It has been a cold week at our Albergue Garcia Farm along the Front Range in Colorado. The snow has been very welcomed as our poor Black Forest area has been in such a drought. All of the trees are covered with snow and ice and it looks like a winter wonderland out there. The days are getting a little longer each day which has also been welcomed. If you look carefully you can see the chickens still have their Christmas lights up. They insisted.
Things have slowed down quite a bit. The chickens stay in their house almost the entire day except for an occasional stroll outside their house to see what the ducks are doing. The ducks never seem to be bothered by the cold. They quack and quarrel and waddle around like nothing is unusual. The pigs (Yes, Bonnie’s boyfriend Willy is still here eating us out of house and home) lie around in their little A frame house wondering what my hubby and I are going to fix them for dinner. The alpacas are not fazed by the cold with their thick alpaca blankets on. The cows find shelter in their barns or under the trees and seem content as well. It helps that the wind is not blowing hard today because that would definitely make the cold worse. The little birdies such as the pigmy nuthatch, the white breasted nuthatch and the Juncos are all still quite active, digging through the snow to get to their feeders and let us know when they need to be refilled with wild bird seed. The Magpies and Stellar Jays and Owls are still adding their songs to the quiet days and nights of winter here. Every once in awhile a squirrel will come out of their warm tree house and check out what the birdies have left in their feeders. I don’t have a heart to chase them away during the winter.
However, our sweet horse Gracie has been having the hardest time on our farm these past couple of weeks. She has had bouts of laminitis in the past and her present bout seems to be the worst. The vet has been out 3 times and we have been giving her Banamine for her pain in her front legs. The Bute just didn’t work anymore like it used to. Dr. Parker also started her on Equioxx, another nonsteroidal antinflammatory medication. Because she was showing very little improvement, she had blood tests done that have returned positive for Cushing’s Disease. This illness is also seen in humans and results from your body’s exposure to high levels of the hormone cortisol that your body makes from increased secretion of ACTH by the pituitary gland. For Gracie’s Cushing Disease, we have started her on Prascend which is a dopamine receptor agonist. This means that it helps to block the effects of this increased hormone secretion which has led to her pot belly, increased body hair, increased fat deposits over her mane area and worst of all, her cruel laminitis.
I am a doctor and have treated many children through my career. I feel so helpless now with my horse. I have done everything the vet has instructed me to with strict dietary changes and herbal supplements as well as giving her meds on time throughout the day. The bottom line is I love my horse and I do not want to lose her. I want to show you how amazing she has been and still is. Here she is when she picked me out to be her Mom in 2002 at the Rescue Center in Black Forest.
Here she is when I first started to ride her and she was always good as gold and took such good care of me when I was still so afraid of horse back riding.
She has always been good with children. When my grandson Solomon was a toddler he would push around one of those old fashioned popcorn popper push toys and one day while I was saddling up Gracie and Glory in the barn for my hubby and I to ride, Solomon walked right under Gracie and Glory pushing the popcorn popper along before I could stop him. Gracie looked at Glory bewildered and not sure what to do. I looked at Gracie and Glory and pleaded with my eyes for them not to move. I could almost hear Glory, the older horse who passed away 2 years ago saying to young Gracie, “Just breathe and don’t move a muscle. It will be okay.” Those 2 horses stood there like statues, spread legged, trusting and not spooking. So amazing. Here is another one of my grandchildren Gryphon at 4 years of age leading Gracie around the round pen. Also look at the pictures of Gracie rodeoing with Cheyenne her little friend when they were both much younger and both learning the ropes. Gracie has cared for and entertained a lot of my loved ones through the years.
I remember when my sweet little Pintarabian Premarin farm rescue pony used to run in the pastures with her tail up like a flag and when she would get irritated she would snort and fart at the same time. So beautiful and funny and silly. My hubby would say, “Now Gracie, that is not very lady like!” I am praying that she will improve and be able to do that someday again. She has had to be in a barn stall with a small well sanded corral for several years now and unable to go out on the pastures to graze as before because the fresh grass was injurious to her belly and most of all her feet. I spend a lot of time with her brushing her and talking to her and feeding her meds to her with a little of her senior grain supplement by a bucket I hold for her. I have prayed for her, sang to her, cried with her and just stood close to her when she needed it most. I want the best for her. I want her to know that she is just as dear and valuable to me whether she can be ridden or not. Just her company is a great gift to me. She knows a lot about me that I have shared with her over the years. She does not judge me by my political leanings nor the fact that I have become out of shape and gained weight and my barn clothes never match. She doesn’t care that my hair has turned to gray and become more unruly especially during these Covid Can’t Go to the Beauty Shop Days. She does not think any less of me for retiring. She is the animal picture of unconditional love.
Oh, I hope and pray we can all break out of the corrals we have have found ourselves fenced in with during this Covid pandemic. We need to be able to run and enjoy ourselves and be silly as well. I am so glad I have had my husband here with me working from home to keep me company during these trying lonely times. And I am so glad I have my Saviour Jesus to watch over me and feed me with His word and care for me lovingly and unconditionally as only He can do. His word says that He sings over us. Isn’t that something? The God of the whole universe cares enough to sing over me! I need that. It is getting harder to walk through this trying time. Sometimes it feels so hard to just put one foot in front of the other. I often feel so unput together. I am so glad you are walking along with me too. I want to be a comfort for you as well. We need each other. Listen and you can hear the Lord whispering in our ears, “It’s going to be okay, just hold on to Me. I am here right beside you and will never leave.”
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.