Windchill remembered…February 29th approaches…

Written by Jeffrey L Tucker on February 27th, 2012

February 27, 2012: February 29th will mark 4 years since Windchill’s last day among us. I know people will be lighting candles in his memory all over the country and we’ll all remember the little guy’s resolve, his gentle spirit, his quiet (and sometimes not so quiet!) faith in all of us and the friends he made all over the country and in fact, the world. I’ve had the honor of being around a lot of animals of different types over the years – lots and lots of horses in the past couple. Some have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and I can’t wait to see them again. Each leaves an indelible mark on our soul – even the small ones, like the kittens I’d come to love and have lost. Crash I still miss your little ‘tude, so laid back, you always made me laugh. If I needed to find you I just looked for Halo and there you were.
Windchill really changed things. He changed me. I remember the day-to-day crap from prior to meeting him, and how different things are after being near his soul. Who would’ve guessed so much spirit could be placed inside a frail, 9 month old body. So much personality, so much faith, so much forgiveness. We can all learn from that can’t we. Love, laugh, whinny a friendly hello or reminder that you want your hay NOW, and don’t let your circumstances drag you down. And that there’s friends waiting to be met, you just have to open the door to your heart and let them in.
The world became a smaller place – and a brighter one. While Windchill was re-learning how to stand, we were re-learning to believe, and re-learning what it was like to be young again. Remember when you were little – all those ‘strangers’ on the playground were just friends waiting to be met, new names to add to your friendship listing. Strangers far and wide were drawn to a little 9 month old’s colt struggle and he was never alone again. Neither were any of us.
Windchill slipped quietly into the beyond February 29th, 2008, as surprised as we were. I remember the night today as clear as the night it happened. Stepping out into the clear, cold night for his last check of the night and that feeling that something wasn’t right. Walker slipped out of the garage, confirming the feeling. Walker was with Windchill all the time. Racing to the barn, opening the door and no whinny. There was always a whinny when we walked through that door. And knowing. Knowing before I opened that stall door. Burying my face in his neck, still warm. How peaceful he was. No struggles. Still under his blankets, head resting on the towels. Wondering whether to tell Kathi then or let her sleep. Walking slowly back to the house, waking her up to tell her Windchill was “gone.” Her bolting upright, asking where…the death threats, etc. had become part of our reality, so her first assumption was he had been taken…explaining he had passed away. Watching as the scene I had just lived was re-lived – her throwing the door open, calling to him. Checking him. Then holding him. She confirmed he hadn’t suffered. Needing to know the same thing…was he under stress in his final moments, did he suffer and finding some peace in how he drifted off never to wake up.
Neither of us slept that night. I spent my night researching everything I could find on neglect, starvation, abuse looking for a reason, something we’d missed, something we could’ve done to change the outcome. She spent her night knowing we hadn’t. At 4:30am I’d come to the same point. By 5am I wrote the announcement to the world that would never be printed. It was too filled with anguish. Kathi re-wrote it by 7am. An hour or so later the world would share the pain and join the hell that had been ours for the previous night. I would have to relive the same feelings as visitor after visitor arrived that morning to see the little guy, not having seen the blog post from that morning. The same disbelief. The same look of shock. Then the tears. By mid-day I was numb, exhausted, drained, lost.
4 years later and I can feel all of that like it was this morning. 4 years later and it was just last night wasn’t it? That’s why I hadnt’t read the blogs in detail until I started your book last year. I haven’t looked at the pictures in the photo directory on my computer from February though March, 2008 until I posted my archive online not long ago. Pictures never seen finally shown the light of day again.
I’ve finished the book finally, Windchill. It will tell the world your story and what’s happened since that time — the magic continues, your spirit lives on in the re-telling by volunteers who remember to people eager to learn. Kids, adults, senior citizens… Your torch and memory were carried on the shoulders of a little horse appropriately named Magic to literally thousands of people each year and will be again. There’s been good, there’s been bad since you were last here with your head on our knee in a stall on a bed of straw, pushing yourself in circles around your stall driving us crazy as we restored order to the chaos you created in there. Laughing at the brightness in your eyes. Today we laugh, and sometimes cry, in your memory. Even more love you now than even then, amazing huh? God bless a little 9 month old colt who taught us to believe again in humanity. Thank you Windchill, from the bottom of all our hearts. We miss you.
(Jeff Tucker, Raindance Farms, LLC)
PS – for those lighting candles in Windchill’s honor, please email me a picture and I’ll try to get them uploaded on a special page here and on his forum:
jeff @

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