Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Under The Stars

For Argus, the last six days have been full of happiness and excitement. At 16 years old, he is becoming a real horse.

When I last left you, not quite a week ago, Argus was celebrating his first pasture experience. It went so well that the following day, I turned Argus out with Odie, our mule and Half Pint, our draft horse (both of whom would rather eat and visit than run). On Friday, I added Dancer, the creaky old Thoroughbred boarder. He's the herd boss. Dancer is the only one of the pasture geldings that has not been turned out with Argus before. Dancer gave Argus his signature evil eye, then turned back to his hay. All was well. During those three days, Argus spent the entire day turned out --- from 9 until 5 --- looking as if he'd lived this way his whole life. I could not believe it.

On Saturday, I added the fourth and final pasture friend, Buster, an energetic 19-year-old Thoroughbred who boards with us. Buster and Argus are friends. Again, no drama.

Argus handled being led out to the pasture gate like a seasoned pro. He stepped inside the gate nicely, and swung around to face me for un-haltering, the way I had taught him. Even when a pasture horse approached to investigate, Argus stood quietly, waiting for me to finish and turn him loose. He walked away casually, Odie snuggled against his side. They were off to hunt for surviving clumps of grass together.

On Sunday, Argus went out early, at breakfast time, joining the small group for a meal. He stood along the fenceline, munching hay happily out of a feeder. He discovered that he can make Odie move with just a glance. Buster, too. It seems that Argus has fallen into the middle of the pecking order. He is not quite sure what it all means, but he wields his newfound authority with grace and ease, a regal Thoroughbred through and through.

The strange thing about all of this is that I have never introduced a horse into our pasture group with so little drama. The geldings have accepted him into their little herd, and Argus is handling it all beautifully. No pacing or running, and only the occasional bit of weaving. Argus weaves to relieve stress. He reminds me, when he weaves, of a child sucking its thumb.

Every evening over the past week, I have brought Argus back to his stall and paddock, where he sighed with relief and attacked his bucket of grain. He seemed happy to be back in his "room" and at peace about being separated from the pasture crew.

Last night, Argus looked so content. He was eating his dinner with his new friends, and something in his eyes made me hang his halter back on the fence. I decided that I would let him stay out all night. Late last night, I walked out in my pajamas to check on him. He was resting peacefully under the stars.


SOSHorses said...

I expect that Argus has finally decided it would be ok to relax just a little. Maybe it isn't a dream after all.

Thank you for keeping us up to date on your sweet boy. I check everyday to see if there is a new Argus story.

Argus' foster mom... said...

I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading these comments so much. I read every one of them (they come to me individually via email) and am routinely brought to tears by your words.

I am honored and blessed to have so many people with whom to share this story.

Thank you!

--Katie, Argus' foster mom

athena_arabians said...

Oh, that is so wonderful. I look every day for an update on Argus. When I have read it I almost always cry but they are happy tears, this old horse reminds me of why I love horses so much: They by far the most good natured animal there is. They are so big they could do anything they want and not notice the little human beside them but they still chose to follow us when we lead them in a tiny rope.

Many greetings to you and Argus from a Sweden which is starting to welcome Spring!


elaines630 said...

Reading this was such a nice way to start my day. Thank you so much for all that you do to help horses like Argus.

Holly said...

I have GOT to quit reading this at work (teary grin).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us updated. I love to check in and see how he's doing. I have recently adopted of slaughter pony, and have been going through many of the same experiences as you.

only1fugly4me said...

I'm so happy for and proud of Argus. He is an inspiration for all.
By yesterday the sun had melted through the thick (some places three to four feet) of snow and there were a few tiny shoots of green grass determinedly poking their way up through the cold mountain soil. Today it is covered with snow again, but the sun is shining. It is a pretty good analogy for life in general. Spring has to be very determined to chase winter away here and sometimes needs summer's help.
I'm happy Argus is finding some relaxing moments with friends and the determined shoots of grass.

Jami said...

Every time I read about the gains Argus makes I find myself welling up with tears. Katie, I can see that Argus is giving you so much in return and subsequently your stories and the impact it leaves on you gives back so much to me. Thank you for this post. Sometimes it helps me get through my day.

Anonymous said...

i've been following argus' story for a couple months now and i have to say THANK YOU for letting us in on his amazing journey in "heaven." it's people like you and horses like him that remind me why i'm in vet school and keep me going day by day :)

Anonymous said...

Gaia and Epona are with out doubt looking down on you and giving you their strongest praise and blessings for all you have done for Argus!

Again. Your words and his marvelous recovery bring me to tears

Anonymous said...

Gaia and Epona are with out doubt looking down on you and giving you their strongest praise and blessings for all you have done for Argus!

Again. Your words and his marvelous recovery bring me to tears

Anonymous said...

I too check for updates almost daily... and Katie your beautiful writing about Argus' amazing journey ALWAYS ends up with big wet drops on the keyboard (I must be careful not to fall victim to a dead laptop too!)

Here my horses are just getting their winter coats despite our indian summer keeping autumn at bay. Not many horse keepers here have to face snow, but we certainly battle with boggy mud as you do.

Kiwigal - New Zealand

Anonymous said...

Argus has come so far mentally in such a short time. Horses are truly amazing creatures!

I'm so happy for Argus.

Also, God bless you for your kind and loving heart. Thanks for taking such good care of him and sharing his story with us all.


a touch wild said...

I check all the time for updates.

And this one, like many, moved me to tears.

Thank you. Give him a pat for me!


louie said...

I enjoyed reading your post. I just found out that there are plenty of techniques which can be used to relief stress. I tried some of them and they work pretty well for me. Give it a try at http://www.howtorelievestress.org

topcterv said...

i also check for argus' updates... and smile as tears stream down my face. what a wonderful story and what amazing progress this grand old man had made!!! there is a special place for angels like you and plenty of grateful hooved friends waiting there to thank you!!!

Ameh said...

Reading this update of Argus has made a tear come to my eye, while a smile was on my face =)

Hope aka gratefulknits said...

Like the other commenters, I'm moved to tears. No one, human or animal, should have to wait until his 16th year to be baptized by starlight. Bless you for giving Argus his birthright, Katie. And thank you for sharing this tale of redemption with a world that doesn't see enough of it.

Hope Becklund

Anonymous said...

I must say, I enjoy reading this blog ten times over. Talk about a stress reliever! It's so nice to see a new post, always nicely written :).

I saw your ad on baen and I think my mom and I are going to stop by for the sale.

Maybe the herd knows Argus is special and needs care and consideration more so than other horses.
What a great boy.

PaintedPromise said...

i feel like an echo but i too am so often moved to tears by the updates on Argus. i am so very glad that this sweet boy found you and that you are sharing his story with the world. i love to go out just before bed and say goodnight to my herd, it's the perfect way to end the day.

Schnitzie said...

Many blessings and thanks to you, Katie, from Brooklyn, NY, where Argus has become a frequent topic of conversation for my family. I turned my mother and brothers on to your wonderful, heart-filled blog, and we are all following Argus' story.

Spending the night in the pasture, Argus is the brightest star in the Heaven you have made for him.

Thank you, Katie, for loving him and believing in him.

PJ said...


I am so happy I found your blog, I remember reading on another forum about Argus, and then I lost track, Fhotd is where I found the addy for your blog! I am so happy Argus is making such great strides. I read through all of the posts and comments, there were many tears and also many smiles. You are a very gifted writer. Your eloquence shines through, as well as your huge heart. I agree with so many, you should write a novel.
Blessing to you and all of your charges,