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.
To me, that afternoon, all seemed well.
Hot, but well.I loved seeing our other young December foal iTunes come up to her younger companion and try to engage her.
But our Annie didn’t feel like it. She just wanted to be near her Mama – suckling a lot.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.