Really touching horse story, thought I'd share.

Discussion in 'Other Pets' started by Crissa, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    This is in the current issue of Country magazine (all about
    small farms across the USA). I read this on another forum and had to share. :wink: BEWARE~ Have kleenex handy!

    My Hero
    "Susie" and her unborn foal had just one faint hope after plunging through
    the ice.
    By Carolyn Mills-Meyer, Southbridge, Massachusetts

    "Have Doc come right away!" our neighbor Doris yelled through the phone
    line. "'Suzie' fell through the ice!"

    Everyone called my father Doc. He was an old-time country veterinarian for
    the small dairy farms that still flourished in New England 50 years ago. I
    started joining him on house calls when I was 4 years old.

    Suzie was a half-Arabian mare that Doris had raised from a colt.

    Within minutes, we were on our way, bags of electrolyte sloshing around in a
    pail of piping hot water. As Doc sped up the hill to Doris' house, I began
    toweling off the bags so I could carry them under my coat and keep them

    After a treacherous trek down an icy horse path, we found Ray, the head farm
    hand, and his helpers desperately working to pull Suzie to safety.

    Ray had crawled across the ice on a makeshift plywood bridge. But just as he
    slipped a rope around Suzie's neck, he fell through, too. When his helpers
    finally pulled Ray out of the water, his clothes instantly turned to ice.

    Ray wanted to stay and help, but Doc ordered him to the house. "One case of
    hypothermia is enough," Doc insisted. So, off he went, dazed, shivering and
    protesting all the way.

    While they were fishing Ray out of the water, Doc and a couple of the other
    hands pulled Suzie to shore. The men told us Suzie had been fighting to get
    out when they found her. But she'd gotten weaker and weaker the longer she
    floundered in the icy water.

    Hope Slips Away

    Now, she lay on the snowy shore in hypothermic shock, motionless and slicked
    with ice. "Is she alive?" I asked, scared to hear the answer. Doc pulled a
    stethoscope from his jacket and listened to Suzie's heart and respiration.

    "Gather wood and get some fires going around her," he finally said, "Hurry!
    We're losing ground fast."

    Then he told me, "We've got to get warm electrolytes in her to bring up her
    core temperature. " We felt a little better when he got the IV going, then me
    fluid began to freeze in the tube. We built a fire under the tube, but it
    was only a temporary fix.

    The weak January sun was slipping below the horizon and the temperature
    plummeted below zero. We had to get Suzie to a warm place, but no truck or
    tractor could make it down the steep, narrow horse path.

    Suzie was catatonic. Even if she woke up, she'd never find the strength to
    make it on her own. Then Doris whispered, "There's something else to worry
    about. She's in foal."

    "Do you have a neighbor with a team of draft horses that could pull Suzie up
    on a skidder?" Doc asked.

    "No," Doris sobbed. "Warren Jenks has one old half-bred, but I don't think
    he's nearly strong enough to haul Suzie up this hill."

    "Go call Warren," Doc said. "We'll have to find out."

    I kept rubbing Suzie's limp legs with an old blanket, but my last shred of
    hope followed the lonely, crunching sounds of Doris' footsteps retreating
    into the darkness.

    He'll Do His Best

    A half-hour later, we saw the flicker of a distant lantern, followed by the
    sound of muffled voices and creaking leather. Warren and his horse, "Duke,"
    had come to help.

    But I knew Duke. He was a scraggly old draft horse with long chestnut hair.
    And he was small. Way too small.

    My eyes swelled with tears as the sad-looking horse plodded by. "Whoa,
    Duke," Warren said when the skidder was positioned next to Suzie. "Evening,
    Doc, Miss, boys," he added calmly. "I see Duke has his work cut out for

    "You think he can he do it?" I asked. Warren could surely tell I didn't
    think so, but he didn't let on.

    "Don't really know for sure, Miss. But he's strong and clever 'bout things.
    He'll do his best; that I know."

    We rolled Suzie onto the skidder. Then I walked to where Duke could see me.
    His big brown eyes peered into mine. "Can you do it, Duke?" I asked.

    I can't say he answered me, exactly. But when the steamy whiskers of his
    muzzle brushed against my nearly frozen cheek, I believed he understood the
    task he faced.

    As the old horse leaned into the harness, the skidder broke loose with a
    sound like shattering glass. The moon cast harsh shadows through the bare
    trees ahead, making the hill look even more foreboding.

    Step by Treacherous Step

    With its ungainly load, the skidder kept tipping and hanging up on the icy,
    curving path. Duke was forced to make his own way through deep, ice crusted
    snow-step by treacherous step.

    Several times, he slipped to his knees. But he always scrambled up and kept
    on, legs scraped and bloody from the sharp ice.

    Duke's flanks broke out in white, lathering sweat. Steam rose from his --
    back and hung over him like a shroud. His breath ripped through the frigid
    air in loud, raspy gasps.

    This job would wear down a team of strong, young draft horses, I thought as
    I struggled up the hill behind the sled. He has to stop and rest! But Duke
    pulled on, head down and fatiguing hindquarters quivering with every step.

    And somehow, Duke pulled that skidder right up to the barn door.

    As the men dragged Suzie into the warm barn, I took care of Duke. Sweat ran
    down his heaving flanks and poured like rain from his belly. Someone threw
    me a blanket to drape over him. I found a cloth to wipe his face.

    As I looked once again into those placid brown eyes, I asked, "Do you know
    what you just did?" He never said, but somehow, I think he knew.

    Suzie lived and gave birth to a healthy bay colt. Tough stock, I'd say.

    I never had the pleasure of crossing paths with Duke again. But to this day,
    I can close my eyes and see the steam rising from his flanks. I can feel his
    relentless determination and know the comfort of looking into eyes that say,
    "I'll do my best," and mean it. ~
  2. Thanatos

    Thanatos New Member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Lake Ariel, Pa
    Yep need tissue

  3. RowdyKidz

    RowdyKidz Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2009
    NW Ohio
    What a sad story! You were right about the tissues Crissa! Thanks for sharing.
  4. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    :tears: wow ....what a glad for the happy ending..... :wink:
  5. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Boy, that really is one miracle horse! :wink:
  6. Coraxfeather

    Coraxfeather New Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Slippery ROckPA
    *hands the tissue aroudn to everyone that reads this*
  7. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    WOW what a story. Than you for sharing.