Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Bitter Reminder

...That horses are fragile creatures.

This afternoon I successfully moved out of Rancho del Rio with Kiki in tow and headed back up to Stanford. On the way, I called my friend and found out that one of the new school horses was colicking, but it didn't seem very badly. When I arrived and got Kiki settled (what a star!!) we spent a few hours chilling by the Davino's (the colicking horse) stall, and while he wasn't looking like a million bucks it wasn't anything worse than we'd seen before, either. His owner and the vet arrived at around 5 and we went off to get dinner, thinking that he would be the same or better when we got back.

Well, he wasn't. By the time we got back an hour and a half later, the vet was still there, they had administered over 25L of fluids, and the horse was getting worse. Fortunately I had my trailer, because (and this is one of our biggest shortcomings) the equestrian team doesn't own a truck/trailer of its own and none of the other boarders that could have hauled the horse to surgery were available or reachable. So, we loaded the horse up and took it down the road to the clinic, hoping that a night of round-the-clock fluids would be enough to turn the tide.

Well, it wasn't. Nothing we did improved his stats, and the further we went diagnostically, the worse it seemed to be. It eventually became evident that the impaction was in the small intestine, too close to the stomach to operate on and too far along to pass on its own. There was nothing we could do. It was utterly unbelievable. This horse, who 24 hours ago was enjoying grass and hay and sunshine, who my friend arrived at the barn this morning to jump and instead found him cast and thrashing in his stall, was suddenly reaching the final few moments of his life. And why? We have no idea.

After we got back to the barn, we both went and hugged our respective horses. My griping about competitions and qualifications and this and that suddenly seemed very shallow. All of that is immaterial to the soft warm solidity of Kiki's neck, the sticky hay-sweetness of her breath, the liquid softness of her eyes.

There's not much to say. Hug your horse, and enjoy him or her. Our time together is brief.


Anastasia said...

That is so very true. Thanks for the reminder.

Suzie said...

I'll give Ringo an apple for you tomorrow morning. :)

He has been a star all weekend, by the way.

P.S. What's your number woman!

Rachel said...

so true and so sad. I had a bad day with my guy today, and now I feel horrible for being so short tempered. thanks for the reality check!

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