Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bedtime Stories

It's been a busy time here at the farm, with two horse shows back-to-back (pictures of Odie the mule jumping cross country to come). Argus felt good after his work with Dr. Guyton, and he's continued to straighten out and build muscle. He's a lot more in his body these days.

Argus has been rather naughty lately, but in a good way. A "normal" horse way, the way you'd expect a 2-year-old horse to be. He and Ridge escaped the pasture a few nights ago (I left the gate open), and spent one glorious hour wandering around the grounds at dusk, before my son said "Hey mom! There are two white ghosts in the yard!"

I ignored Ethan, because it was bedtime and he's famous for his diversionary tactics. We went back to reading "Giant Tales" and I nudged him under the covers. After a few minutes, Ethan peered out his window and said "I think there are horse ghosts in the yard." His eyes twinkled. I peered out to look: Sure enough, two faint white ghosts roamed the perimeter of the vegetable garden, plotting.

Outside, Argus and Ridge stood staring at my tomatoes. Argus, who could not see the chicken wire fence of the veggie garden, plunged half-heartedly into the fencing. My heart stopped as I calmly took off my sweatshirt, cooing to him. I was thinking: We've come too far to lose him to a vegetable garden accident!

Dear Argus stood with his characteristic quizzical expression while I wrapped my sweatshirt around his neck. He led back to the barn like this was part of our daily routine, Ridge shuffling shamefully alongside him. The two horses sighed, their adventure in the "outside world" cut short. They seemed relieved to go back into the pasture.

I wonder how curious Argus is about this outside world. I've written before about how excited he is to see the trailer now. Sunday was no exception. Early Sunday morning, we loaded Odie the mule and Ginger the Shetland pony for a show in Marin County. Argus watched calmly, now used to the appearance of the trailer on weekend mornings, the slow disappearance of his friends down the bumpy gravel driveway, and their long-awaited return at day's end.

When we returned late that evening after a long, dusty day, Argus greeted Odie warmly at the gate. Odie rolled, shook out the last of his braids, and high-tailed it out to pasture. Argus followed dutifully behind. I wondered what their campfire stories would be like that night, with Odie impressing his pasture mates with tall tales of monster jumps. Ridge, I am sure, was one-upping him with stories of his dressage career. Dueling old show horses in the field.

Argus, I can imagine, listened intently, his eyes wide, just like a little boy tucked under the covers enjoying a bedtime story.


J said...

I'm so thankful that you were there for Argus. I do small animal rescue, and it gives me such comfort that there are more compassionate people around trying to bring a little bit of light into a dark world.

hope4more said...

Ugh I am just so sad for Argus, all the things he missed out on in his life. He seems like such a good boy and would have been such a fun horse to have and show with, if he had only been given that chance. What you are doing for him is so amazing!

Anonymous said...

again, thank you for writing his story for us here.

cdncowgirl said...

Thanks for the update! And thanks for your advice (I emailed you about my old TB mare).

Anonymous said...

What a funny story! So wonderful to hear that Argus is blooming into a wonderful friend with a great disposition. Keep the updates coming!

Allison in Seattle

Susan said...

I needed a good Argus tale today to lift my spirits; I am so depressed over the loss of Theodore O'Connor. A little story about Argus rooting around in the veggie garden is just what the doctor ordered. I bet he looked at your lettuce and said "Ugh, never eating THAT again!" Looking forward to the Odie jumping pictures.

R.I.P. Teddy

barbara said...

Hee hee hee ghosts in the garden. What a great picture I have in my mind of the two of them sniffling and whuffling in the dusk, everything they'd seen but not been able to get to. However, wheeoo on the great timing at scooping him up at the chicken wire! Thank you ever so much for sharing his life and the lives of your farm wtih us.

Anonymous said...

It is so funny to watch our horses go loose around your property, outside their paddocks, in which they spend 90% of the time. and act as if you shipped them to Africa on a safari!!! LOL Sniffing and snorting at all the strange things, they normally see all the time, from the other side of the fence.!!!! Its wonderful they didn't get hurt outside. Thanks for the shirt as a lead line idea, thats a new one for me.
Patti C. Connecticut

Anonymous said...

Argus may not have been down the driveway yet, but he has a life that is so BIG that it means something to people on the other side of the world. Wishing him every joy, from Australia.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for updating, I have been dying to know how Argus is getting on.

Black Money said...

So glad to hear that Argus is still making such huge improvements!

Your follower in Aus,

topcterv said...

oh my katie... your writing absolutely moves me to tears each and every time i check in. this saga of argus just must become a book... i think of how joyous each day is now for him and truly grieve for his lost time...what you have and will accomplish for and with him is wonderful and i go out and hug my barn friends each night and think of argus and how happy his life is now...thank you for continuing to share his exploits... especially the naughty ;)ones... i smile as the tears run doen my face!!!

Aisha said...


Today is my first visit to your blog, and I have been engrossed in reading Argus' story for hours! I wish there were more people like you, willing and able to take horses in desperate need of love and quality care. My first horse was a slaughter bound rescue, and I have taken in several "misfits" and "rejects" over the years. With TLC, every one of them have blossomed into wonderful horses, and gone on to have happy and productive lives. It consistently amazes me how loving and trusing horses can be after the horrible things they endure. Thank you Katie for all you do, and for shedding light on the difference we can all make in a horses life! And thank you to Dr. Miller and CHANGE for starting such a wonderful program!

Anonymous said...

Any update on the other poor horses from Argus' prison?

Anonymous said...

Yay for updates! Glad to hear Argus is continuing to adapt to 'civilian life'.

Anonymous said...

You are such a good writer. I found your blog through America's Horse and I have enjoyed reading about Argus so much! You are doind wonderful things for all the horses you have to care for!

Schnitzie said...

Katie, I am so glad the chiro work has helped Argus. I love how you say that he is "in his body." Which is as it should be for a horse!

Argus' nighttime escape to the garden with Ridge is such a simple and delightful tale. More proof of his curiosity, eagerness to explore, and the concomitant recession of his fears. Mere naughtiness in one horse is a miracle in Argus.

Thank you for the updates. Continued blessings on you, your family, and all the people devoted to helping and loving Argus and all the horses in the Change program.


Mrs Mom said...

Great to see Argus doing so well, and acting like a happy, healthy horse these days. It must fill your soul with pure joy to see how happy he is, and the changes you have helped him make.

Way to go!

Looking forward to Odie jumping pics too. That is one handsome Mule man you have there! (Love those Long Ears!)

Maybe Mae said...

He led back to the barn like this was part of our daily routine, Ridge shuffling shamefully alongside him.

That cracked me up! I'm glad I found your I'll go back and read from the beginning to learn about this amazing horse's recovery.

Anonymous said...


Once again I am overjoyed with a new "Argus Adventure" I can imagine the stories, and Argus urging Odie..........tell me more, tell me more!

Blessings to all

robin said...

LOL, thanks Katie, I enjoyed this installment of "Argus and Ridge's Excellent Adventure". What a funny thing to picture, two horse ghosts shuffling around the vegetable garden, and then having a sheepish look on their faces at being caught. :o)Thanks for the smile today.

Robin Tx.