Horse Tales

tales1Born May 25, 1992 One early morning late in May, I was delighted to see that we had a new addition to our herd!

A very tall chestnut colt with a large white star, was eagerly suckling from his mom, "Lady," as she proudly nuzzled him. Nearby, another mare had appointed herself to protect the new colt and mother; standing watch and making sure the rest of the herd did not get too close.

All the horses gathered, vying for the best and closest position for viewing the new arrival. "Zombie," the sire, craned his neck from his stall window and welcomed his new son with numerous whinnies and snorts as if to say, "look at me, I am your Dad!" After separating Lady and her foal from the herd and protecting mare, we found the new guy was very friendly! He immediately approached anyone who came near his corral to be petted and allowed himself to be investigated while doing the same to the visitor.

Renting horses for tourists who wish to see the jungle and mountains on horseback supports the ranch. We need gentle, strong and willing horses to do this work, and as the days and months went by, it looked like our new colt would be perfect. He possessed all the desired qualities.

One afternoon, when the horses, had been brought in from pasture, Lady and her colt slowly brought up the rear. To our dismay, "Baby," unable to bear weight on his right back leg, was hobbling along as best he could while trying to keep up with the other horses.

Our vet was summoned and examined the colt. I could see in his face that it was not going to be good news. X-rays showed that our baby had somehow fractured the end of his tibia bone. The fracture could not be stabilized by a cast because of its location covered by heavy muscles.

taleThe outcome would be doubtful. After considering the possibilities, i.e., antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicine and stall rest were prescribed. The colt's large and beautiful brown eyes regarded me as he moved over to rest his head on my shoulder, a gesture I interpreted as his plea for help. He seemed to be saying, "take a chance, all I need is your help and faith in me."

I hoped he would progress and things would resolve favourably so that he could become useful as a horse for our tourist operation. That star in the middle of his forehead had better be a lucky one. Nursing care was continuous, but his gentle disposition made things much easier! Everyone visited him with carrots and treats and he become known to all as "Baby." He progressed steadily and within two months was using the injured leg quite well! Our brave and optimistic colt was getting around very handily, although still "off" a bit because of his injured leg. He had no pain or swelling. Baby was a delight and loved the contact with the people. He and most of the horses spent nights in a seven- acre pasture and were brought up to the stables for their grain every morning.

Some would be brushed and saddled for the scheduled rides and others would be turned out again. Lady and "Baby" were turned out daily. One morning, our head wrangler reported that he could not find "Baby" in the pasture! He and another hand had looked everywhere. Thinking he might have wandered into a nearby field, I decided to take a look for myself. I even walked around the fence to look for any clues to his disappearance. After having searched for an hour, the mystery was still not solved! Heading back along the north side of the pasture, a clump of low bushes caught my attention. As the wrangler and I investigated, we found to our dismay that the bushes covered an old well. Peering in, we heard a welcoming nicker from "Baby!" There he was, calm as ever, just waiting for us to find him! The hole was very deep and much too narrow to get him out easily and in fact, he just barely fit into the small well. He was, however, standing up, and that was good. Getting him out was another matter! We called the other hands and decided to try and dig away one side of the well and create a ramp of sorts to enable the colt to climb out.

12Meanwhile, a friend went to look for an "A" frame and winch to try and hoist him up and out of there. The digging was slow and came to abrupt halts whenever we encountered large boulders which had to be levered up to the surface. Through all these maneuverings, "Baby" munched on Alfalfa we lowered down to him in small bunches. He was as calm as if he were in his own stall. Excavation was going slow, and no "A" frame was found. It occurred to me we could fill feed sacks with sand and lower them down one by one to make a ramp. The sacks barely fit past "Baby" to the bottom, which fortunately was dry and already partially filled with caved in bricks originally used to construct the well. A generous neighbor supplied a dump truck and hauled over a load of sand, dumping it right next to the old well! Many sacks of sand later, "Baby" was slowly nearing the ramp we had managed to dig.

Finally, he could just reach the lower end of the ramp, and with the help of ropes and many people pulling, he was able to scramble out of the hole! He was a scraped and bruised mess, but stood squarely on all four legs - another miracle! He shook himself off, and before we could stop him, galloped off to join his mom, who was anxiously pawing the ground at the stable yard gate! It wasn´t even necessary to train "Baby." He trusted us completely; and one day we just saddled him up and rode him off alongside his mom! He never balked, bucked or spooked and learned quickly to respond to the hacamore. His gaits have a different beat because his injury as a colt, but he gets along as well as any and he has been on our 3-day trips to the mountains many times, which involves some pretty rough terrain! Trustworthy and very strong, "Baby" is the perfect horse for novice riders.

After 8 years of life and 6 years as a "tourist" horse, he is as willing and friendly as ever. You may visit him if you wish at our Ranch, "Rancho El Charro," in Puerto Vallarta. He will be here, anxious to please and very friendly.

"Baby" and all of us thank his lucky star!

Reserve now