Please note, if you are feeling a bit low, you might want to try this post, or maybe this one. There is a Tissue Alert on the one below…


Have you ever seen the movie ‘Sliding Doors’?

You know, with Gwyneth Paltrow, about a split second decision, a momentary change in plans, altering the course of events.

Yesterday, which dawned much as all the days in the week before it had begun, was a ‘Sliding Doors’ day for me.  It was hot. Damned hot. AGAIN.

I was sorting through these images, taken a couple of evenings previous, of our darling little chestnut filly.  We had tossed around names, and some readers on the Facebook Page had chimed in with ideas, but one seemed to stick with her – Pistol Annie. Annie for short.

foal_7398 e

It had been so super-hot with temps reaching up into the mid-40s almost daily.
foal_7399 eExhausting hot.

foal_7400 eEnough to make you wanna nap in the shade, by the trough, near your Mama, hot.

foal_7402 eI remember gazing at these pics thinking ‘how sweet’ and ‘that’ll make people smile’ as she napped behind Yvette’s watchful, grazing form.

foal_7405 eYvette has been proving such a MARVELLOUS Mama.

foal_7406 eRelaxed but protective.  Gentle but insistant. An incredible first-time mother.

foal_7428 e

To me, that afternoon, all seemed well.

Hot, but well.annie_7875 eI loved seeing our other young December foal iTunes come up to her younger companion and try to engage her.

annie_7903 eCome on, she seemed to say… let’s PLAY!

But our Annie didn’t feel like it.  She just wanted to be near her Mama – suckling a lot.

annie_7895 e

I remember thinking, she’s not quite as skippy as iTunes at the same age, but then it IS hot.  No-one felt very skippy.


This shot was taken late two afternoons ago.  As Dash gave the brood mares a little ‘extra’ tidbit over the fence.

annie_7944Yesterday, Mr Incredible fed the mares early morning in the yards, as he always does.

They wandered back out into the paddock, as they always do.

An internet technician arrived around 10am, late after getting lost (as they always do when they don’t ask directions) and then worked on our dodgy satelite connection for almost 5 hours.  I cooked, I ironed, I washed.  I didn’t check on the mares and foals (like I always do) even when I stood outside as the technician climbed a ladder to the roof.  I didn’t look over my shoulder, to the paddock behind me to check.  I didn’t look until after he left. Around 3pm.

As my husband worked on my broken mower, I looked down the paddock.  Yvette standing right out in the open, 20 metres from shade. The foal lying still.  I muttered I had better check them and walked down with no hat, no sunglasses, in the scorching heat.

As I drew closer my heart rose into my mouth and my walk broke into a run.  She wasn’t moving.  As I got closer I saw her eyes were glazed.  I grabbed her head, – her neck stiff.  I yelled.  Too late.

She was gone. She had been gone a couple of hours at least.

While I wasn’t looking.

I cannot begin to describe to you the paralysing ache that fell over our household yesterday.

I cannot share the tears, or the anger, or the self-recrimination that each of us felt for not looking sooner.

Pistol Annie – our sweet whiskered, red-headed, darling-natured, much-aniticipated baby… just 9 days old.  It just seems so… surreal. God-awful. Wrong.

Long discussions with our vet last night have made us ALMOST certain it was heat that got her.  We don’t know for sure if she had an underlying problem, or if perhaps it was snake-bite.  There was not a mark on her, and no bloating to speak of.

She died just 30 metres from a trough full of water,  with two more in a 100 metre radius, and 10 metres from the spot she was born.

annie_7928 e

We left Yvette with her last night – as much as it hurt to see her nudge and call to her unmoving foal, we knew she had to understand that she would not get up again.  We took her away this morning, after Yvette had walked to the yards with Holly and iTunes.
foal_7355 eI am so sorry, little one.

I should have looked.

It might not have made any difference, but the guilt I feel today would not cut quite so bad.

I’m just so sorry.


Please know – I am so grateful to all who have already shared their condolences with us on Facebook.  I am grateful for your incredibly kind words. 

Know also that we will be fine. We will mourn. We will work through it. We will keep going, even if we wobbled a bit yesterday.  We will watch iTunes and Holly very closely.  We will make sure Yvette doesn’t develop mastitis.  And we will take her to another stallion soon.  She deserves to be a mother. 

And THAT foal, I will watch like a bloody hawk.

33 Responses to “Yesterday…”

  1. So sad about Pistol Annie. Life is not always fair is it. My heart hurts for you all. No words can help but know I care.

  2. Poor little thing. There are so many “what-ifs” – nature can be so beautiful but so cruel.
    jeanie´s last blog post ..The Quadrennial Parisienne Review

  3. Oh Amanda, that made me cry. You have such a wonderful heart and I guess Mr I must have the same as you, as you have created 2 loving and sensible children. With what you as parents have taught these two young ones,they will cope with tragedies like this one.
    I can only send cyber hugs to all, and a pat for poor Yvette.

    • Sorry Florence… it’s my way of processing things, I guess. To write them out like this. You are very sweet – a little less tragedy would be nice here. :-)

  4. So sad, boy she was so cute! Things happen and we can’t blame ourselves. Easier said then done though, and i speak from experience. I once left my pet bird (cockatiel) Fred for two days while I went out of town for Thanksgiving. I often did that, and if gone much longer and visiting a place I could I’d take him with me or have someone feed him. I was only gone a few days he had plenty of water and food which he barely touched. The weirdest thing was I had a strange feeling when driving home that something was wrong with him and when I walked into my room he was dead on the bottom of his cage. All of the worst guilt hit me for weeks and to this day I can still cry about it because I feel like I left him to die alone. I’d like to think he was just ill or it was just his time but that nagging feeling that I could have done something is hard to shake. Long comment, sorry, but I wanted you to know I understand the “what-ifs.” Take care of that momma and most importantly take care of yourselves!! Xo

  5. Raised on a farm in Oregon, everything happens for a reason, damnit

  6. Sometimes, shit just happens. Doesn’t make it any better. But that’s life and nature and owning animals I guess.

    • LOL – Oh Sharon. You hit the nail on the head… every time I start getting all existential about these kind of things, I pull myself up short and say those EXACT words. Shit just happens. :-)

  7. I’m so sorry.

  8. Woulda, shoulda, coulda… We torment ourselves with those words, when the truth of it is that we cannot tell if anything we would have done could have truly changed the outcome. Hugs to all your family. Life is sometimes very hard. PS, not sure if it helps, but my sister got her calendar w/ her Christmas gifts last Saturday, and she was thrilled with it. Thank you.
    debby´s last blog post ..Apology

  9. It’s always a heartbreaking case of ‘I should have checked’. Thinking of dear Yvette and your family. As you said, life goes on. xx

    • The weird thing was that it was actually cooler (comparitively speaking) than previous days – I relaxed a little. I shouldn’t have.

  10. I am giving you long and deep thoughts from my heart this morning. Hug your babies and stay cool.

  11. This just knocked me for a loop and I’m thousands of miles away! I know there’s really nothing I can say, so…. (((hugs))). :(
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Epiphany

  12. Amen to the above. So sorry.
    Leenie´s last blog post ..BUFFALO BULLS

  13. Heat or snake, that is a tragedy indeed.
    Must be hard on your two kids?

  14. Poor little thing. I’m sorry to hear that. Even had you noticed something earlier, it may still have been too late. Unless a snakebite, surely these things start earlier.
    Andrew´s last blog post ..Someone stole Step Mother’s Playmates

  15. Amanda, my heart breaks for you and your family. This is the singlemost thing that I do not miss about living and working on a horse farm all the years we did. Each death was a blow to my husband, to me. It’s just sad.
    Kate´s last blog post ..Baby, it’s c-c-c-c-cold out there

  16. So sad, Amanda. Sending you hugs.
    Mrs Catch´s last blog post ..No Words Needed

  17. Oh no…. she was such a sweet baby. Coming from someone who has been in similar situations, I feel your pain and sorrow.

  18. So terribly sorry to hear of you loosing little “Pistol Annie” Amanda. So sad.

  19. Oh no. I am so so sorry, and so sad.
    Veronica Foale´s last blog post ..Resolving to spend less and be more awesome.

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