Saturday, February 23, 2008


When I walked up the warmly lit main isle way of the barn at 7 pm last Wednesday, the 13th, all I could see at first was Grant's vet truck and a small group of somber teary eyed people. Then? My eyes slid sideways, and seeing through the bars of the double-sized box stall, I saw what had to the be hip of an ancient milk cow inexplicably poking through
the skin of a horse.

Only it wasn't the hip of an old milk cow, it was the hip of a black horse. The whole hip joint was visible, the enveloping muscle had been used for sustenance, and had reached the bottom of the barrel, literally. I moved closer, and the image got worse as his spine soared above his ribs - I had forgotten how deeply in the body the ribs at their junction with the spine were buried - for his rib cage, to the spine, had also sacrificed its muscle to keep life going. His neck? Mostly bone but some muscle.

Then I got to his eye, which was surprisingly bright and as liquid-deep as any live horses eye... that amazed me, I had expected to see death or a wish for it. But everything that was still vital, still horse, was here, held quietly in this eye that was so innocently relieved, so accepting of all that his rescue entailed. That eye said "Whew! I'm okay now. The good people have come back."

Nobody was talking except Grant, who was instructing the volunteers, who were in the stall, with the horse. Everyone else was quiet, aghast. One of my fellow boarders got a soft brush and began gently brushing him, and his head dropped as he gave a deep sigh. Grant glanced through the bars and commented "He really likes that - keep brushing him! He was a stallion, once." Wondering how he knew, we all looked, and he had dropped, and yes, he had once been a stallion.

Later, someone found a lip tattoo, and looking at his eye, at the skin around his mouth, I speculated that he might only be 6 or 7 years old. We later found out that he was 5, fresh off the track in August. He still wore his racing plates, and his feet had barely outgrown them. All his energy went to staying alive.

Grant asked me to make a hot mash with electrolytes and a little Senior, and, holding the bucket as he ate, his soft eye would pause its concentration on the mash for a semi second to look at me, and I lost my heart to him. He had pipe stream diarrhea, and was a candidate for founder, so Grant cautioned that he had a very slim chance of making it. This horse has the sweetest most open eye and soul you can imagine. We were trying because an angel had paid $400 to rescue him. He is extremely lucky.

Cowboy, thank you for not breaking our hearts... thank you for living. Thanks to the woman who bought you for $400 to get you out of that place, thanks to LP and her crew, and particularly to Grant. Thanks to people who drop change in the donation jar.

Cowboy, you've taught us that foolish hope isn't foolish after all, and that if all we have is a good attitude, it's often enough to get one through life's most desperate of times. Sometimes that angel *does* appear, when all hope should be lost. Sometimes the miracle does happen. Sometimes a horse with no chance at all, a horse with a body score of .5 out of 0-9, survives the odds. All it takes is the right attitude, and the right group of saviors.

Folks, if you see one of CHANGE's donation jars at a feed store or tack store, remember Cowboy and donate help us with the Cowboys of the future. Saving the horses that are savable costs money, and your pocket change makes a huge difference. What you've given so far allowed us to give Cowboy this chance. Again, thanks.

Read Cowboys story here:

Thanks in advance, Linda