Today I muffed up my hoof trimmer appointment (which is really tomorrow), so I had a while at the barn with nothing much to do while I waited for Anne, which would have been along wait had I not figured out my error. After I’d groomed the living daylights out of Maira, organized and reorganized my tack trunk, cleaned my tack, and socialized a bit, I finally took my camp chair out of the trunk and set myself up in the shade watching Windsong’s Justa Handful.
Now called James, this littlebigboy is the half brother of Sojourner, pictured in my masthead. By some unexpected turn of genetics, his black mama and his grey daddy made him a light
sorrel bay color (thanks to Tamara of The Barb Wire for this correction) with black points. He’s at my barn for six weeks of training.
At two days old, his mama died of colic. It was hands down the worst equine experience I’ve ever had. I don’t want to face anything like that ever again. Her colic began as I slept, worn out from working an 18-stall boarding stable alone. She continued to colic, unbeknownst to me, for a few hours before the vet called me. But I had left my phone off. Sheer exhaustion causes all sorts of errors in judgement, but most of them are not this serious.
The vet made the decision to put her down after an hour. She was a good old girl, who had brought more than a few excellent field hunters into this world. I had missed the whole thing, but it follows me still.
There is no replacing a mother.
Poor little motherless Handful was bottle fed until his nurse mare arrived two days later. (Have I laid it on thick enough?) His adoptive mom was docile and dense, but sweet as they come. When we moved the pair of them from stall to pasture, I felt like I was herding a placid cow with a foal instead of a mare. But without her, we would have been sunk. Handful drank and drank and drank but never did really catch up to his sister in weight, growth or development. He’s smaller (still under 16 hands) and seems to have a very quiet disposition.
Today he stood in the sharp, shining sun and watched me back. Partially obscured by his crimped black forelock, his dark eyes never left me. I waited for a sign of recognition, but it never came.
© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch
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