Posted by: highmountainmuse | April 2, 2009

The fight for life

Artemis at 36 hours.

Artemis at 36 hours.

“If you don’t want to lose any, don’t have any.”


Those may seem like harsh words, I know, but when I heard them last year as my first foal died in my arms, they were words of wisdom that somehow made more sense to me than anything else I could here. At the time, hearing that hard-nosed wisdom, I knew I would continue to try.


And so yesterday right before lunch when we went out to administer yet another dose of “preventative medicine” to the filly, when I saw her scours, I knew we had a fight for life upon our hands.  And for Tres’ sake, after having it be her foal who fell victim to the bacteria last year, I was prepared to go full on into battle to save this baby’s life.  I sure as heck was going to try…


We bundled up and Bob drove me on the ATV the eight miles to a telephone.  I called the vet’s office, told the receptionist who I was, that I had a problem with a foal, and asked if I could speak with the vet who had saved our baby last year (please see the Story of Bayjura).  That vet thankfully was there, picked up the phone, and knowing who I was, you could tell she was expecting the worst. When I told her what I saw, the scours, she too seemed filled with that anger that kicks you into gear and sends you focused forward, willing and able to fight at all costs to save a life.


She told us what to do and how to do it. Bob got me home through the biting cold on that ATV (even he was cold, and he’s the hearty one!), and we proceeded to poke and prod the baby with the new group of medicines. Worst of all, we had to then separate her from her mother because, believe it or not, the very thing you’d assume is best for the baby (mother’s milk) is what the bacterium feed on.  We walked Tres out of the foaling shed, and she stood around right outside the gate, never too far from her baby.  Of course at first the baby was extremely upset, trying to get through the bars of the corral, whinnying to her mother to come back or bring her with her. And of course, nothing could upset me more than to see this.


Two hours later, mother was allowed back in with baby for a dose of nursing and motherly love.  I cleaned the baby, and noted that she was no worse… possibly, just possibly… a little better already?


By night fall, we noted no more scours.  We administered another round of medicines, and let mama in with baby for the night.  Every time we’d check them, all seemed well.  There is hope.  This morning, she’s up and nursing and strong and bright, despite the temperate of one degree below zero, and the sour taste of medicines still pasted on her lips. We believe this little girl is going to make it.  We believe we’re winning the battle.


And tell you what, seeing how strong and healthy our yearling Bayjura is after surviving her battle with the bacteria, I’d say it’s a true case of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  If we help this little girl pull through this one, she’ll be able to grow into one fine and hearty horse!


My eldest brother and his family arrived in the middle of this drama.  His two children helped Bob and Forrest and me with the care of the foal and mama. They were able to share with us that determination in the fight for survival, and then the joy of hope. Not certainty, but still hope. They came up with a name for the baby.  If we are able to keep her alive, we shall call her Artemis.


I don’t want to loose any.  But I’m willing to fight and do all I can to keep them strong and healthy.  I will loose sometimes. I will not always win. But it will not stop me from trying, from giving everything I can in this often hard and confusing game we call life.

(PS – My apologies this morning for the lateness in posting – Hope I am not too late for your morning coffee – What I thought wa problems due to snow yesterday must be something else.  I’ll figure it out eventually…)


  1. Ok – so I made a second pot!

    Artemis is absolutely beautiful and she looks just as determined as you. Remember we are all with you, out in the cold, kneeling in the straw, through every treatment and pensive moment. I hope you feel us.
    I can almost smell her baby breath!

  2. Artemis is a beauty. Sending all the best stuff of hope and strength your way…

  3. Still sending positive thoughts and prayers.

    Hugs to all, especially Tres, Artemis and Shepherd Alan.

  4. Yowza. What a roller coaster. Even though this lifestyle prepares us for all manners of difficulties & we understand that life is perilous, it is still hard since we invest ourselves so deeply.

    Glad to haer that this time it appears there will be a happy ending! Big long distance hugs all around and a big pat on the back for sticking in there!

  5. ARTEMIS great name, I know with all the love and tender care she gets from you she will make it.

  6. It has helped to you know all care, honestly. Sometimes you got to reach out, don’t you? Thank you. As Maggie said, yesterday was a roller coaster ride. I know you have all been through that, in one way or another. But as Floyd would say, “she’s a dandy.” We have to get her through.

  7. […] in order to know the fullness of whatever it is we choose to embrace. Like Gin’s struggle with Artemis. She knows the risk. She doesn’t downplay the potential hurt or the struggle and she holds to […]

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