Here I am again underneath a cloudy sky watching my horses; specifically Dulce. To my west lightning strikes the earth every ten to thirty seconds. A storm is coming reminding me of a year ago tonight. I walked Shandoka in endless circles while it drizzled rain begging God and Shandoka for some sort of miracle. Dulce is in the barn Shandoka stood in that night, and Dulce is struggling like Shandoka did but not as bad. So far his problem can be solved. Different horse different night I chant over and over to myself.
He had his third dose of the worm medicine today. I was asked if I wanted to do this, and if I thought it was a good idea to worm Dulce five days in a row. Well, no I don’t want to do this, but I need to do what I have to do to get him right. When I took Shandoka in years ago after he came to live with me, he was filled with worms too. One night he coliced four times after I wormed him. Not only was he getting colic from the worms, he got colic as he shed off the worms. It’s not a fun process at all. I had to worm Shandoka four months in a row to knock the worms down enough. I believe he had irreparable damage from the load of worms he carried, because he got colic after the initial problem about every three to six months for the rest of his life until a year ago this night when the colic fought its final battle. No I don’t want to do this with Dulce but I have to.
Dulce takes the wormer like a champ, forgives me immediately, and joins Chaco rubbing his nose on Chaco’s side each morning. He had a challenging morning Saturday….severe gas pains before pooping two times. I’m sure he started shedding the worms, and the worms may be acting up in there as the wormer embarks on mass murder. Now in addition to gas colic, I need to watch for an impaction. I put a bunch of peppermint and mineral oil in his feed to ameliorate that nasty gas. When I die, God and I are having a long talk about why He/She made it so horse’s can’t burp.
Last year on this night I knew Shandoka wouldn’t make it even though I begged and bargained and prayed and got furious over what I knew I would be forced to do. When I look back at pictures of him, I think he started dying the day before it all hit the fan. He looked tired in the pictures. The normal sparkle and power in his eyes disappeared. I thought it was the heat at the time, but now I’m not so sure. I want to delete those pictures, but for some reason I can’t.
Under a cloudy sky I sit with Dulce on a warm summer’s night wishing I could fix this, realizing all I can do is nurse it along, and pray that we come out good on the other side. It’s night six, and I think God must hate me to put me through this again on the anniversary of Shandoka’s death. Probably not, but it is easier to think that way than to face all of this again. I wanted to avoid this night by focusing on anything else but this. Instead, it’s right in my face saying, “It’s time to let go of the guilt you’ve carried this past year.” People tell me to relax about Dulce, but when you watch your amazing horse and partner thrash from insurmountable pain, you don’t relax until they are completely out of the cycle of colic.
I go through the littany of things that I remembered doing, I go through my checklist, and I know I fought as hard as I could for Shandoka. I did everything that worked in the past. Nothing worked that night. Nothing. All I can do is forgive myself and hope Shandoka forgives me.
I’m talking with Shandoka and Dulce as the moon journeys from east to west playing peekaboo with the clouds. I see a backwards question mark and Lenin’s face and pointy beard. Yep, I see Lenin in the clouds. I need some sleep, but here comes a light rain. I stay out in it. It feels good, so I close my eyes and listen and feel this cool rain splash all over my face washing away my tears.
Chaco comes up to me and sticks his nose on my nose. I’m lying flat on my back looking straight into his eyes trusting him completely. He grabs hold of my blanket shaking it around like a wet rag before he lets it go and puts his nose on my nose again waiting for me to blow into each of his nostrils. That’s our thing. Not sure how that happened, but it is our thing. Those eyes, how they look at me. I melt into a big smile before he saunters off to tease Dulce for a bit.
I see signs of improvement from this worming program despite the tummy pain earlier this morning. Dulce played with the other two a couple of times, and he finally left the barn for a short period last night. I’m waiting for him to do that tonight. Ever since he started to not feel well, he goes in the barn at dusk and stays until the sun is up the next morning. I drag him out twice during the night to make sure he walks. Seeing him out in the moonlight playing with Chaco last night was a good thing. Two more doses of wormer…just two more doses.
I also have my own plan. When we’re done with the wormer, I’m putting him back on Marshmallow Root, which is really good for an inflamed digestive tract. I will put him back on Gastromend to heal up any damage the worms may have caused, and I’ll continue adding his probiotic, peppermint, and aloe vera gel to his feed. I’m also going to treat him with the homeopathic remedy of Nux Vomica, which fits him perfectly. Maybe we can avoid the steroid.
I let out a sigh when the rain stops. The clouds move east, and the stars shimmer above. Stars sparkle and dance around leaving me in awe as to how in the world we even exist in this amazing swirl of galaxies far far away. I look at Shandoka’s grave missing him terribly when I notice that a deer is standing on his grave. She is about three feet away from me, and I try to not breath for fear of scaring her off. We look at each other for about thirty seconds when she decides I’m no threat and starts to graze. Shandoka’s name in Ute means Storm Bringer. Between the storm and the deer, I feel like he is telling me he does forgive me.
Chaco and Harley are such a huge part of Shandoka’s story. I don’t want Dulce to be though. I want Dulce, Chaco, and Harley to be part of another story; a new story. We have a lot of adventures to go on, and it is time for Dulce to get over this hump…to knock these worms and colic to the curb, put some more weight and muscle on, grow out these hooves, and to get out there and have some fun. I want to ride all three of them whenever possible. I so miss riding. It’s time to get back out there. My three boys are waiting for me.
Dulce saunters out to the water bucket and takes a long slurp of water. When he’s done, he lets me hold his head in my arms. He is such a sweet boy. I look at my watch. “Only a few more hours until sunrise Dulce, and we can start our new story.”
Different Day, Different Horse, Different Ending.