Saturday, December 19, 2009

Grateful Blanketing

It may sound silly, but I feel so happy when I blanket Argus.

As with any old horse, I casually throw the big green horse jacket up over his back, where I tug and slide it until it's in position. Argus eats his grain and regards me a bit warily, but stands. Alone in the barn, I am grinning.

Buckle the chest, buckle the belly straps. Pull Argus' unfairly enormously thick tail (I swear to God, this horse has the hair of 10 horses) out from behind the poop-encrusted elastic tail strap. Say "good boy!" in my most pleased tone, offer a grateful chest rub, and slip out the door.

Contrast this with two years ago.

Argus is standing, shaking with cold, in the dark, in a paddock. He has been out of prison only two weeks now. He is not sure if any of this is real. I death-grip the halter while carefully, carefully sliding the accordion-folded blanket over his withers. He is ready to explode, but you can tell he's trying to trust me. It takes 20 minutes of coaxing and crooning to the wild-eyed Argus to get the blanket on. Afterward, as he stands, warm at last, I swear he gets it. He gets what the blanket is for.

Or a year ago.

Blanketing had become a kind of dance. Haltered, Argus would now stand, quivering but calm in his own strange way, for the first part of blanketing, the blanket-over-the-withers part. Argus would stand for the chest buckling part. But the pulling-the-blanket-back-over-the-body part made him lurch forward. One hand on his lead rope, another on the blanket. We'd get the job done. But it wasn't always that much fun.

And this account doesn't even address the unblanketing part, which is to say it was only the aforementioned in reverse, only more exciting.

That is why, as I stood tonight under the stonewashed gray-black of a misty December sky, blanketing Argus as you would any old horse, I felt a wash of gratitude at this remarkable accomplishment. In saving Argus, I often think I've saved that part of myself that, child-like, finds meaning in everyday miracles. I smiled to myself, saying reverently "for this, I am grateful!"


Holly said...

it's nothing less than a miracle.

of your making.

Merry Christmas Argus and Co!

Sydney said...

That is amazing. Some horses get the blanket right away others it takes a wile.

excaliber813 said...

“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”
Marie Lloyd
It is through your love and devotion that the true "Miracle of Argus" has come full circle.

Blessings to all @ Watermark Farm for a wonderful Christmas and joyous New Year!

Anonymous said...

Oh Kate. You are Argus' miracle.

kbryan said...

What a lovely, uplifting post. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. Thank you for all that you do!

cdncowgirl said...

Your tales of Argus and his coming to life bring back the child-like wonder to more than a few of us :)

ps - its only fair that he have a thick, luscious, glorious tail after all he's been through. Including losing his tail when he was first freed. lol

KD said...

"In saving Argus, I often think I've saved that part of myself that, child-like, finds meaning in everyday miracles. I smiled to myself, saying reverently "for this, I am grateful!"

AMEN ! Merry Christmas!

Buckskins Rule said...

Even horses who have had the good life can blanket phobias. Our 6 year old paint gelding, who has always had the good life, is, at times, a bit of a challenge to blanket/unblanket. We jokingly refer to it as "Chinese Blanket Torture".

While you've taught Argus to accept the blanket with relish, the most important lessons are they ones you have allowed him to teach you.

Jessica said...

Ah, Kate. You have truly done miracles for him, and for that and for his story, many of us are grateful.

And, just so you know, Lena--who has never been abused, only vaguely terrified by me and her own blanket--still does the blanket dance every year. Just until she gets really cold, though.

Keep smiling, and happy holidays!

PaintedPromise said...

Katie your blanket comparisons are incredible, once again i have tears i can't decide are happy or sad. dear, dear Argus!!!!! Merry Christmas to you, buddy, and to all your family and friends at Watermark Farm!

barrelracingmom said...

Merry Christmas to you, Argus and all the gang!

kerrie said...

Certainly a long but rewarding road. Truly inspiring as we read and watched the miracle of Argus unfold.

Blessings to you and your family in this coming new year.

Rising Rainbow said...

I've had a couple of horses who had no reason to trust humans and needed to be blanketed so I can relate to the appreciation for a task that has become "normal" for the horse.

Wishing you and Argus a very Happy New Year!

Michelle said...

This is my first visit to your site and you already brought tears to my eyes. I'm looking forward to more of your story with Argus.

mgibs17 said...

Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.
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