Baby’s bone chip fracture


Little Zil - before her injury

Little Zil – before her injury

Zoom back to 2007: One day in late September, when little Zil was five months old, we were watching her zip around. As usual, it was a delightful sight. But something was wrong with her hock.

We got closer, and examined it. There appeared to be two small wounds close together oon one side, and one on the other side. We couldn’t figure out what it was, but we settled on it being a dog bite. It was odd because though we also had a penchant for rescuing dogs and one may have nipped at heels, we didn’t have any dogs at the time who would take a bite out of anyone like that. Sooo, may or may not have been one of ours, or a dog at all. The cause could not be established as fact.

We flushed the wounds as best we could with water and dilute iodine, and gave her a tetanus booster and penicillin. The next day there was some swelling, and we continued to treat her.

Soon the wounds healed, but the hock remained swollen. Zil exhibited no sign of lameness, though. She was as energetic and full of the dickens as ever, hating being confined.

A couple weeks after the bite, my husband was examining her hock, squeezing the one tiny opening for signs of infection. There was no pus. Yay! And as he messed with her, she kicked at the panel and got a cut on her coronet. Blood ran. Wonder Dust®, help!!

Old Journal

Old Journal

I wish that I had kept better records of Zil’s life back then. . .taken pictures. . . written notes about communications with our vet. . . but that’s all the data I have on Zil’s injury until a couple of weeks after that. Apparently the swelling hadn’t gone down, and she had gone to the vet, because the vet prescribed Tucoprim, an antibiotic, for the leg. Perhaps it was at that time that the leg was x-rayed and she was getting antibotics in preparation for surgery.

She was diagnosed with a bone chip fracture . . . and on October 20, she had surgery!  Amazingly I can recall and picture the day, some time after, when we had her huge leg bandage changed. I remember the blue and yellow colors of the veterinary wrap. But I cannot remember how she looked on the day we picked her up from the vet after her surgery. I bet she was droopy and worried-looking. Her expressive Arabian eyes were and are very good communicators. All I have as a keepsake of the big event is the vet clinic invoice. Grrr. . . (bang self on head)!

She was adorable with the bandage on. It extended from the bottom of her leg up over her hock and was quite thick, to preclude motion of the leg. I remember we kept her in a small pen with her mother to restrict her from gallivanting around. I cannot find a single picture anywhere of her wearing her “cast.” It makes me sad. We weren’t good at record-keeping back then, or picture-taking, or movie-taking of the family horses in those days, because we used up all our energy chronicling the progress of the rescue horses instead. In hindsight, were they really more important than the family horses? Equally, I should say. We were blessed and charged by God to be good stewards of them ALL.

The whole Zil surgery experience cost us $435, a lot of money to us then, but worth it for the future soundness of our beloved baby! Our exquisite little one recovered fully, and the injury has never hampered her since, thanks to the great work of our local veterinarians.








Something to hold on to

Today the foul and fickle winter weather foiled our freedom to frolic……too much alliteration, yesss.

But I shan’t share the walk I sadly did not take with little Zil today in the gray cold, but rather recall my feelings at the time, almost to the day, that she was a month old.

Little Zil

Little Zil

Here in this picture, she is closer to the 4-month range; unfortunately we weren’t all that great about taking pictures of things, including loved ones, in those days. Thank God for friends with cameras! Myself, I had regressed emotionally to the condition of a child, a teenager in my thoughts. I feel that during bipolar and depressive episodes regression is part of my pattern.

Foals are so much more mindful than humans. Zil spent much of her time unruffled by the turmoil surrounding her; she was concentrating wholly on her experiences: drinking in mother’s warm milk; nibbling delightful grass, flowers, and manure; lifting her spirit at interesting sights, sounds, and smells; and chiefly remaining a very calm little horse, for her mother Tempo was very laid-back at the time herself.

Zil grazing, mindfully

Zil grazing, mindfully


“Today I had an appointment with the doctor about the headaches (3-5 migraines in a 7-day week). She gave me Lyrica to try, 3 months worth of samples. I had a miniature panic attack in the waiting room. I’ve been a wreck. Trigger: The death of Sam, a fictional TV character–I’m too old to care so much. To be so destroyed. There must be more to it, but all I know is, it’s catalyzed this huge depression, and a song on the radio put my finger on it. I wish I was dead. Not because I hate the world or anyone else, just because of me. I don’t like what/who I am. I hate a lot of aspects of being me. If I were dead, then I would be over. I’d be over myself. There would be no more of this hate, no more apathy. [God, I sound like a teenager (no offense to teens), don’t I? I felt exactly the same way when I was a teen, too.] I know that when I am writing, which I need, I  become even harder for others to live with. So in a way it’s good for everyone else that I’m not writing. But it’s not good for me. If I were to compile a list of all the things I hate about myself then there would be only one logical option: work to change the things. Putting a gun in my mouth & pulling the trigger would make no sense at all.

Little Zil's face

Little Zil’s face

“But changing “things” about myself is not so easy. And I can’t get rid of bad memories, past failures, and so forth. Stress, all this stress. How will I get Ziggy back up from the forty? How bad are Sunflower’s cuts, really? How will I get weight on Emily? We can’t pay our bills. “Changing things” won’t fix any of this, which all would manageable on some level if I didn’t hate myself.

“One good thing in my life: Zil.

“Zil is beautiful, magnificent. I hope nobody has already registered an Arab to the name Zil. Zil is a *Bask great-granddaughter. Did I already mention she’s magnificent? So is her mom, Tempo.”

So it should have been easy at the time that was written to fall back on horses in my time of need, as I had done with plastic ones as a child. Even if when only a thought expressed in childlike language. But it wasn’t. Except for Zil. By then, horses in general had the tendency to generate as much stress as delight in my view of the world and existence in general. To find that it was ZIL who made me happy when nothing else could, is a marvel indeed. This was long before in my rational mind I was even considering Zil as anything more solid than a love of my heart. Unlike all the other foals, she withheld affection, and treated me as a tree or a rock or some other inanimate thing that was in her way at times, and at times not in her way. I had to be okay with that, and I was.

(FYI: Did the Lyrica work for my particular migraines under my particular conditions? No, it did not).

-photos taken by M. Wyller.

Baby Pictures

Nursing baby

Nursing baby

Notes from an old journal:

“4/27/07: Tempo’s foal was here to greet us. Looks like it will be bay, has one white stocking on hind leg. Filly, younger than Diamond’s was, so probably only a couple of hours old. Seems to be having trouble latching on to teat (around 8 a.m.) I have no idea what to name her. Tempo didn’t wax or show any signs of labor [yesterday]. Filly is beautiful, dark, mysterious.”

Here are a few photos from Zil’s first hours and days of life…

Little Zil

Little Zil

This is how I started calling her “little Zil”!

Baby! Come back here!

Baby! Come back here!

The little girl was very curious, and rightly so. Tempo, having been a broodmare, was an experienced mother. Independent and very protective of Zil, Tempo often found a way to break out of the pen at night, no matter what we did to secure it, and packed Zil off to the lush, grassy north end of the property, and then didn’t let anyone get near her precious baby. They were allowed to stay for days, as they were safe and Tempo needed the pasture time anyway (but I didn’t even get to imprint with Zil or even dip her little umbilical stub in iodine! horrors!). I wonder if that solitude is an Arab thing. We had several babies that year, and no other mamas acted this way. Anyhow, this made early bonding very difficult. Zil has always been the most stand-offish of our few homegrown.

Proud Arabian Mare and Foal

Proud Arabian Mare and Foal

I titled them after my favorite Breyer horses, the Proud Arabian Mare and Foal set. Tempo my pride, and Zil my joy.

Stretched for the teat..success!

Stretched for the teat..success!

Couldn’t get enough nursing pictures, I guess.

Looks like Tempo's teats are getting sore...

Looks like Tempo’s teats are getting sore…

so we better quit for now. 🙂