Monday, February 2, 2009

The First Night and A New Beginning

We couldn't keep calling her "the new horse" or "the skinny mare", and hearing Dan refer to her as "Skeletor" was just unbearable, so just like that we decided she needed a name. A name that would give her a bright outlook on her future, which hours ago was uncertain at best.

It was a toss up between and "Faith" and "Hope". And since we have a few horses here named after country singers, "Faith" it was...

We were instructed by our vet to get Faith cleaned up as best we could, as we needed to find out if we had missed any other wounds on her under her winter coat. Luckily, my father has an auto repair shop located next door to our property, so we brought Faith into the warm garage. Clients and the auto parts delivery guys came in and did a double-take as a 16.3 hand horse was standing where a car normally would. It was the only humorous part of the day.

Faith received a quick warm-water bath with antimicrobial conditioning shampoo, and as we cleaned off months of mud and other unmentionables from her coat, we searched for any other things that may be cause for concern. Thankfully, we did not find any. We toweled her off, worked on her with two blow dryers, covered her up in a warm blanket and brought her back down to the barn. In the barn, I struggled to give Faith her first dose of oral antibiotics as well as deworming medicine. She absolutely did not want either in her mouth and she was doing everything she could to avoid it. Mind you, she is nearly 17 hands tall, and I'm a measly 5'2". I eventually won and she eventually forgave me. I think. (Score: Faith 0, Julie 1)

She munched on her hay and drank water as though she was afraid she'd never see it again in her life. That fear of hers was probably true, and totally justified. But thankfully for her, she was safe now. She would always have access to hay and water. She would be warm. And she would be loved.

At 5:30pm our 4-H club had a meeting, and Faith was greeted by 18 young faces who stared in amazement at her. Some were afraid to touch her, fearing they would hurt her. Others were happy to meet the new addition to our farm, drawn in by her soft brown eyes, blind of her disturbing appearance. Regardless of their thoughts and actions, every one of them was concerned for her, unlike her previous owner. Some parents came in to meet her, astonished by her condition but amazed at the gentleness that radiated from her. "How could someone do this?" was heard more than once.

Everyone left shortly thereafter and every child said goodbye to Faith on their way to their cars. I picked her stall one last time, refilled both water buckets and put two more flakes of hay in the hay rack. I kissed her on the nose, promised her that she was going to be OK and that tomorrow she'd officially start her new life. Two hours later, I doubted my promise to her.

We heard a loud bang below us, and Dan jumped off my couch and ran downstairs. Faith laid down to rest earlier, but was now struggling to get back up on her feet. She was too weak. Dan and I went in to her stall with her and quieted her down. We tucked her front legs back underneath her, forcing her to stay put and rest. As she lay there, she kept turning her head towards her abdomen, a sure sign of colic. I left her stall, filled a syringe with 10 cc of banamine, and gave her an oral dose of it. She was in too much pain to fight me. Ten minutes later, the pain had subsided and she was ready to stand. We straightened her legs out in front of her and she tensed her muscles, ready to move. With a pull on her halter from me, and a push on the butt from Dan, Faith was back up on her feet. It was a close call, but she pulled through.


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