Monday, February 11, 2008

Remembering Gus

Once upon a time, during the years before I moved to Vermont, I partnered, for a few of those years, in managing a boarding stable. We boarded between 10 and 15 horses and made an effort at breeding Appaloosas. Our sire, Saint, was a colorful, handsome boy with excellent conformation, our brood mare, Rosie, a sturdy, well put together gal who's colors were somewhat muted by comparison.

With great anticipation we awaited the birth of our first foal. Its birth went well and everything seemed fine for the first few days but as time passed, we noticed a rapid deterioration in the well being of our first baby. The vet was called but the foal died before he could determine what was amiss.

Distraught but determined, we decided to give Rosie ample time to get back on her feet and try again. And, again, we were blessed with a frisky little foal. A few days later, like a bad dream come back to haunt us, this little filly also took a turn for the worst. The vet came back and this time was able to determine the cause of our problems. It seemed that the parents had an RH incompatibility and Rosie's milk was poisoning her baby.

We quickly separated the two and I took over feedings. I named the filly "August Morn," called her "Gus" for short and began the process of teaching her how to drink from a bottle. I thought little Gus would take to a bottle without any difficulties, these things always look so easy when you see them done on television, but such was not to be the case. She was suffering from separation anxiety and confusion and wasn't sure what to do with an unfamiliar object.

I don't know what gave me the idea, but I decided to try bringing a bucket of milk up to her muzzle, putting my finger in the milk and slipping it into her soft, warm mouth. This seemed to appeal to her and in no time I was able to switch her over to a bottle. It wasn't long before she came to think of me as her mother and when she wasn't napping, would follow me everywhere as I cared for the other horses and tended to my chores. We became quite close and games of tag, hide and seek and kicking at each other became the norm.

In my memory I will always see her there with her dark, shiny coat, white spots prominant on her rear and liquid brown eyes looking into mine with the question "hey mom, what's up?"


Blogger Bitterroot said...

What a beautiful story, Pam. I do love reading your reminiscences.

11:22 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Little Gus must have been quite the treasure. How cool that you became her mama. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Gus and you! Thanks for sharing the memories.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I LOVE horses and I did not know you took care of them. The eyes are awesome. Very sweet story.


7:50 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Wonderful tale of a loved animal. And what a wonderful experience to be able to mother a horse!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That has to be the sweetest story I've ever seen blogged. Thank you so much for sharing it.


10:20 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

What a great post. This was a fun story and picture, too.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Crayons said...

Hi Pam,
I see that I have missed two posts. I have come to love horses after having been afraid of them for so long. You packed a lot of feeling into this short post. The photo is so expressive.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

What a wonderful story that is! It must have been so fulfilling to raise that little sweetheart. She was so lucky to have you as a "Mom". Can you tell us the rest of her story?

12:41 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Isn't it wonderful that we have memories? This was an especially sweet one and thanks for sharing it, Pam.

2:21 PM  
Blogger joared said...

Such a lovely story and memory, and so well told.

2:19 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Just stopped by to say hi! Thinking of you,
Kate ox

5:30 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Oh my gosh! Pam! What a beautiful narrative . . what a beautiful memory!

You have so many lovely memories and experiences to turn over in your heart and smile and smile and smile.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Mama P said...

First your cat, now this? Noooo!!!!! I am sorry.

10:40 AM  

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