First, a response to some of the comments on my choice of Winston over RA. I completely agree that RA is the better quality horse; that he is beautiful, elegant, uncomplicated and light in the contact. He has amazing gaits. He could do FEI level dressage and I'm sure he will. All things being equal, he would have been my choice. However, all things are not equal... RA is prohibitively expensive ($25,000). I would have had to take out a major loan to get him or empty the kid's college fund. Neither one is acceptable. If I had him, I would feel obligated to put him in regular training and do the big shows. I would fuss and worry about him getting hurt. I would guard my investment and stress over every loan payment. If he had a career ending injury, I would never be able to buy another horse. I've been there. It is the way I am when I have an expensive horse. I get stressed. Stressed about money and stressed about progressing. Winston is very affordable. I have the money. He has a great attitude (his ears were never pinned), he's fun, he comes from great dressage lines on his dam's side (the Hanoverian), and he can progress as far as I want to go. If we never get past 2nd level, that's okay with me. If we get to third or fourth, hot dog. I can take Winston camping or on the trail and not worry about him getting scratched up. He's athletic but rugged. And, I've always loved Appys with a white blanket pattern. I think he's stunning in his own way. I am (if all goes well) getting a trail, dressage, mustang, warmblood horse. All things I love...
Saturday while Brett and I were driving home after trying Winston, my cell phone rang. It was Amy, the neighbor taking care of our animals while we were off horse hunting. She was a bit breathless and talking very fast. I didn't catch everything but enough to understand that Bella was hurt. Badly.
Amy had come over to the house to do the afternoon chores. She had put hay in the goat feeder and was getting ready to leave their area when she heard a horrible goat scream. Bella had jumped into the top of the goat hay feeder and then somehow had gotten her leg caught. When she tried to jump out, she hung herself upside down. Amy got her leg unstuck and it instantly gushed blood. Lots and lots of blood. Amy had the good sense to call our vet (we share the same vet), and together with the help of a neighbor, they got the bleeding stopped. It took a lot of direct pressure and a bit of a tourniquet. Amy wrapped the leg and held poor Bella who was weak and in shock from the loss of blood. Amy said she would check on Bella every few hours. We weren't sure if our little jumping goatie girl was going to make it. We were five hours away from home.
When we got home, we stopped the car on the driveway and checked on Bella before going to the house. We opened the top of the dutch door and Brett shined his flashlight inside. There she was, standing and looking at us. I had been bracing myself for the worst so it was a huge relief to see her standing there.
Sunday morning, Brett went down the mountain and bought supplies to build a hinged lid on the feeder. I sat with Bella for awhile.
When he got home, I changed the dressing on Bella's leg. It wasn't bleeding and, while sore, seemed to be healing well. Amy came over to see Bella and to show us where, exactly, Bella had caught her foot.
As she was leaving, Amy asked if she could come over and check on Bella over the next few days. Since when do guardian angels need permission to visit their charges? Cats have nine lives. Bella has Amy.