shadowfax bonded with Devany when Fancy heartbreakingly bowed out of this earthly life made the loss bearable for Devany, and really if I'm being honest, probably for the rest of us too. Devany grieved, fretted and worried for several days, but this kid kept engaging her, chasing her around the field with his ball, sharing his hay bag with her and sleeping right next to her. I could tell, he was an integral part of her healing from the loss. 

When the boys and I were in Colorado, Madigan and I were hiking along a trail one day talking about Fancy. Madigan was still clearly grieving a lot. He told me that he really wanted his own horse and that if he had a choice, he'd want a mustang, like Shadowfax, or a quarter horse, like Fancy, but that he really wanted a girl. We had, as a family, talked about getting a foal out of Devany, but that process is risky and honestly it felt like a pretty big hurdle at this time. When we got back to our Airbnb from our hike, I saw a posting on FB that more foals had been rescued this year and one of them was a filly (girl). I commented on the posting that I would like adoption information when it was available. Almost immediately, Barb (yes, the same rescuer of our beloved Shadowfax :-) told me that the filly, Summer, was at her place just down the road from us, and that if we wanted her Barb could most definitely help make that happen. My heart... 

We went to see her upon our return from Colorado, and I think Madigan instantly found the love of his life. He couldn't stop smiling and she brings out the tenderness and love inside that strong man. He named her Summer Wynd, and wants to call her Wynn after his favorite horse character in the Chronicles of Narnia. 

Wynn was left behind by the herd because she had horrible stone bruises that had turned into abscesses in her little hooves and she could no longer stand, making her vulnerable, dehydrated and quite simply a liability to the herd. Her mother didn't initially want to leave her behind, but she willingly did so when the rescuers approached her and the foal. Somehow, horses know... 

Barb and Steve, her husband, cared for Wynn until her hooves were fully healed, giving her milk every three hours, doctoring her, changing out her bandages and giving her copious hours of love and attention. We were able to bring her home this past week and Madigan is proving himself to be a capable and devoted father. He, also, makes her milk and takes it to her every three hours, faithfully, grooms her, holds her, sits in her pen, wrestles with her when her feisty spirit bucks up against his own will, both literally and figuratively. When anyone comes to our house, he rushes out to make the introductions. :-) He's a very proud papa. Wynn is talkative, nickering about everything and nothing. She's absurdly adorable in every way. She, too, is spirited and full of spice, so now we have three of those. She is already adored by her two pasture mates and clearly meant to be part of this special herd. They nicker at her, lay down by her, eat next to her and gallop around with her. She is about 1 month old, the picture of health, and "a beautiful, well built horse with a great temperament", according to our vet; he agreed with us: Fancy would approve. 

We know that we are richly blessed.


Mom said...

Well, there are no words to convey how perfectly you have encapsulated all that has transpired. Love you!

Brandee Aguilar said...

Oh what a spectacular story. As you know, I feel deeply for your Shadowfax and love to hear of his escapades. I’m excited for your family and am grateful for the wonderful home you have provided these babies. You are a special family!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I was (sort of) holding it together reading this, until the "Fancy would approve" part. 🥹 Can't wait to meet Wynn! Love Ankie Tae.