Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Foal Tails

Kids Will be Kids
Part 2 of Darren Devil

Horses can’t remain lying flat, for extended periods of time. It creates all kinds of problems, and there was no way of knowing how long, little Darren Devil had been under the stall dividers for. Besides that, it was winter, and the ground frozen hard, as well as bitterly cold. We managed to get him into the barn, despite the colt not being able to walk. It wasn’t easy. Now several months old, it was impossible to lift and carry him like I did the day I brought him home. Thankfully, my friend Del was ridiculously strong for his age. No slouch when it came to any sort of work, we, along with the sweet, tiny woman who owned the property along with her husband, carried Darren into a boxstall. Bedded deep with oat straw, we settled him onto it.
There he lay, without the strength to even lift his head, and he was very cold to touch. Pressing my thumb against his top gum, I wasn’t happy to see how pale pink that went white under the slight pressure was very slow in coming back to pink. When I pinched the skin on his little, cold neck, it didn’t snap right back to shape, yet neither did it remain pinched. Darren needed a drink, yet wasn’t badly dehydrated, which was a huge relief. If we could get him to drink some warm water, it would help considerably.
I called home to let my parents know that I was staying with Darren, as long as it took. If he was going to die, I was going to be with him. As it turned out, they had company, and a more timely visitor couldn’t have stopped by. A cattle farmer, he gave me some excellent advice. I had to get Darren off the cold floor, and as deep as it was, the straw wouldn’t do the trick. We had to create a raised floor of bales, then bed on top of that. He suggested that we prop the colt up between bales as well, and not allow him to lie flat for prolonged times. He worried that Darren would catch pneumonia, and we needed to avoid that, no matter what. He said that if we had some way to lift Darren onto his feet every hour that it would be a great help. When I told Del about all the suggestions, he had a solution. His father had a block and tackle we could use.
Not long after, we had the whole stall set up as per instructions. The block and tackle was attached to the ceiling of the stall, and Darren was as far off the cold floor, as was possible. Piled high with warm blankets with only his little, brown head showing, Darren looked ever so tiny and fragile. We managed to get a little warm water into him, and gave him a vitamin shot, too.
Del’s parents were pretty amazing. Five years younger than I, he was only about eleven or twelve back then, yet they allowed him to stay with me to take care of Darren, the whole night. We alternated between sitting with Darren until we got too cold, and warming up in the entry of the house where we consumed the best, hot chocolate ever.
The night slowly passed by with no change except that when we put a hand under the blankets, there was some warmth. He took a little more warm water now and again, only a sip here and there but at least it was something. What remained worrisome was how lethargic and weak, the poor little guy remained. Del and I had fashioned a sling out of jute, which is similar to burlap, and hoisted Darren to his feet every hour, for a few minutes each time. We massaged his legs and rubbed him all over to help his circulation though he showed no signs of strength, or interest in anything, we still had hope. No matter what, we weren’t going to give up, as long as there was still breath in the little guy.
The first, cold light of dawn was seeping through dusty windows when we finally saw a change. Returning to the barn, we entered to be met with the best sound ever, a quiet, breathlessly weak, nicker of welcome. It was at that very moment, that we knew he was going to make it. My little, Darren Devil had cheated death once again. Of course, there wasn’t a miraculous, instantaneous recovery, yet he improved with each passing hour until I felt like we could go home to eat and really warm up.
By the time we returned, a few hours later, Darren actually tried to help as we hoisted him to his feet. He began eating and drinking, and instead of being dull, as if his inner flame was burning out, the little guy’s eyes began to sparkle with life again. It wasn’t the last time, Darren worried me with the trouble he got into, yet it was definitely one of the worst.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB