The story of love and loss in the horse world is a complex one, with love being the ties that bind us in the horse world. The author shares their experiences with two foals, Lil Blessing and Lil Blessing Arctic Horse. Lil Blessing was born with contracted tendons, causing her legs to lain out like tentacles below her. Her family and vet had concocted homemade leg braces, and a bevy of friends helped around the clock to change the braces and nurse the foal every 30 minutes.
Lil Blessing’s dam, Sydney, was the daughter of Lady, a sweet mare my husband had leased for a few summers. Her grandsire, Pathfinder, was the gentlest stallion I’d ever met, and owned by Deb, a great friend who had mentored my training journey with the love and bane of my horse-life, my Appaloosa, Faly.
Faly was the perfect storm, hitting me in all of my prejudice and vulnerabilities. I had been injured by our farm stallion as a kid, and I harbored a deep fear of studs every since. Even though I gelded Faly right away, I still saw him as a stud. Faly was the universe’s “I’ll show you to never say never,” thumb in my face when I fell in love with him. Because he was my perfect storm, he had my number early on, and Deb was instrumental in providing advice, hands-on help, and invitations to join her rides that helped us get those crucial wet saddle blanket hours.
Faly Jen Arctic Horse was owned by Karol, a friend I’d met through Deb. This past summer, Karol spent the whole day riding in and helping us pack in seven horses, no easy feat over the rugged Alaska mountains. The author remembers looking at those two competent horse women then, all there out of friendship and kindness, feeling proud and humbled to be in their company.
Deb EZ walking Stables Arctic Horse was a remarkable foal, and the author felt blessed to be able to help her with her little miracle foal, Lil Blessin’. Karol had come through for them (and Deb always did, too), and the author felt blessed to be able to help her with her little miracle foal.
In conclusion, love and loss are the ties that bind us in the horse world, and this week was a roller coaster doozy of proof. The author’s experiences with these foals highlight the importance of love and support in the horse world, and the power of love and support in overcoming challenges and embracing life’s challenges.
In the same week Lil Blessin’ was born, two neighbors had animals colic, Daisy the donkey and Joe, the mule, who had to be put down. The couple moved into their new farm and met neighbors Kelee and her 12-year-old daughter, Macee. Kelee had given Macee a chestnut quarter horse named Charlie, and Daisy, their only previous equine, was their only previous equine.
Two summers ago, Charlie showed up at the farm, saddled, riderless, and with bloody reins. After a frantic search, Macee was finally found a half mile away. Her horse had been attacked by a pack of loose dogs, she had severed her thumb in the fall, had deep face lacerations, and internal injuries. She spent quite a while in the hospital, and though Macee has recovered well, both physically and mentally, her mother, Kelee, took much longer to heal.
Keele and Macee stood on opposite sides of the horse fence for that long winter after her accident. They worked out a horsemanship program for Macee, and she took lessons and rode with either Deb or the author for the next few years. As time passed, her face relaxed and she could genuinely smile as they left their little farm on horseback, headed for the trails.
Our neighbor, Bernie, graciously gave us private access through his farm to hundreds of miles of trails behind his place. He had two aging pack mules, Joe and Gun, living out their days in happy fat retirement. I met Bern through Kelee, who had been friends for years and would often bring his tractor over to help her at her farm. Everything about the man embodied kindness.
In the same week Lil Blessin’ was born, both Daisy and Joe coliced, one day after each other. Kelee and the kids knew how much she and the kids loved Miss Daisy. When Daisy pulled through, we all felt sweet relief.
When Bern called the next day to say Joe was colicing, the sick anxiousness returned. Despite intensive veterinary intervention, Joe had to be put down. Gun, who had a tendency to go through any fence, came to our house until Bern had time to find another friend and acclimate the two of them. Together, they had a separate little pasture just across the driveway from our horses, who Gun already knew.
The emergencies of this week had us all heart deep in tragedy and shoulder to shoulder in loving kindness. These moments were woven by our common love of equines and the deep friendships they inspire. What a beautiful life <3.