Today is a day of much importance. Not only is it Mother’s Day (you’re awesome, Mom!), but I am also cramming for my AP Biology exam. Putting those two things aside, though, today is a very special day. Today marks the one year anniversary of buying Gus. And what a year it has been!
When I bought Gus one year ago today, he had been sitting in a field for the last two years of his life. He was fat, out of shape, and lacked manners. He arrived at my farm sassy and unkempt, so he got a spa day and a shank put on his halter. We immediately went to work getting him back into shape and training him for the 3’6″.
As the months went by, the fat came off and muscle went on, and he turned into a sweet and affectionate horse. Just as we were nearing our first show, tragedy struck. Poor Gus coliced and spent 20 days battling for his life at both UGA’s equine hospital and our vet’s clinic. The experience caused him to drop 400 pounds, but he survived and came home on August 26th.
We began to slowly put weight back on him, taking the utmost caution to not overload his system and cause another colic. His bones slowly disappeared and his morale improved as the weeks went by. He started back under saddle and things were looking up. But then, tragedy struck again, and Gus went to our vet with another, unrelated colic.
This time, things were not promising. After all of our emergency funds, and then some, were spent on the first colic, we knew surgery was not an option. His colon was lodged over his spleen, and the only was to treat this without surgery was to hook him up to an IV. This was risky, as he has developed a blood clot in his jugular vein in August. The hours ticked by as we prayed his condition would turn around.
The next morning, we woke up to a call from the vet. She has just finished a rectal exam and told us the treatment has worked! Gus would be coming home in a couple days!
When Gus came home, he had lost about 100 pounds of the weight he had gained back. So, we went to work putting the weight back on. He seemed like a different horse this time though, like everything was finally in working order. The pounds came on quickly and he was soon ready to go back to work.
We progressed slowly with him, giving him the time he needed to really gain his muscle. Today, we are finally back to where we were, and he is going better than ever. I am hopeful that our first rated show will be very soon, but that’s not why Gus came into my life.
Gus has taught me more than I ever thought he could. This has been an insane year, with many, many ups and downs. But, he taught me what it truly means to be a fighter and to be strong. His bravery throughout everything was humbling. Even if I never enter the equitation ring on this horse, this year has been worth it. The big horse with a big heart has captured my heart and reminded me why I love this sport. It’s not about the show ring. It’s about the relationship we develop with these wonderful creatures and the experiences we create with them. So, thank you, Gus. The memories I have created with you will never be forgotten and I am truly thankful you are still here for us to create more. Happy anniversary, big boy. I love you more than words can describe.