Growing up I was raised to set goals and do whatever I needed to reach those goals. I say I was raised that way because I do credit my parents for giving me the tools necessary to set and achieve goals. They pushed me to constantly reach higher, work harder, and go after whatever it was/is I want. I’m 31 and they still push me and support me in this manner. I am, I guess, one of the lucky ones in that respect.
I have always had a lot of goals. Some short term, some long term, and some that even I will refer to as ‘pipe dreams’. I will admit, however, that slowly but surely, even my self proclaimed ‘pipe dreams’ have all become realities. One by one, goal by goal, dream by dream. Literally… Anything that I have given energy to – good or bad – has, over time, become a reality.
This isn’t really where I wanted this post to go but, in all honesty, I didn’t really have a plan for this post when I sat down to write… I just knew I should probably get a post out. Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can think it, I mean really think it, you can literally dream anything… any goal, wish, dream… into true existence. I know this because I’ve watched it happen…
I haven’t shared what I’m about to share with many people. It’s kind of creepy and odd.. but also a great example.
As a little girl I was obsessed with the young adult novel series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell. In the very first book, A Horse Called Wonder, the main character, Ashleigh, saves the life of a sickly Thoroughbred filly who should have died. The sorrel, blaze faced, chromey filly grew into a respected champion. It wasn’t until Famous was 3 or 4 that I realized the parallels between this book, that I had obsessed over as a child, and the reality I had lived. There was probably even a time I thought or voiced “wouldn’t that be a neat experience.” Actually… not probably… there definitely was a time… or two… or ten.
Most people in my world know Famous’ story. Not his success story.. but the story of how he came into this world and, against all odds, stayed in it.
I purchased Famous’ dam, my true ‘heart horse’, Saloon, in foal with Famous. I’ve never been so excited for a baby in my life. The resulting foal would have bloodlines I had only dreamt of and I couldn’t wait to meet my new partner in crime.
Famous was born on a Friday. I wasn’t home. I had taken off for the weekend to a barrel clinic, knowing full well that Saloon was two weeks late and showing signs of foaling. What’s that saying? When the cats away the mice will play? She did. Not 24 hours after I pulled out, she foaled. He was big, chromey, blaze faced and gorgeous. He was everything I had hoped for and more. I couldn’t wait to get home to meet him.
I was instantly in love. This colt was the pathway to every hope and dream I had ever had. He would be my rockstar. Watching him grow up was going to be the best adventure ever. Everything was great. He was full of personality and talent from day 1! Then, when he was a week old, the world came crashing down.
I went outside in the morning to do chores. When I walked past the makeshift covered pen that that was housing Saloon and Famous, I noted that he was lying down. I didn’t think much of it as most babies do sleep an incredible amount. I went on with getting the other horses fed and made my way back to the pen. As I approached I felt my stomach drop. Famous was convulsing. His tiny body ceased and relaxed, over and over again, his head thrashing wildly in the straw. I pulled out my phone and began dialing every vet in the country, not caring who I got, just knowing I needed someone NOW.
Within an hour, a vet arrived and had an IV into my precious boy. It was determined that he had developed a bacterial infection and as he had lost strength and stopped nursing, forced himself into dehydration. The vet put him on a slow drip and advised that because he still had a suck reflex, we had a shot at saving him. At this point we would have to milk the mare and syringe as much milk as we could into his little body. I set to work while the vet packed up to leave. She promised she’d be back before the IV ran out.
The following few hours were a blur. The next thing I remember vividly about that day was the IV running out and the baby that we were trying so desperately to save, hitting ground bottom for a second time. Even I’m not that naive. I knew at this point our chances were plummeting. The vet took my urgent call and hustled over. She promptly switched the IV bag and checked his vitals. This time she didn’t say anything to me about our chances. She just advised that he would be down most of the night so to get comfortable and try and get as much milk into him as we could. She showed us how to switch the bag if needed and went on her way.
This is where the miracle started to happen. Our vet drove down the driveway to leave at about 4:30pm. At 5:30, it was as if Famous made up his mind that he wanted to live. We had been picking him up and holding him to nurse. We were beginning to feel defeated. He was just too tired. My husband decided to try one last time before we gave in to syringe feeding him for the night. Famous’ legs began to work. He was attempting to hold himself up! He had a good drink and laid back down to rest.
Half an hour later, he tried to stand on his own. We helped him to his feet and guided his shaky form to Saloon. Once again, he drank and laid back down. This continued and each time, he required less and less assistance to stand. He would stand, drink and lie back down. The only hassle in all of this is that as the night wore on and he got stronger, we also had to be quicker in getting up with him so he didn’t pull his IV. By morning we had become his slaves, chasing him around the small pen while he trotted away, trying to lose his insistent followers.
About 10:00am the following morning I received a hesitant text from the vet “…. How is he?”
“He’s a handful! He’s been standing and drinking on his own since late evening and now he’s drinking water and trotting around the pen.”
“We’ll be right there,” is the response I got. I didn’t read too much into it. I was exhausted, happy and still in shock.
It wasn’t until the vet and her assistant had checked Famous over that the truth came out. He was supposed to die overnight. In her years as a vet, she had never witnessed a foal going neurological twice survive. After the first episode he had approximately a 60% chance of survival. Once he had gone down the second time, his chances had shot down to a mere 5%… and that’s being rather generous. We had literally witnessed a miracle.
Unknowingly, I had dreamt that situation into existence. Right down to the color of the foal! Now… was it a ‘cool’ experience? No. It wasn’t. It was awful. It was heartbreaking. And it was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s also one that I know I will never get the opportunity to experience again. But, I do get to look into the eyes of a miracle each and every day. When we win, it’s just a tiny bit brighter than it would be with any other horse. And when we struggle, it’s just a little bit easier to keep driving forward than it would be with any other horse. Famous is literally exactly who I’ve waited for since I was a child… I thought/dreamt/wished him into existence 🙂