Monday, February 18, 2008

A Mother's Instincts

This will be a quick update, as it's a President's Day holiday, and the four school-free Watermark Farm children are roaming the house with great enthusiasm, looking for trouble.

Argus had one hell of a hangover on Sunday. His forehead was puffy, and he moved around like an old man. His entire body is very sore. Still, he ate his grain with enthusiasm, and wandered around his little pasture happily. I am relieved he is OK. We were lucky.

Not so lucky was another horse who attempted to jump a gate on Sunday night. Not here, but at a friend's nearby barn. Beautiful Betrys, a rescued warmblood PMU mare, could not be saved. Rest in peace, sweet girl. I send my deepest condolences to her owner, Lou and her boarding stable caretaker, Michelle.


The other night, when Dr. Miller and I were discussing Argus and his troubling crash through the pipe panel gate (it was the second time in 48 hours he had "challenged" fencing), he expressed concern that I might cater too much to Argus' strange quirks without realizing it, perhaps partly because I am a mother, and mothers want their children to be happy.

I thought a lot about that comment. It was an interesting correlation.

For my children, it is my deepest desire and goal to help them become secure, well adjusted human beings who can transition into the world as independent, decent adults with a strong sense of character and responsibility. Catering to them only for the moment --- and enabling them to make unreasonable demands on the world --- does not serve them. At the same time, my expectations of them must be age appropriate, and fair. A parent is a teacher, after all, bringing children along in much the same way as we bring a young horse along, incrementally, sensibly, with kindness and boundaries.

The same is true with Argus. He, an equine toddler, is learning the ways of the world. I must protect him while slowly giving him chances to learn in a safe way. It's a tricky balancing act, especially when that toddler weighs in at 1,000 pounds. I cannot protect him from himself.

This comment came from a woman named Barbara. I shared it with Dr. Miller, who enjoyed it, too. We both agreed that it put into words something neither of us have been able to articulate:

"Meaning well counts for nothing in this world. DOING WELL, creating a positive result, counts for EVERYTHING. I believe man's ability to do something positive, to take action, is one of the reasons God created us, and our basic purpose for living. When we do actual good, create a positive outcome, we receive a gift of fulfillment or happiness that no purchased thing or momentary "fun" could match.
It takes risking our comfort zones, our security, and the possibility of failure, to adopt a neglected or abused 1,000 pound animal that may live to be 30, may never be servicable, and has issues to work through simply to handle him for his own safety and care. For 16 years other people watched, and did not approve, but did not act. You took that risk, and I can tell from your posts, you are already experiencing some of the rewards. More will come, from the most unexpected quarters.
I am confident that at the right time the right person will find your Argus, and give him a new life that will also make you happy. It may be days, it may be years, but the next Katie will come. Argus, too, has found a purpose. To be an inspiration, to set an example that when we have been confined for a lifetime in a physical or mental prison, all hope is not lost, and we may yet be redeemed. God bless you, and thank you, for doing good."

- Barbara


Anonymous said...

So very well said!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to check on Argus tonight before I go to bed.
I'm sorry he is sore but I'm so glad it wasn't worse...he is going to get better.
I think you are doing a great job with his schooling, which is letting the poor guy learn to be a horse.
Please tell the people who were involved with the PMU mare that I am so sorry about the loss.

butterflygirls4 said...

I agree! Well said!
Give Argus a hug for us. I'm so happy to hear that he's doing okay.

Claudia said...

That's very well said! I hope Argus feels all right.

Anonymous said...

I ahve just come across your blog... and can't stop reading it!
What an amazing job you are doing. This horse is a challange I can see but how rewarding and loving the partnership is.
Well done and all the very best.
(don't have a blog hence the Anon part....)


Holly said...

you aren't spoiling him, Argus can't help himself right now, he doesn't have the self confidence or the past history to know he shouldn't attempt to run through gates. You have to work with him where he is in his learning curve, not where he might be if he had a more normal history.

I think you are doing fine. And you learned something from this too, he needs....repeat that word, needs, to be able to get back to his "safe zone". So now you know you won't lock him out again.

It is a steep learning curve for both of you and Argus is one lucky dude to have you help him.

Anonymous said...


I was just wondering how Argus is feeling. Hopefully he is mending nicely.
You guys take care!

Anonymous said...

Is this the Watermark Farm in Fulton?

I just came across this blog. I am so delighted to find it, it really warmed my heart!!
God bless all you are doing for this horse.

I'm going to go catch up on the posts =)

Anonymous said...

Ok, getting worried here! Why no update this week, is everything ok? I've been sad all week not to hear about Argus. No matter how bad my day is going it cheers me greatly to check in on you and Argus. Hope all is well...