This is not how I had planned for the story to end.
For those who have not followed our story from the beginning:
On Friday the 13th, April 2018, our last mare to foal here delivered. In a delivery that kind of now feels like a foggy memory, a set of twins were delivered… that had obviously been missed on ultrasound. The first twin came, incredibly small and dysmature, but alive, and then the second one came and it was already deceased.
Our first twin shocked us that she was alive. She was so, so small… but she had the heart of a fighter and acted like any other newborn. She stood and was looking to nurse. We stood in shock as this incredibly small baby, which we would later measure at 27″ and 35 lbs, acted and had the instinct of any other ‘normal baby.’ Of course, the vet was immediately called and all appropriate interventions were carried out. At six hours old, her IGG was normal as were all of her vital signs. Even though she could barely reach her momma to nurse, she was determined.
We held our breath and prayed for the first 24 hours, quite frankly expecting her to crash. I spent almost the full first 48 hours of her life in the stall, prepared for the worst. We had many friends and acquaintances praying for out teeny, tiny babycakes, and we’re most grateful. She had a few issues, but she was determined to live, and we did all we could.
A corneal eye ulcer developed at week two, and we treated her for two weeks with eye drops every two hours at times. We saved her eye, but she was going to have a blind spot in her left eye- just like her Daddy, Righteous Invitation. Tendon and ligament issues presented with legs that just didn’t want to cooperate. Then, there were medicines and splints and braces… The poor baby was on stall rest her entire life except for three days.
We tried so hard and honestly thought we were on the right track and that we’d get the legs fixed. I had my heart set that she was going to pull through. I had decided that whether or not her legs remained impaired that she would never see a show pen. Even if she never reached full genetic size potential, or if she came out of this 100%, she was my keeper. I named her Faith. She was teaching me daily about dedication, strength, and the true power of faith, thus her namesake:
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,
‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17
Our boys loved her, I loved her, and even my non-horse husband developed a soft spot for her. It was hard not to. She was so sweet… truly, the sweetest baby I’ve ever had. Despite the medicine, the braces, the eye drops, and me constantly coming at her with unpleasant things, she remained the sweetest thing ever. She was always nuzzling at me and nickering the sweetest sound, as only a 40 lb. baby can.
This past Friday, she was five weeks old. We had an end of the year party for our boys and their friends. Probably close to 20 kids went in and out of her stall all night loving on her. ‘She’s so tiny.’ ‘She’s so soft.’ ‘She’s so sweet.’ These words were heard probably a hundred times.
Saturday morning was like any other. I fed her and gave her medicine and changed her wraps. I came back into her stall 15 minutes later with my husband to finish her splints, because I needed his extra set of hands. Faith stood from laying and presented with what was obviously a broken leg. How did this happen. How could it be? It wasn’t like this 15 minutes ago? Why? How?
She was obviously in pain and couldn’t bear weight on it. She laid back down, and I held her tiny little leg in my hands and just lost it. There was no question that my baby that had came so far and overcome so much had a broken leg. I screamed. I cried. I absolutely lost it. No! No! No! This is not what was supposed to happen. This is not what was meant to be. This is not how this story is to end!
I worked so hard to save her, to keep her, to restore her, and now I had to make a conscientious choice to end her life? Devastated, absolutely devastated, as I called my vet knowing Faith’s story was over, ending due to something unexpected nonetheless! We were fighting and going to win all her other struggles… or so I thought.
I lay there holding her while crying, just waiting for the dreaded sound of her peaceful ending to pull into the driveway. While I laid there with her, it all came to me. See, due to some personal struggles, I have spent a lot of time over the last two years trying to overcome anger and constantly asking God ‘why’. Why do bad things happen? Why do I have to suffer hurtful things? I found my answer studying 1 Peter 5: 6-11. Faith’s life story was no different and just another lesson to me in learning to have faith and to trust the Lord in ALL circumstances, not just when it was convenient for me and not just when things were going in my favor.
I’m not usually one to expose myself like this, and I don’t usually post every bit of ‘horse drama’ that happens inside my barn doors, but I chose to share Faith’s story for some reason, and now I share her ending. I ask that her story not be in vain. I ask that you keep her memory with a purpose.
Faith shouldn’t have been, but she was meant to be! From the griping that my husband did from the time I bought her momma: ‘Why did you buy that no-name mare with Halter/old school bloodlines? No one will ever buy that baby.’ To a constant griping of ‘Sell her. Sell her.’ for about a year, to her momma trying to abort her when she presented with placentitis this past January (now we know why), to being born incredibly small with a dead mummified twin with her, little Faith was meant to be, despite all of the above. She was meant to be. I know what she has taught me. I know her purpose. I ask that she could maybe help you as well.
Study on faith. Read on trust. Learn the deep meaning of 1 Peter 5:6-11. Watch this video. Don’t just say you’re faithful; be faithful.
After my husband carried Faith from her momma’s stall (yes, she was still small enough to carry!) to her ending, she let out the sweetest nicker. It’s a nicker I’ve tossed and turned over for the past two nights. My heart is broken. Selfishly, I hate losing the sweetness that she was. She was all I had envisioned when crossing her momma on Noah. A stout, big hipped, gorgeous headed, strong muscled blue roan was what I had prayed for and fought for for over a year, despite my husband’s wishes for the mare to never enter my barn and her momma’s attempts to abort her. She was here. She was perfect. She just came in a really tiny package.
The lessons she taught me were her purpose. Despite my constant tears, she had a purpose.
We buried her in the back field of our property. I pray that when I get to heaven, I will get to meet Faith at her best! She will have perfect legs to carry her through the pastures of heaven and perfect vision to see God’s paradise! If you get to heaven before I do, when you spot the most gorgeous, blue roan, Quarter Horse filly you’ve ever seen; that is Faith.
Thank you to all who offered support, encouragement, suggestions, advice, and prayers along Faith’s journey.
In loving memory of Faith ofthe Righteous
Many thanks to Tiffany Wilson for sharing her story with our readers. If you have an experience to share, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com.