Windchill rescue colt at Raindance Farms

Windchill, story of a winner
..."Maybe somewhere deep in each being's heart and soul is a belief that it can be loved and that's what Windchill holds on to..."

All of the original blogs as Windchill's story unfolded have been moved to both the website of his foundation (The WindChill Legacy, Ltd.) as well as its official blog site. I left this partially finished page here because...I don't know...because I couldn't delete it.

           Windchill News & Info

Windchill Memories - main page
The Windchill Story (complete as it unfolded)
A day in the life of Windchill
Windchill Videos
Windchill Photo Gallery (under construction)
Windchill in the News (media stories)
Windchill's Forum for Friends (current news & events)
Windchill's Thank you thank you thank you's!
Wisdom carried by the young- "Someday Windchill" 
Sign Windchill's Guest Book
See Windchill's Original Guest Book & Memorial  
Windchill's letter to all the children who wrote him

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, not sure.

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.

April 9th, 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 matter.


April 1st, 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:

raindance farm snow pictureraindance farms snow picture 2raindance farms snow picture 3

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 near...

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!  

friends of barbaro visit raindance farmsfriends of barbaro visit raindance farms 2friends of barbaro visit raindance farms 3friends of barbaro visit raindance farms 4

As you can see below, Layla and her mommy were very excited to have the FoBs visit:

Layla at Raindance FarmsLayla at Raindance FarmsLayla at Raindance Farms

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!


March 26th, 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.

Your friend,


You can write Windchill's caregivers at:

Windchill  (
(please note: if you use a web-based email like Yahoo or Hotmail you will need to cut and paste the above address)

We'll do our best to respond at some point.

Every now and then soft as breath upon my skin
I feel you come back again
And it’s like you haven’t been gone a moment from my side,
Like the tears were never cried,
Like the hands of time were pulling you and me.

And with all my heart I’m sure we’re closer than we ever were,
I don’t have to hear or see I’ve got all the proof I need.
There are more than angels watching over me

I believe
Oh I believe

Now when you die and life goes on, I
t doesn’t end here
When you’re gone every soul has found a flight
It never ends if I’m right.

Our love can even reach across eternity.

I believe
Oh I believe

Forever you’re a part of me,
Forever in the heart of me,
I will hold you even longer if I can.
Oh the people, who don’t see the most,
See that I believe in ghosts.
If that makes me crazy then I am

Cuz I believe
Oh I believe

There are more than angels watching over me.

I believe
Oh I believe

Every now and then soft as breath upon my skin,
I feel you come back again
And I believe.

(I Believe, Diamond Rio)
I believe, Diamond Rio