Sunday, February 29, 2004

Woman’s Best Friend

Woman’s Best Friend
Dedicated to Maggie, the Horse with a Huge Heart
By: Saundra Searle, age 15

It has been said that dogs are man’s best friend, but what about the friend of a woman? It has always been understood that there is a special connection between horses and woman. Stories are told about the unconditional love and trust shared between a woman and her horse. Numerous quotes in the Bible and elsewhere mention the companionship and compatibility between a horse and its female friends.
I feel privileged to say that I have this same connection. I am lucky enough to be loved and trusted by many of these majestic animals. Unlike myself, who has always had a connection with horses, my sister Lisa spent the first 17 years of her life pushing them away. She never had an interest or bond with them…not until Maggie came along.
When we first met Maggie she was a waif, skin and bones, and frightened of life. Not only had she been starved and pushed around by the other horses, she was pretty badly abused too. Normally all of this would have killed the spirit in such an animal… not Maggie. She still had a fire burning inside her and a spark in her eye. It was this flame that drew us to her, this courage that gave us hope. We brought her home and gave her promise of new life.
As time passed, we watched her grow both mentally and physically. Her skeleton filled out with muscle; her eyes became round and expressive. And she developed a personality that few could resist. We all loved her.
Although Lisa had gone off to college, Maggie was her claim on the ranch. She drew Lisa back during the summer, holidays and long weekends.
The once scraggily three year old filly matured into a beautiful mare under our care. When she arched her neck, lifted her tail, and galloped across the pasture, it was hard to not get a lump in your throat. She looked so beautiful and she was in high spirits. Maggie loved life on the ranch.
Saturday, February 28, Maggie was rushed to the vet’s. Mom had found her down in a draw, her left front leg swollen up three times the size of her right. Wondering how she would ever get Maggie up the ridge let alone into the trailer, Mom slowly picked out a trail for Maggie to follow and headed her toward home. That little horse showed true bravery and trust, limping up the hill, left leg extended in from on her, too inflamed and too sore to touch the ground. Putting all her energy into each step, Maggie made it slowly in to the trailer.
On inspection the horse doctor found a puncture wound driving two and one-half inches just above the hoof line. Worried about complications, he started IV antibiotics and kept her overnight for observation. We all said our prayers and waited to hear from him. No one had a good feeling about how things would work out but her courage gave us hope.
Sunday night, February 29th, there was a phone call from Kirk. We had won the battle, her foot looked much better. But we had lost the war. Maggie had died from blood poisoning; the infection had spread to her brain and killed her.

Maggie was never actually my horse, but I had fallen in love with her, as did everyone who rode her. Jumping logs in the underbrush, moving cows in the mountains, or galloping home from a run around the barrels at the rodeo; Maggie put her heart into everything she did.
Maggie was Lisa’s horse and the woman’s best friend. No one who knew her will ever forget that little sorrel mare, with her big sparkling eyes and her life-sized forgiving heart. It is hard to say goodbye to a friend but fortunately her memory lives on.