Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Long, Dry Spell


"No pressure," starts one e-mail, "but it's been a long time, and we'd really like to know what is happening with Argus."

So begins one of the many e-mails that have started coming in of late, making me feel sheepish and guilty. Busy with family, work and life, with little energy for creativity, I have been hiding from myself, bled dry by a strange run of bad luck at Watermark Farm.

The gray cloud that began with the death of our sweet old horse, Deema, and continued with Argus' illness and a string of troublesome events at Watermark Farm, ended one day in July, as strangely and suddenly as it began. I stepped on a board long lurking in some tall weeds, its principal thorn a three inch nail that plunged through my shoe, shock and foot. Screaming in pain and sobbing for my mother (in the end, only the bashful but sweet house painters working nearby would do), I thought, with an odd kind of relief: "It's over! My run of bad luck is over!"

And it was. It is.

What I've realized lately is that not only does the world need good news in the form of stories about Argus and his friends, but I need that good news, too. I've missed reading about Argus, too.

It's ironic that, in the midst of all my troubles, Argus, who has needed so much for so long, remained steadfast, a brave little white knight living quietly out in pasture, when everything else around me seemed to be coming unglued.

The whole gang is back together again --- Argus, Half Pint the Percheron, Odie the Mule and (Yes!) Ridge of the Broken Pelvis. The book-ends are together once again, Ridge having healed enough to be transitioned back into turnout (You can insert Ridge's emphatic "Hallelujah!" here) over the course of the summer. Argus was thrilled to be back with his soul-mate. It's harder than ever to tell the two apart when they are grazing far away out in pasture. This year, however, Argus' tail is LONGER than Ridge's. In fact, he's got the most amazing, thick, wavy, wonderful tail of any horse on the ranch.


Last night my daughter, Demi, came in from feeding. "Mom," she said proudly, "Argus has become a real love bug. He actually wanted to come in to a paddock tonight, and he wanted me to pet him!" She gave me a big, wide grin while we discussed plans for a weekend "Beauty Treatment" for Argus (a fancy way of saying we will groom him, bang his tail, and trim his mane and whiskers).

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that, after all this time (It's been nearly 21 months since Argus escaped from prison), this sweet old soul is still making progress. They are little things, new things, that no one would think twice about, like Argus 'asking' to come into a paddock for a few hours in the evening, or trotting across an entire pasture just to greet me at the fence. He's not a demonstrative horse, or a "pocket pony" in any way. He's just Argus, quiet, somewhat aloof, but tender and deep.

Argus loves our horse trailer, and associates it with excitement: the arrival or departure of a horse, mostly Odie, as he travels to and from Pony Club meetings, lessons and horse shows. Our driveway runs along one side of the pasture, and every time I come home, horse trailer in tow, Argus is there, head raised, body quivering with a nervous pleasure, leading the procession of equine greeters that stand along the pasture fence. He gives a shrill call, "Helloooo!" and then is the first to gallop back to the barn, where he will greet his long-lost (or so he thinks) pasture-mate with glee.

Odie has been coming and going a lot this summer, his horse show schedule keeping him busier than ever. He and Demi did well at the county fair this year, coming home with reserve high point and a ticket to the State Fair "Best of Show" horse show at Cal Expo in Sacramento. (They will compete in the English Equitation division there on September 3rd) They also competed in the "Fun in the Sun" Pony Club rally in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, braving 110-degree heat and coming away with Demi's highest Training Level, Test 1 score ever, 66% (pretty good for a mule who doesn't really go on the bit).




If you've stayed awake long enough to make it through the photos of my kid and her mule, then I've got a wonderful surprise for you! I am pleased to introduce the NEW Sonoma CHANGE Program blog. The CHANGE Program is the organization that helped Animal Control take Argus and Bobby out of their lifelong prison. It was a fledgling non-profit in 2007, and Argus was their first official foster horse. Since then, I've become a volunteer and supporter of their efforts.

I hope you'll enjoy this new weekly blog, edited by yours truly! (And check back here for more updates on Argus and friends. We're back on a weekly basis)

~Katie, Argus and the entire gang at Watermark Farm


excaliber813 said...

Hooray!!! You're back!!!!
WE MISSED ALL OF YOU.............
I was just getting ready to send "that email" asking how everbody is doing? I, for one am very excited to read your newest update. So good to hear Argus, Ridge, Odie, and Half Pint are all doing well. I just finished reading the Sonoma Change Program Blog~ It will be part of my weekly reading Thanks!

"He's just Argus, quiet, somewhat aloof, but tender and deep."


Thoughts & Prayers to all @ Watermark Farm


Anonymous said...

I think it's awesome that the run of bad luck is over! Blue skies from now on, with occasional showers to keep us humble! AND.......Argus has a butt!!! OMG!! :o) He looks wonderful and I'm so glad that Ridge is able to join the herd again. Will look forward to checking in to see what's going on at Watermark!

Holly said...

I was wondering how Argus was doing, but news is good news.

I am so glad that he continues to expand his comfort levels and is now an Offical Greeter for Watermark Farm. Can you imagine what he is saying to the new arrivals?

"Hey! Welcome to our home! You will LOVE it here. Lots of food, lots of good company...and the humans...the humans are so GOOD to us!"

"By the way, my name is Argus and I live here full time! It's great! Welcome aboard! Maybe if you are lucky you can live here full time too!"

Della Micah said...

Yay! So glad to read about Argus and everyone again. Thanks for a beautiful post.

Susan said...



Rose said...

Hooray Hooray Hooray! I have missed you. So glad the gang is doing well. How's your foot?

cdncowgirl said...

*hugh sigh of relief*
I have to admit I was getting curious about why you haven't been around lately, but I was too scared that it was bad news.
I'm very glad to hear that your run of bad luck is over and you've all been busy and well. :)
OH! And for the first time ever 9that I've seen) we had a mule at our provincial barrel racing finals! He was ridden by a young girl (under 8) and was a gorgeous roan.

Anonymous said...

Missed you. But really.. there was no pressure. Myself I know how busy life gets when you have family, business and animals. It was a rough spring, early summer of injuries here. Blown curbs, pulled tendons. Lame horses.

Congratulations to your daughter. Quite the accomplishment. Keep up the good work there kiddo!

I am very happy that Ridge has recovered and is back within the herd. And am sorry to hear about the passing of Deema.


barrelracingmom said...

Yay!! I've missed you and the whole gang. Thanks so much for updating us.

Ellie Mae Today said...

Oh Katie, it is wonderful to have an update on you and all your critters.

Is that Argus' real tail or did you get him extensions? It is gorgeous.

Your daughter looks so darn cute on Odie - she has really accomplished so much with him. You must be so very proud of her. Is Odie stubborn?

That is great about the Sonoma change program! Please let Dr. Miller know that I a donation in his honor.

Thank you for the wonderful update!


pchoofinit said...

I too was getting very worried about your absence. Pleased that all is well, now. So sorry about your foot, can only imagine the pain. Argies looks wonderful and I too am glad that Ridge pulled thru. It sure would've hard to say goodbye to another family member this year. God knows how much you've lost already. Hopefully now, only blue skies will prevail over Watermark Farm. I love the mule in Pony club. You daugher looks so proud and so does Odie!

buckpony said...

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO great to have an update! Glad everyone is doing well, but so sorry to hear about your foot. Gads, that must have been awful!
I absolutely love the photos of your precious daughter and Odie - too cool that they are so involved in Pony Club - what a wonderful organization.
Thank you again for the wonderful update - happy to hear you are back to blogging, too!

Anonymous said...


Buckskins Rule said...

I must confess to a mild sigh of relief. One is of course left wondering weather the silence means all is well, or whether the worst has come to pass.

Glad to hear all is finally well, and that the streak of bad luck has passed, even if it meant a nail in the foot.

Misae Silverfall said...

So good to hear an update about Argus and the rest of the crew there. :)

A Bay Horse said...

Thanks for the update. I think Odie is adorable too.

Anonymous said...

Great to read your Argus report. Thanks very much,

PaintedPromise said...

yay you are back!!!!! i had almost given up checking... I MISSED ARGUS! and, i missed YOU. your writing style is amazing and i enjoy it SO MUCH. you really bring me, through your words, right to Watermark Farm!

sorry to hear about the nail - i stepped on a rake and it impaled me :( but it healed quickly. now when i stepped on a toothpick IN THE HOUSE, of course THAT got horribly infected... i hope you heal quickly!!!

i will add the CHANGE blog to my links too!!!!

PaintedPromise said...

oops forgot to say, congrats and GREAT JOB to Demi and Odie too!

Anonymous said...

'We're back on a weekly basis)'....

hmmmm..... hasn't it now been TWO weeks?!?! :P C'mon, you admitted it, it makes you feel better to write - and we need your updates too. So, apply fingers to keyboard - pleeeasse.

Seriously, like everyone here I'm so glad your craptastic time is now behind you and you've just got a regular hectic summer/fall ahead. And what great news that Ridge is on the mend and no longer acting the crazed stallion and that Argus is doing so well.

It's easy to give great care through the good times - it takes a great person like you to take such excellent care through the crap times, each and every one of them is a great testament to you Katie - YOU just need to believe it - we all do!

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