May 28th, 8:16am: Well today is a
bittersweet day. It's the birthday of my youngest daughter, Breanna - she's 14
today. Active in lots of activities like soccer and competitive dance and
currently hindered as she limps with a sprained ankle yet still busy as ever.
Takes a lot to keep her down. I think that's funny because in 2004 a gelding
fractured my left foot and within a month a stallion broke my right toe. Yet I
wanted to see the horses so would drive up to where Kathi was leasing pasture
space at a farm for our horses and it would take me agonizing hours it seemed
like to hobble across each pasture to go visit each horse when I'd drive up
there. That was a rough Summer!
But back to topic, bittersweet because today is also the
birthday of Windchill. I know people keep asking me when I'm going to write the
books we've talked about and I will - but each time I go back just to start
working on the photo gallery that I promised all of you so long ago, it gets too
difficult. I'm taken back to February - the bitter cold, the lack of sleep,
eating bits on the run - most of you know the story already so I guess I don't
have to go into vivid detail. Yet when I try to work on those things I end up
back there - in vivid detail. And I'm not ready to be back there. We've had a
beautiful baby girl foal in the same stall Windchill was in since then, and
we're about to have another foal in the next couple of days, again in that same
stall. You'll all be able to watch again as we turn the cams back on for public
viewing. Yet I still look in that stall and see the bright eyes of a determined
little colt spinning himself around on the ground, pushing off the hay bales or
the stall walls themselves, that mischievous air about him, he was so much the
little kid determined to stand and walk again. I used to debate whether I was
lucky or not to not know what Kathi knew from her long years of experience - the
knowledge that the odds were so stacked against him that Windchill fate was
sealed by the neglect before he ever laid in our barn. These days I don't debate that - I'm glad I
didn't know. I honestly thought by this time the world would have settled down
to a dull roar and the visitors that came out would be seeing him out in the
"pediatrics" pasture with the other boys playing, running, leaping for no reason
and calling out to us each time we go out that way, just as he did when he lay
in our barn - just as Layla does today when she sees us. We're not at all sorry
he came into our lives - quite the opposite. We were given a blessing - a chance
to make right what mankind had done wrong with him. For that we're forever
grateful and to answer the oft-asked question - would we do it again? Beyond a
shadow of a doubt. I don't know if we would have changed anything. We learned
more from Windchill than we ever gave him back. Unfortunately over time that's
led people to come and go from our lives, wanting to take him and what we did
and what we're doing in different directions than we feel God leading us to go.
I guess it's been sort of a condensed, microcosm version of life in general. And
just like those that we cross paths with in life, we wish them the best.
We are still so grateful for all of you who have been there,
who like us, still miss the little guy. God bless all of you. And Windchill -
happy birthday little man. We miss you every single day. We always will.
May 16th, 9:27am: Whoa, busy busy week! Last
Saturday we hauled two horses to Lake Elmo, MN for the Early Bird Show. Kathi
showed Last Dance (Dance) and Simply Fearless (Fear) in a number of classes
bringing home a second place finish on Dance out of 14 horses and a second place
finish for Fear. Dance had only been ridden twice in the last year or so - Kathi
has worked with her so much that she even makes me look good when I get on her
and go round the arena! After a stressfully short period getting the horses
clipped, bathed and ready to go it was amazing watching her out there, a cowgirl
in her element. I took a ton of pictures I'll get posted along with the Layla
videos and pictures from the past couple of weeks that got lost when I tried to
email them to me (files were too large I guess).
We had the very first official board meeting of the WindChill
Legacy, Ltd. last night. I'm happy to announce we now have 6 board members -
each of whom have an area they are responsible for (volunteer/project
coordination, grant writing, education & resource development, finance,
management). The board members will be posted on the forum along with meeting
details. We also have a core group of volunteer administrative team members,
each of whom have an area they are helping with. They'll be posted on our
website as that develops. I am also very pleased to announce that Kathi L. Davis
has been named the Executive Director of The WindChill Legacy, Ltd. I know
Windchill would be as proud of her as I am as she tackles this new role. There
couldn't be a finer person in this role - congratulations Kathi!
May 7th, 11:29am: What a busy couple of
days. If you haven't been on the forum, we've been making some real progress
with the Legacy, having recruited those new board members and we have a really
good group of what I would call our volunteer administrative team to help back
Kathi and I up. We've done a decent job of dividing up tasks, coming up with a
plan for re-organizing the forum and set more of the future direction. Thank you
so much Polly and Deb for so much of your time! And thanks to Penny and Galem,
who gave of their time as well.
In our 'spare' time we've been getting horses ready for the
season, bringing them in in twos and threes to brush out their coats, worm, give
shots, etc. Lots of clipping them and sneezing from all the blowing hair. The
mud's finally starting to dry up, getting kind of tired of walking through that
though it's been good for our leg muscles. Lily is due pretty soon so she's
being kept close. We should soon have the cams back online, we made some
security changes with them and have to re-connect to the public site as well.
May ?, 8;00am (whoops, wrong date before): I know I've promised to
get some pics up of Layla, I've just been in and out so much and focused on
things on the homefront that I haven't had the chance. I will though, she's
grown so much since you last saw her - and full of spirit. She's a little
sweetie, gives lots of kisses and loves hugs. And has a penchant for suddenly
leaping straight into the air and then taking off like a bullet before realizing
she doesn't know where she's going. Anyway, I'll get some shots up here soon.
I wanted to thank you for hanging in here. I hear from a
number of you who say you check here daily to see if I'm posting. To see if I'm
okay. And I'm okay.
By the way, we continue working hard on the Legacy and have
added new board members as we continue to work with our attorney on the bylaws.
Having the State approve our filing and getting that news back was a small
victory and point of happiness for us. I'm truly humbled by the outpouring of
assistance and support for the Legacy. You are truly amazing people and know
that we appreciate you so much.
April 20th, 7:45pm: Well soon enough I
should be able to get back to some posting as life has settled down here. Olivia
was almost a traveler again - she got in our farrier's van and as he went down
the driveway he stopped, backed up, opened his door and out popped Olivia.
Apparently she hasn't learned her lesson (Olivia was a stowaway on my recent
horse-hauling trip to IL and FL). Or she's really tired of the mice on our farm,
After careful consideration and a lot of talking with various
folks, most importantly Kathi Davis - I am 'stepping back in' to The WindChill
Legacy, Ltd. Though I have to admit I really sucked at removing myself as I
continued work behind the scenes anyway, so may as well make it official. It was
too hard to leave something that has been such a part of my life and heart
anyway. I'm posting more details on the forum site and I hope you get a
chance to review it. Anyway, like I said, I'll try to get some posting on here
after I get the Legacy website launched.
April 16th, 11:54am: Drat, the lady I found
to contract with to do the Legacy website is now booked with another client....gggrrrrrr....I
promise I'm working on this. If I need to build it myself, I will make the time
after this week's board meetings and other 'stuff' gets done and is in my review
mirror. I haven't forgotten!
FYI - really good news this week from the attorney - The
WindChill Legacy, Ltd. has been officially approved by the State so it's
official! More to follow, sorry this is so short but wanted you to know I'm
alive and working on things.
April 14th, 8:25am: While I'm not sure how
you guys knew it was my birthday saturday, I appreciate the sentiments and
notes. It will rank up there as a memorable birthday and hopefully in time not.
I'm going to TRY to contract to have Windchill's official
website at least partially done in the next week or so so that he, and the
Legacy, have an official 'virtual home' on the internet. My farm's website has
sort of unofficially become that site and it wasn't intended to be. Part of the
reason I wanted a separation with an official site versus my own is that I don't
want to run my own website by vote or public proxy. This is mine. I'll choose
the music of the moment which is generally the result of what is occurring or
what I am feeling or maybe no other reason than I like the words or a song; I
may say things the world doesn't agree with and that's okay, I respect your
right to your opinion and you may post your opinions on your website for the
world to see. I spent 10 years sleeping under the wings of F-16s defending
that right. But I don't want my own opinions necessarily reflecting on the good
things that are happening with The WindChill Legacy, Ltd. I have seen some
really great people doing extraordinary things there. As I've read through, I've
been amazed at what you all have been up to as I wandered the countryside.
I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to finish that task, it seems when I get time to
focus for a bit, something else comes up.
8:23pm: I'm back from hauling the horse to IL and my trip to FL. The
trip went well and thanks for the notes asking how the trip went. Olivia is back
safe and sound after her journey of almost a thousand miles. She no longer has
the desire to get in the trailer when the doors are opened. Me either for that
6:00pm: Unfortunately I'm still at the office. I wanted to get some
posts up here for you before I leave and the phone company called to say the DSL
is still down but they'll be back working on it in the morning but by then I'll
be on the road with a cigar lit and a horse in the trailer munching away (kinda
the horse version of drive-thru). We had a mini-blizzard last night:
So much for it warming up and drying so Layla can go out in
the pen and play and see the sun!
What I had started to try and tell you was that some of the
closer Friends of Barbaro family came out to visit the farm last Saturday (and
left before we got buried!) - if you haven't heard of, or met one of the fine
folks who call themselves a Friend of Barbaro you're missing out. Linda tested
our electric fences and found out they work very well. Hopefully she'll regain
use of her right side at some point later this week (kidding). Sorry, we use
city folks as fence testers. The young horses act as decoys, drawing them
With them they brought beautiful gifts including candles that
we can leave burning in the barn all the time once we have the memorial built
(electric of course...) - a model of what looks exactly like Windchill as an
adult and a Barbaro stuffed animal of course! Along with lots of food and a
basket. AND - as you can see below, the FoBs presented us with not just one, but
two checks for The WindChill Legacy, Ltd - $2000 to fund the organization's
efforts! What an unbelievable surprise!
As you can see below, Layla and her mommy were very excited
to have the FoBs visit:
Thank you so much for visiting us guys and I hope you'll come
out and visit again, we have more fences needing testing...
I've posted more updates over on Windchill's forum. For now I
need to close this down and go pick up the horse trailer and head for home to
transfer hay from one trailer to the other and then move round bales out to the
pastures on Excalibur - the horses consider the tractor meals on wheels. Guess
it's sorta true! Be good you guys and I'll miss you! Watch for me driving
between WI and FL!
10:13pm: Sorry, I still haven't downloaded the pictures and videos from
yesterday morning when Layla was born. I'll try to get to that tomorrow - I've
been busy re-arranging this site tonight once I came in from the barn.
I spent time tonight out in the barn once everyone was gone and it was just me.
That used to be one of my favorite times with Windchill as well. It's so quiet
and the chill in the air seems to make everything so crisp, even the silence.
Layla was up for awhile when I first entered but it was past her bedtime and
soon she laid down. I sat down with her, Bonnie watched for a bit then snoozed.
Soon it was like February again - Olivia joined me and Walker came in for a bit
to see how things were going. Bonnie's not overly thrilled with him sometimes so
he knows to limit his visitation time. Layla likes him so they rub noses under
the stall door. He tries to toss his toy in there for her to play with. It
wasn't as cold as February though, just a crispness that lets you know you're
alive (and getting older...groan). In the silence I sat and listened to Layla's
rhythmic breathing. I like that sound and that feeling. If you have kids you
know the feeling - you check on them late at night as they sleep peacefully and
you stand there and soak in that moment, listening to their breathing. You kiss
their foreheads and brush their hair back. And you never want that moment to
end. It wasn't until I had been sitting there with her head on my lap that I
realized she had laid down in the same spot Windchill slept. Usually his head
was the other direction, his favorite side was his left with his head towards
the barn wall. She prefers the left side as well but likes to face the stall
door. It brought back a flood of feelings. Feelings that her quiet breathing in
and out helped to quell. I miss him. Every day. But Layla's peaceful breathing
soaked into my soul and helped fill the void. Funny how babies can do that,
isn't it? I miss you Windchill but I know you sat with me tonight in the very
same stall, in the very same spot and were happy. And I know that this time as
you lay there with us and soaked up that moment that this time you got up all by
yourself when it was time to leave. And I'm really glad we had that moment
together tonight little man.
March 24th, 5:54m: Hello friends, I'm back. I took some time to
try and recovery and recuperate. I'm sorry if that left a void, that wasn't
intentional. I've missed you too. I'm doing better - I can breathe easier now. I
found myself writing similar things to folks who wrote out of concern, so I
posted what I've been up to on the forum. I know that not everyone checks the
forum yet, so I'll copy and paste my post here so we're all up to speed, okay?
Here it is:
I received some emails from worried folks wondering if
I'm okay so I wanted to post a quick note to let you know that I am okay. I was
responding to some of those emails and figured since they were asking what you
may be asking, maybe I should just cut and paste a response here to let you know
what all I've been up to.
The reality is I tried all the hot toddy recipes you emailed or posted and have
been in rehab for my now chronic alcoholism. I kept forgetting how many steps
were in my program and so had to keep repeating it and then had to take anger
counseling because of all of you cowgirls who led me awry... I'm of course
kidding, after that first attempt with the hot toddy mix, I now use the
ingredients for removing rust from my horse trailer.
I am doing better - can breathe much easier now. I find the lingering effects of
the pneumonia have my energy reserves majorly tapped which has made it tough
because unfortunately life doesn't really slow down much just because I have. I
also found in trying to help people with their grief over Windchill's loss, I
didn't really deal with my own and so separating out the effects of the
pneumonia from the probable depression or grief over his loss has been difficult
and frustrating for me. So I took a step back to try and recover some from all
the posting, and answering people's heartfelt grief-filled emails to try and
rest my own system.
I'm also doing more of the behind the scenes stuff to assist in getting
Windchill's non-profit up and running - working on the legal side of things as
well as designing a new website that will give us a platform to build all of the
things onto that we hope to have - educational things, legislative and my own
personal goal of having a national online network connected to the site to
connect people in the middle of equine rescues in with those that can help the
way they did with us and Windchill. The world was a lifesaver and the support
was so invaluable.
I appreciate your concerns and worry. I'm alive and recovering. I'll slowly
start catching up here on the forum, I see in the time I've been away there's
hundreds of posts so it'll be a long time before I can catch up I'm guessing.
I'll post as I can, and I'll blog on my site as well. It will be awhile before
I'm back at the pace I was, I have unfortunately discovered I am apparently
mortal - a frustrating discovery. In time I'll regain the denial of that fact as
it gets in the way of riding the scarier horses when you know you're breakable.
Denial can go a long way sometimes...
And we'll start taking you up on the offers to help with the non-profit. After
we're through the formation part we can start focusing on the important part -
implementing its mission. That's going to take all of you - not me because I'm
management so I plan to lead by issuing memos and taking long lunches (kidding -
see, I am feeling better).
Thanks for being here guys - you mean a lot to me and all of us.