To my beautiful red rose, Gift

21st of September 1989 - 13th of July 2004

They say a cowgirl only gets one special horse in her lifetime, and you were mine. From the moment I laid eyes on you, I loved you. I mean how could I not? I was a little girl, and every little girl dreams of owning a horse. Okay, so you were a little rough around the edges, those horrible people didn't feed you and you looked a little worse for wear, but with a bit of TLC we put that right. I remember the exact day I bought you home to your new paddock, you came out of the trailer, and before I had a chance to take off your rugs, you went flying down the paddock, galloping so fast I was sure you'd break your neck.

Over the next few years we had some pretty great times together. You were a bit of an all-rounder (yeah, I know you hated the dressage, me too!) but when we jumped, something special happened. Whether we were galloping around a cross-country course, or popping over those fences in the show jumping ring, we always became one, you and me. But the very best of all were those quiet times we spent together, just you and me, two kids together without a worry in the world.

Then something happened. One day I came to the paddock to find you very, very lame. We called the vet, he said you needed x-rays, but you couldn't walk very well so I didn't want to take you in the trailer. The x-rays and other tests were done at home. You had partially torn your tendon. You were retired. Well maybe retired isn't exactly the word. Stable rest was ordered for 6 weeks, and then after that, well what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. You'd practically lift me up onto your bare back and we would just wander for hours. Not with the speed and agility we used to, but still wander.

I got a new horse, you didn't think much of him, and frankly neither did I. He was bad tempered. Beautiful, but always cranky. Then I had a bad fall off him. I cracked some discs in my neck, hurt my back badly, and I couldn't walk for 2 weeks. Hospital wasn't real fun. I missed you. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep HIM, he was a competition horse, young and full of life, he couldn't wait around while I went through 6 months of physio. Besides, I still had you.

So you were still there, not doing much, and I decided it was time for you to have a baby. I regret that decision beyond belief now. We made the preparations, the vet gave you an internal exam (yeah, I know, very undignified for my special lady), and gave you the all clear. Your male friend was already picked out, it was all arranged (yes, I was your pimp!) You came home 2 weeks later, with something very special inside you. This was one of the happiest times of my life. I spoiled you close to rotten through your pregnancy. You saw the vet often, I asked tons of questions, he told me you would be fine and so would the baby. As the day drew nearer I became concerned about a few abnormalities in your pregnancy, but I was assured it was nothing to worry about (yeah, right!).

Sam arrived home from her holiday in Texas. And right on time too. I needed an extra pair of hands to help me when the time came. You went into labour on a Tuesday morning, the 9th of September, at 3:30. I ran back down the house, got dressed, woke Sam up, got the video camera, cell phone, water and lots of towels, and ran straight back to you. Then we waited, but it was taking too long. I rang Kevin, he'd been doing this for years, he said to call if I needed help, he'd know what to do. Then she arrived. She was beautiful. Tiny, but beautiful. She looked just like you. Right down to the few white hairs in the middle of her head. But she wouldn't breathe properly. I rubbed her and rubbed her, but it didn't make it better. Her breaths were getting further apart. Then Sam bought my attention back to you. Something was happening. Something that wasn't supposed to happen. There was another foal, a little boy, but he was the wrong way around. I ran to the house to call a vet, and wake up everyone else, we needed all the help we could get. By the time I got back up there, Kev was there, he had pulled the little colt out, he was dead. Looked just like his daddy. Absolutely perfect. The filly had also stopped breathing. I looked up and noticed yet another, a filly also, smaller than the other two, taking her last breathes. My little dream horse. Liver chestnut, with 4 white socks, and a perfect star on her little head. I sat with her until she passed.

The next few days were a blur for me. I couldn't be there anymore. I had to get away from it. You and me, we'd worked so hard for these babies. This wasn't supposed to happen. There was only supposed to be one, not three, one. He'd promised you'd be fine. Needless to say we didn't use him again. Sam had called another vet, he was fairly useless, couldn't tell us much, just gave you some needles and left. Then someone came and took away your babies. You were calling and calling for them. But they weren't coming. They would never come. My heart, and yours I think, broke then.

You got steadily worse over the next few days. That's how long it took for the toxemia to kick in. I came home from my mums to find you in your paddock, you could barely walk, your head was drooping, your eyes were dull. You were shaking from the pain. Had yet another vet come out. He said you were very sick, you had a massive infection in your uterus, and as a result of this you had developed laminitis. He also suspected peritonitis, which would require surgery that his practice did not offer. He gave me lots of meds for you, flushed you out, rehydrated you and said he'd be back in the morning. Basically there was nothing to do but wait. No improvement by the morning, and we'd made the decision to move you to the equine hospital. Rachael towed you there, I am forever grateful for that, and then we met Nathan.

Your vet, Nathan, a wonderful man who most certainly saved your life. We got there and he was with you right away. He ruled out the peritonitis (whew) but said your uterine infection and toxic shock had gotten worse, and as for your feet, well they'd need to be x-rayed to tell. Did we want to continue, he asked? The treatment was to be extensive and very expensive. I couldn't not try. Feet weren't as bad as first thought, and after hourly flushing, he got a large piece of placenta out of you. You still spent a few more days in ICU, you finally came off your drip, and then after what seemed like weeks, he said you could come home. There were provisos but at least you'd be there. He still saw you nearly every day, I spoke to him a lot over the next weeks,. and saw him probably more than his wife. We had our ups and downs, but you improved enough to be allowed out into a yard.

Over the next few months you continued to improve (good thing too, cause my bank accounts were empty) and we tried to put you back in foal. You conceived, twins this time, we popped one, and all looked good. Didn't last for long. You cut your leg and got sick, ended up with lympangitis, and we found out later you had developed a genetic disorder, vasculitis. You lost the foal. Then your feet started to go bad again. I had people suggest different things, herbal remedies and the like, but I knew in my heart it was your time to go. I could see it in your eyes. You wanted to be with your babies in heaven.

The day came. I was there with you. Stayed strong for you, you had been so brave this past year, I didn't want you to see me cry. Nathan came out. He explained to me what would happen. I just nodded, I couldn't speak. I gave you a hug and whispered, "I love you". I took you to the back paddock. I'd picked a nice spot for you, under some big gum trees. Nathan gave you a sedative, you slowly fell asleep and he started to give you the green stuff. He took your lead as you fell. Then you were gone. I sat with you there, it seemed like hours, rubbing your ears (you never let me touch them!). Then they led me away.

I hope you are happy up there with the angels. I hope you aren't in pain anymore. I hope your babies are there with you. I hope you are at peace. You gave me so much over the years we spent together. I gave you a second life, we helped each other. I miss you Gift, and I will never forget you, my beautiful red rose.

Amy Lorberg

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