Windchill rescue colt being hugged, 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..."

This is the Windchill story, in its entirety, as it unfolded. You'll have to start at the bottom, I haven't had time to reverse the order of the posts.          

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Background on Wind Chill's story: We don't know where to start. On Saturday, February 9th we rescued a 9 month old Walkaloosa (Tennessee Walker - Appaloosa cross) at a farm in the area. Frigid conditions (-10F) mixed with high winds  (30mph, wind chill of -50F) finally overcame the little guy's already weakened condition. Suffering from dehydration, malnourishment, hypothermia and frostbite, we loaded the colt we've been calling Wind Chill into one of our horse trailers and raced for home. His story was told in the Duluth News-Tribune:

I'd just like to say I'm not the hero of this story. The true heroes are this little colt and his absolutely amazing will to live against all the odds now stacked against him. They're Kathi Davis, who responded to the call for help so quickly. They're David Stevens who was here without any questions to get him unloaded from the trailer and patiently drying and warming him. They're Karen & Tom Severson who made us hot meals and relieved us from the cold duty of keeping Wind Chill company. They're people like Stacy who has stayed entire days with him to keep him company. They're families like Aaron, Kris and Brooke who are taking shifts to be with him. They're everybody who have called to ask how they can help and what they can do. They're the Douglas County Sheriff's Department - whose Deputies have stopped out several times to see how he's doing. It's people like Nina Peterson and Will Aschenbacher and the Duluth News-Tribune, who rushed out to see the colt for herself and tell his story. They're the people who have been calling the Sheriff, the District Attorney's office, the newspaper and this farm to ask what they can do and ask that justice be done. 


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,


March 19th, 11:19am: Okay guys, I apparently have no clue how to make "hot toddies" as recommended on Windchill's Forum. I think somebody needs to give me far more precise measurements, the one I made could've cleaned rust off old pipes. I could only take a sip. I should clarify - I made that last night, not this morning.

March 17th, 5:40pm: Hey, if you haven't seen snowfall in awhile - click on the Raindance North cam ( It's coming down in big white fluffy flakes. The cats have lined the window sill to watch it and bat at it as it falls gently downward, oblivious of the feline mayhem that awaits it on this side of the window if any of it makes a wrong turn and ends up inside the house. Apparently we're supposed to get a couple of inches. Merlin kitty watches the snow at raindance farms

Merlin kitty watches the snow fall this evening

I'm doing okay guys. I appreciate the concern. It's taking me a little longer than I thought it would to get back fully on my feet. I don't really like it, it removes some of my immortality and invulnerability I'm finding. Unfortunately neither life at the farm, nor life at work have slowed down even though I have for the moment and that isn't helping. I've given up even trying to answer emails or work on organizing this site or even blog, just too hard to breathe right now and I figure a couple of days slacking won't be the end of the world, right? I miss our morning coffee time together though- for that I'm sorry. But...if I can't have coffee right now neither should you, why should I be the only one suffering at the moment (kidding - keep having coffee, I don't wish this on anyone and there's no need for you to face life going unleaded). I will let you in on a little secret for recovering from the flu, a bad cold or walking pneumonia (aside from Patty's amazing pork chops and gravy that she dropped off out here along with the fixins to make a hot toddy which I hope to try tonight - thank you Patty!) - don't let this out, I work in healthcare and we don't want to lose the business but since you're all friends and you've gone out of your way to help me, us and Windchill - I'm going to reveal the secret here, right now - it's Doritos. Also orange juice but if you don't have orange juice just ignore that part, the Doritos is the secret. You never saw me sick before this did you? I suppose you're thinking you had never seen me before this but that's irrelevant. I suggest Spicy Cheese Doritos but the correct Rx is based on your level of illness. Just email me if you get sick and I can prescribe the right type of Doritos according to your symptoms. Anyway, I stopped on the way home to get some tonight so I'm pretty sure I'll be cured soon and in my weakened state you managed to get the secret out of me. Anyway, thanks for bearing with me here while I fight this crud, unfortunately it all caught up with me at once and mix that with the feelings - I suppose even the depression - of losing Windchill and I guess it takes a little more time to recover. We haven't been resting much though - we have the non-profit's name, articles of incorporation and mission statement done. I guess I just hate not doing anything and that's stuff that can be done in the house. Anyway, mostly wanted to let you know I'm doing okay, down but definitely not out.

March 15th, 10:00pm: I'm sorry I haven't had the chance to start working on the videos and other photos on here. This pneumonia crap has really taken it out of me so I've been trying to rest a bit. I did get outside today and move some round bales out to the pastures with Excalibur so we should be good out there for awhile. It was a pretty day - Paula from Duluth came over and gave a few of the horses a good brushing. I forgot to warn her how hot the hot cocoa was so I'm hoping she's not spending the evening in an ER as a result... I'll try to post more in a day or two. I need to start organizing this as well, I never designed my site to be a blogging site yet I know quite a few of you use this for your news so I'm hesitant to make any dramatic changes but I'll see what I can do to organize it at least. Sorry for the short report - but I know you've been worried so thought I'd better log in and let you know I'm still breathing, albeit a little slower and harsher.

I see Windchill's Forum is very active - I'm very proud of you guys for helping each other through the grief and pain. You've been great support to me as well and we appreciate all the ideas and information you've been sharing. The forum will also be your best place for the trial news. I've decided I'm not going to blog on the trial for the owners of the farm he was at. Honestly you guys do a better job tracking it all online anyway and I just think it's better if I'm not the one posting about it.

March 13th, 10:16pm: I think this may be the longest period I haven't posted, a whole day. This stuff sure takes it out of you. Top it off with a day of mud being thrown and it's a full and complete day. I don't see it as being productive to dignify some of the stupid things being said or written with an answer, it'd waste my otherwise witty repertoire and drain what little energy I have. By now you've all seen the article, you've seen the decision and how it was conveyed. We're disappointed but we're using this opportunity to continue the formation of Windchill's non-profit organization with a goal of applying for 501(c)3 status (tax deductible non-profit).  It's is a fairly lengthy process but we have both attorneys and accountants who are assisting us pro bono (donating their time and expertise) so the donations we have received towards this can be used for the mission. Donors can choose to donate to the new organization or not - either way we intend to carry onward and sincerely appreciate your thoughts and the donations we have received. Your assistance would be very welcome. We have three board members already and have the articles of incorporation almost ready to be filed - woohoo!

As for the mud slinging itself, I guess I'd ask if it's worth it? It's unlikely anybody involved in it currently is going to change the other's opinions. Some things are loudly worth fighting for - I understand that. Letters asking for justice or requesting and supporting change are an example if you ask me. But some of the ugliness I saw posted before I decided it wasn't worth assimilating anymore, I don't think that's worth my time. Some people need to believe the world is a truly jaded, horrible place. They need to fit all circumstances they see, hear or read about into that view - thus to them the only reason people do things is self benefit or personal gain. It's a sad statement that so many have reached that point in their lives and thus they perpetuate that as  reality, causing the rest of us to  then view the world cynically...until something like Windchill happens and reminds us that there is good in the world, in fact much more good than bad, much more positive than negative. I think the problem is the negative gets better press so it seems like there's so much more of it. And to those that have chosen to attack me personally, as well as my farm - have you been out here? You're certainly welcome to. Got lots of chores - you can help shovel things here literally that you're currently shoveling figuratively. And it just might be good for your soul to be around the gentle spirits of a bunch of horses, an over-zealous dog and a couple of lazy cats. I promise if at the end of your visit it hasn't been everything I promised, you can go back to cynically hating me with no hard feelings and then add some legitimacy to your statements because you'll actually have met me and can make it a more personal form of cynical dislike rather than the current distant, armchair variety. A word of warning though - I can't hug you right now because of the pneumonia so if that part of the visit is important to you (we all know how much cynics like to hug), you'll want to continue disparaging me from a distance for now and schedule once I've gotten better. 

March 11th, 9:16pm: Well at least I know why my body is so heavy lately and I can't quite breathe...walking pneumonia...groan... I'm wiped so I'm sorry but this will be a short post and I'll make it up to you guys, okay?

I saw on Windchill's forum that the owners of the farm Windchill was at have apparently received a threatening letter from someone. I understand your anger and your frustration but threatening people isn't the way to go about it. Windchill was the sweetest, most innocent being I think I have ever met. He had a gentle, peaceful spirit. If he held no anger and hatred in his soul towards any of us - shouldn't we honor his spirit by continuing forward with his same quiet resolve? You can write letters but I really think you should rise above those that harm other beings, through abuse or neglect, by channeling that anger - that desire to protect the vulnerable like Windchill - and write letters to those that can cause positive change so this doesn't happen again. Write your senators, your congressman - tell them Windchill's story and ask for stronger legislation so that it's not a mere slap on the wrist. Write your county boards and ask for tougher ordinances. Call your local law enforcement or humane society if you suspect abuse or neglect. You, the world, came together to help show a little colt he could know love - and you won. You showed him. Now show that same faith and action and turn your anger to energy and use that energy to cause change. Keep a button or picture of Windchill with you - look into his eyes, look at his face. You never saw anger - you always, always saw hope and quiet resolve. Every single day from the moment Windchill got here his eyes burned with that hope. You're reading this because you heard or saw the story of a little colt who believed he could be loved and he in turn loved us. He brought the world together and he made you all a family. Let's face the world with the same quiet dignity that Windchill showed the world. I think he proved you don't need violence to cause revolution. Just faith and resolve.

As for the owners of that farm, they are now being held accountable by the justice system. It now falls on the shoulders of the district attorney's office and the courts to try those individuals. It will probably be a long and frustrating process to many. One of the best 'weapons' against resolve is time. We as a society like things done quickly. The longer it takes, the less stamina we have. I just want to bring that to your attention because this is not going to be a battle that goes to the swift, it will go to those that last the longest. Is Windchill worth it to you?

In Wisconsin we will be working towards a Windchill's Law. You can do the same in your State or county. Over time Windchill's foundation will have materials to help you in this fight - a summary of what happened here, a request for change you can use for your letters, a network to help people in their fight - as well as  to help those that are helping horses like Windchill all over this country. To do it - we need you. We need that energy you have. Together we can positively cause change.

March 10th, 10:15pm: As I mentioned earlier, I know many of you are still getting your news from me right here and you're eagerly watching to see if I post about the hearing today. I will-  though there's not much to tell. The farm owners were scheduled for a 3pm appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse - their attorney entered their plea of 'not guilty' and it was off to the next case. Around 10 or so showed up in support of Windchill, we all wore purple ribbons or Windchill buttons.  I don't know if I'll post much about the case here or on the forums. I'm just not sure. I'm tied too closely to it. I think it would probably be too easy to stir emotions and public sentiment with my own chaotic emotions on this and I don't want to abuse the trust you have placed in me by reading my words here and coming back each day. I don't know. I'm conflicted because then I think I have come this far and told Windchill's story and isn't this a part of it? Yet I don't think this is the most important part. The most important part started February 9th and it grew and grew and grew. Only his body left us February 29th, his spirit is still here. I find it difficult to return to the ways of old. My body is still programmed for the routine we had for those 20 days so a return to eating and sleeping hasn't occurred yet, not fully. More importantly is the desire to keep things rolling on his non-profit. Every day there's a new volunteer, a new resource. We're developing the website for him. We have several folks we've asked to consider being on the board. We have an attorney working on the formation of the organization, along with another matter. And we've started sketching ideas for the database behind the national resource network. We have a start to being able to help others in their rescues - we have you. You are the most powerful 'force' I think I've ever experienced. I was once on the end of runway not paying attention when the crew chief marshaled an F-4D fighter out of its position. It turned and there I looked into the turbines as the pilot wound it up to taxi - it inflated my lungs, picked me straight up and I flew - standing perfectly vertical - for quite a ways before landing - again on my feet. That feeling was nothing compared to what  I have seen firsthand with the power of your love and caring - and it is AWESOME. And we have a ton of coffee and cookies to prove it...

I may change my thoughts on this but I think for at least right now I will keep you updated by perhaps posting links to the places on the forum where people are tracking the case and let them be my reports to you. I saw someone had posted the next date is April 7th for a pre-trial hearing and update.

Let's see - oh yeah, one other thing I forgot to tell you I think - I've asked the computer company to finish the work on the webcams we had started for Windchill. The signal booster thing and router are already in there from their previous work, they just need to install the cams they had ordered for Windchill and for his security - so you guys can watch a baby horse be born. You'll then be able to watch the (Lord willing) healthy foal grow, nurse, feed, play. I think you're going to really enjoy this and hopefully it will help all of our hearts a little bit to see new life where another was lost to us. And I have no doubt Windchill will be there in spirit with the new baby. I feel him now from time to time. And sometimes when I look in his stall I still see him pushing himself around in circles and I laugh. And I cry. I think becoming so recognized nationally, even internationally, is amazing and an honor and a surprise. But selfishly I would trade the 'honor' to see him standing in the stall now next to his half-sisters, and playing with the boys in the North (Skyla) pasture every morning - just another anonymous horse at a little known backwoods farm on a hill overlooking Lake Superior where he played with an unknown blue eyed dog and was fed by an unknown blue eyed cowboy or a trainer who is perhaps a little more well known...and yet somehow the anonymity never bothered him or his brothers or sisters in those pastures because they were loved and they knew it. 

March 10th, 9:15pm: Let's see - first of all, apparently most of you are still looking for your news and things here and haven't seen the forum so I wanted to share with you that a friend named Betsy, from Duluth took one of the last photos of Windchill on February 29th. This past Saturday she brought out buttons for the Windchill care team made from this picture. FYI, at Walgreens Plaza in Duluth - 218.724.8551 (ask for Lynn in the Camera Department) - Betsy had it turned into a button that she brought for the crew that took care of Windchill.

Betsy graciously offered the negative to us (again, at Walgreens) for others who may want to order the buttons and wear them, particularly to the court house if you're going but elsewhere as well, in support of Windchill. The intention is to reinforce the support out there for Windchill.

If enough of you would like, we could probably go order a big batch and send them out to people, Betsy said they were around $2.25 I believe, something in that area. I don't know if Walgreens will ship, or if you can perhaps order from a Walgreens near you since I think they put it in their system but I don't know for sure. I'll call to get more details tomorrow, okay?

March 9th, 10:10pm: After chores tonight I came inside and I answered as many emails as I could. I typed and typed. I feel that so many of you have poured your hearts out to me in emails, you have felt such pain over Windchill's loss that I feel an obligation to you to read them - and to write you back. And I will. I guess it will take time. I finally had to lay down for awhile and found my body much heavier than when I laid it down. I guess I figured out tonight that I have gotten so used to the schedule we had with Windchill here - that I was maintaining that pace. Maybe somehow believing it would make him come back. It was something that connected me to him. I was used to no sleep. I was used to life being a blurred frame of night and day, people coming and going, making sure Windchilll had volunteers for the part of the blur we weren't here to personally cover. My day revolved more around 6pm than any other time. 6pm was the highlight of my day. The people that became Windchill's family became mine. We all cheered a little after 6pm every day for the past X amount of blur. Someday I will read my own blog to figure out how much time that was. Proud parents watching a child learn to walk again. And bless their hearts, that same 'family' are the ones that came to my rescue with the horse trailer. It never occurred to me to ask them. I'm used to being in it alone - so I always have a backup plan. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how the backup plan for the trailer failed - I had a spare tire, I had fix-a-flat, I had a hydraulic jack as backup to the trailer ramp for replacing the tire. All of which failed. I brought the trailer home and it broke on the way - none of the usual supplies I have for this planned-for situation were with. That's not me. I always plan.

Well tonight it occurred to me it wasn't my plan failing - it was another one's succeeding. Windchill's last vision on this earth was that we were his family - me, Kathi, Gary and Polly, Lori and Ashley, Larry and Char, Sunday and Kisses, the boys across the aisle, Walker and Olivia, Karen, Stacy, all of his close volunteers - we were his family. And you, the world, were intertwined as well - he felt you, knew you were there - and so did we. It took a completely unfathomable situation - with a series of events that are beyond coincidental (I plan for every conceivable circumstance with my toolkit and travel supplies! ) for me to realize.  I've thought and thought about this. I blamed it on my tiredness originally - but the toolkit is in my truck. The equipment worked when I put it in the trailer. But - the last time when the trailer broke Thursday night, I was given only enough odds and ends to get the trailer to a place to leave it. Windchill's last vision on earth wasn't just about himself. I didn't know that. I assumed that with Windchill's passing - so went everybody else. I was back to 'me' or having to solve things here ourselves. I was wrong. Windchill's vision of family applied to me too - to us. It took the over-active imagination of a 9 month old colt to knock me over the head repeatedly to let me know I'm not alone. (I've learned Windchill, please ease up on the trailer now...)  Windchill brought together strangers and acquaintances and turned them into friends and somewhere in all this we became a family. He brought together strangers from all over the world and in no time at all - they were part of his family as well. You came together, you helped, you prayed, you supported. And now, you support each other on his forum, helping each other to heal and working so that good can come of what has happened. And you reached out and helped me. Thank you all for being here and not going away. I'm not going anywhere either. Thanks for becoming my family. And most of all, thanks Windchill for not forgetting me, or us. I miss you terribly but I thank you for still being here. And I understand now.

Love, your dad

March 9th, 3:26pm: Well we have returned after a slow journey bringing the trailer over the bridge to WI. I owe Chad at Northland Truck Accessories in Duluth a "thank you" for letting me abandon the barge there for those couple of days and Larry & Char Ericksen a thanks as well for showing up at my door to announce they had the equipment in the truck and were going to try and raise the beast. By the time we got there to unload hay and straw from it, Larry had already hooked up the trailer, taken the wheel off, anchored the forward axle and was ready to go! And guess what - we DOUBLED the speed we were able to haul it from the 10mph last Thursday night to over 20mph at times. My apologies to those on the Oliver Bridge and on who were stuck behind us...

If you weren't already aware, we have a baby due in the next week or so and so I may still ask the computer company about running the web server with cam so the world can watch a baby be born and what a foal looks like as it develops. Hopefully Bonnie will wait a bit longer to let it warm up. After that the only other one due is actually going to be a Windchill half brother or sister, due this Spring to Lily. Also, if you haven't been over to Windchill's forum, I put a brief history of Windchill's background prior to February 9th. Windchill's dad is the stallion Kathi stands here, his name is Simmer. Simmer's gentle spirit is probably in part where Windchill's gentleness came from. The one claim to fame I have with Simmer is that I've taught him to put his ears back so he can wear my cowboy hat. He moves very slowly when I put it on his head, trying to balance it. He thinks it's good for meeting mares and really, he looks quite good in a cowboy hat.

March 8th, 11:58pm: know after talking to so many of you today I already know that you are watching and waiting to silently say "hi" even as I type this. And now I know what some of you look like - up til now you've had the advantage and had seen me (like that's helpful for anything I guess...). We're really all friends and family at this point, aren't we. We talked a bit about the forum today - again many thanks are owed to Sara ("Spooky") for some long days and nights getting it going and then moving it once we realized the old server place couldn't handle the volume you guys dish out. I hadn't realized how much coming here to 'virtual' Raindance - this website - meant to so many. While Windchill was the being that drew you here, it seems Raindance has become your farm, if only on your computer screen. It seems to be the first visit of the day for most folks, checking over a cup of coffee and then the last stop before heading off to bed. Some of you check throughout the day as well - even now. I'm honored. I don't feel like I'm much of a 'speaker' but it seems we're destined to be lifelong friends, you the world and me. I'm glad I've gotten to see your faces so that as we get together here a couple of times a day and we talk over a steaming cup of coffee - I can picture you as well. Since Raindance has become your chosen country home - I'll do my best in the days ahead to give you all a better picture of what it's like here, how about that? I'll take more pictures and introduce you to the residents of our pastures and house. Or if you'd prefer, I won't bore you with those details. You can let me know.

Today was a good day. It was cold enough to at least give people a minimal taste of  what it was like February 9th. No wind, and 20 degrees warmer than it was that day but I think Windchill gave us enough of a taste. To counter-balance it he put in a good word and it was sunny out. Kind of bittersweet weather to match the occasion. Raindance's flags have flown at half mast all week. Tomorrow (which is now actually today as I type this) the flags will return to their place flying high. Around 45 people visited today to see our place and Windchill's humble stall. Windchill's oak urn sat atop his favorite red blanket adorned by a patriotic cross, the small sack of tobacco, the prayer beads given while he was a live, and some pictures. The stall was decorated by all the cards we have received, along with the various children's posters and book we received. The sled we pulled him out on was next to his urn. We can't complain about a long day - Patty flew in from Indiana to be here - her day started at midnight the night before. She brought treats for everyone and a beautiful floral arrangement with red roses representing Windchill and white baby's breath representing the snow. Patty, you left before I could hug you goodbye, I was getting more coffee for everyone - I'm sorry! There was friends from around the area, the Twin Cities and the Iron Range. Lots of offers for help with the foundation in lots of ways - thank you so much. There is no unneeded talent - only unrecognized talent and skills and your skills are needed. Do you sew? Can you write? Take pictures? Help organize in your area? Make care packages for those doing rescue work? YOU are needed and you are powerful in your actions - every single one of you. As for those that came here Saturday - I only wish you people had eaten more! All those cookies and bars that people flew in for this occasion, neighbors bringing things by - you have to get better at eating in the cold if you're to pull barn duty! Let's hope someday the only barn duty anybody has to pull is for foaling. If we're going to dream, dream big, right? I am going to be typing people's names on Windchill's "Thank You" list for a LONG time to come. A new friend came out to tell us they are building a barn in Iron River and will be accepting rescue horses as part of their plan. You see - one step at a time, Windchill has had an impact and influence. You - We - and Us - can make a difference. I'm so proud of all of you. So much so I even hugged people back. I guess you can thank Windchill for that - prior to February 9th I was happy having people outside of my 'airspace.' After February 9th I would take a hug from whoever wanted to offer it. Mostly because of the cold of course. Don't want to sully my hardcore reputation. Thanks for making this a really special day everyone. And those that weren't able to attend - we know you were here in spirit and we appreciate it.

March 8th, 8:50am: Good morning family. If you're coming out today - please dress warmly. It's -7 right now but I think it will keep warming up, probably get up to around 10 above today I'd guess, maybe a tad higher. We're trying to put out as many of the cards and things people have sent with Windchill in his stall as possible. I'll be sure to take some pictures so that you can see his final resting spot, for those unable to come out. And later this weekend I hope to start working on the photo gallery I mentioned I'd be working on. My priority had been getting the forum up for all of us and I think that's been very well received.

March 7th, 7:05pm: To the world at large - the only word I can think of is WOW. I went to my PO Box today and apparently it is possible to send love through the United States Postal Service. My PO box was full and had several cards telling me to go to the counter - I gave the card to the rep who looked at it and said "Oh yeah, you have A LOT of mail." In realm that existed before I had met you, the world, 'a lot of mail' meant it would fit in my arms or in a small box. A lot of mail meant the credit card companies had tracked me down and that I may have already won...  What the new definition of a lot of mail is they have to let me use a card to bring it out and it's a good thing I have a truck with an extended cab! You sent cookies, you sent gifts, you sent cards, you sent donations for his foundation. The Friends of Barbaro have registered a star in Windchill's name - appropriately in the Pegasus cluster, we now have a beautiful framed declaration and location of the star (thanks Ann - who acted as FOB's ambassador for this). There were care packages with hot cocoa and coffee. And in the spirit of the Appaloosa part of Windchill and in Native American tradition, Jill from Duluth sent a pouch with tobacco to keep near Windchill's urn - which we will honor Jill. There's an Apache blessing to keep near Windchill, honoring his spirit (and again, we will honor your wishes and keep it near). I hope those of you that sent such beautiful tributes will consider posting the tributes and your thoughts regarding them on Windchill's forum. I don't know if I can post it right here without possibly violating somebody's copyrighted thoughts but they're beautiful. Many of you have also sent poems and beautiful tributes and now that there's the forum, I may try to start cutting and pasting some of them but I don't want to risk violating anyone's personal thoughts in doing so I've been cautious in that regard.

Somebody's thoughts that I don't believe will be offended that I share will be Ms. Millard's 1st grade class from Meadowvale Elementary School, Elk River, MN. Ms. Millard and our little friends - the scrapbook you made is so beautiful. I know that you wrote it around the time Windchill's friends at Northern Lights Elementary School in Superior, WI wrote get well letters and I hope that you all have read Windchill's letter to you that he had left in his stall. Because Ms. Millard's first grade class words have such hope for a little colt, I'm typing them up -- they're too precious not to share. I wish you could see the book they made, which they called "Someday". Click here to read the wisdom carried by the young 

March 7th, 11:02am: Morning friends. I'm sorry for the late post but I'm still adjusting to the normal world again and took the day off today to sort of 'crash'. The pain is working its way out of my system, one of the nurses from work who has the unfortunate role of being my advisor when I goof something up (like the spilled coffee incident...groan...) said it will be some time before my own systems return to normal. In the meantime, it's ibuprofen to take the 'edge' off and this morning just laying trying to get some rest. Fortunately people have been understanding and supportive in my work life.

More importantly for you - after two days of testing and working on the forum, it's being moved to a new high speed server with a lot of bandwidth this morning. We think we've got the bugs out though you may prove me wrong once this starts but the important thing is that shortly we will have a way for everyone to talk, to post their thoughts and their grief and find out that they're not alone. I think we all need that. I've done my best to respond to emails as quickly as I can but as I type this, there are 600 sitting in my inbox and some of you have sent back responses to my responses and I read what I wrote and wonder if I'm on any prescription medication or if english is my second language. The answer is no to both of those but at least that would've given me an excuse.

The new forum is located at: Windchill Forum

The forum is a work in progress - it will eventually be a component of the Windchill foundation site - I have a request out for people to develop the new site. Unfortunately developers have had difficulty understanding this is for a non-profit site. I'm also not sure how the blogging will work - if you still want me to be blogging. Not sure whether that should be here on this site, or on the forum. It probably won't be part of the official foundation site since my views may not be what equine director emeritus' Windchill's views might be on things - for instance I make no bones that I like cigars and coffee, his views may be different on that (though he never complained once I might add). Thus please bear with us as we get this going. Even though we're still tweaking the forum even as I type this, I'm going to announce it now so that you have a place to start talking. The speed issues will be resolved shortly as it migrates to its new high speed, high bandwidth server. One thing I've learned in 'talking' with you like this - you like to listen apparently. For you techies, this blog and site are now using around 120 gig of bandwidth. The most I ever used in the past was 4 gig for an entire month! Thanks for your support, your kind words and your prayers. You are amazing people.

By the way, we've heard from quite a few people hoping to come out tomorrow to see Windchill, the stall he lived, talk and remember. Some folks are flying in, many others are driving. I'll try to post the weather later so you know what you're in for. It's nice out today, though still only 1 degree so a bit colder than some of the places you're coming from.

Windchill books: I've mentioned the idea of writing a couple of books - one for 'big' people and one for 'little' people and gotten a lot of support for the idea (the proceeds of which would go to the foundation or fund). Ummm, does anyone have any idea how you actually publish the book(s)? Are any of you literary agents or knowledgeable in how to go about this? I suppose we could self publish these days. I don't know, I guess I find with Windchill gone what energy I have I want to apply to the greater good. To me that's meant finding a way to connect you all up to talk and heal, work on the foundation idea and the books idea. It's probably left over adrenaline I'm guessing. Thanks for listening to these ramblings and letting me know your thoughts, this has helped me immensely knowing we haven't been in this alone.

March 6th, 10:45pm: Well it was a long, arduous journey back. The hoped for peaceful, uneventful return trip was anything but. After having to buy two new tires and rims this week for the trailer and installing late this afternoon before leaving Anoka, I hit a bump on the way back and it shattered the leaf spring. Of course this apparently can only happen in the cold when you have aren't dressed for it (it's 0 right now as I write this) so there alongside the road Rachael and I had to tie up the remains of the spring so it wouldn't drag and drive back at 10mph. After laying on the cold ground tying that thing up, 10mph with a heater going wasn't so bad. The trailer's currently abandoned on the edge of town similar to how they had to ditch the lunar capsule or whatever that was on Apollo 13...

BUT - the good news is that as of 9:30pm this evening Windchill was returned home to Raindance. It felt good to turn into the driveway knowing that after such a long journey and all its accompanying adventure and mishaps, he was finally back where he belongs. I know there are a lot of people waiting and watching, wanting to know when Windchill came home so I'm going to post this now to let you all know.

March 5th, 11:28pm: By the way, I had a thought or inspiration as I was writing somebody back about their pain with Windchill's loss. The gist of her question was she didn't understand why the loss of Windchill was effecting her so deeply - she couldn't stop crying. I've gotten the same type of note from literally hundreds of people each day. And it hit me while I was typing that email back that perhaps the reason it has hit people so hard was that if we are all indeed spiritual beings in these carbon-based shells - then the spirit and feelings that connected us to Windchill could connect you just as easily. In your hearts, and in your thoughts and prayers you touched Windchill every day. It was that 'touching' that healed his heart and spirit. If there is no distance between us and God - or if your belief system is different perhaps you might think of that as positive light and energy - then it stands to reason that there was no distance between your loving, caring spirits and Windchill. And if your spirits did touch Windchill - then the loss you feel in your hearts right now - the reason that you can't stop crying or hurting over this - is that you connected with exactly the thing that kept us and our volunteer care team at his side every single day. You understand why we now say that what we gave of our bodies and maybe even our spirits - was a small token compared to what we received in being a part of his incredibly powerful spirit of hope and that amazing quiet resolve he had. Physically we will heal in time. Inside, we will carry that spirit of hope forward. I think we are all warmed inside by Windchill. And I think the degree of pain and grief so many are feeling is an indicator of the amount of hope and caring this world has in its heart. We just needed Windchill to help us find it. Thank you so much little guy.

March 5th, 11:01pm: Wow, I just looked at when I last posted - how's that for precision? I've been working tonight on the online forum option for everyone, plus I got an email from a friend who is a programmer who said she may have a forum going on her server as well. So I hope to go 'live' with the new community by tomorrow hopefully. We've gotten hundreds of emails from people asking for it, lots more that are just supportive in general and that means a lot to us, more than mere words on this screen can convey.

Separately - if you've called and left voicemails, or filled out the online forms on my site - it'll be awhile before I catch up. I do want to say "thank you" to all of the people that called with resources and ideas - both when Windchill was still fighting on earth, and afterwards in support of his loss and some of the ideas we've mentioned here - the foundation (still open to possibly working with a foundation in the meantime...) as well as offers to assist in various aspects. The website is turning into something more difficult than envisioned - in part because we want the online forum to be a part of it and some other dynamic parts that will be part of the mission of the foundation or fund.

FYI, for those coming from southern areas to see Windchill's ashes and the place that he called home for 20 days (and will forever) - please remember to dress warmly. The driveway is icy and you'll be in a barn so I wouldn't suggest you wear your 'school shoes.'

Tomorrow's the big day. I have new tires ready to put on the trailer tomorrow afternoon. Guess it'll be crazy for awhile, swap out of my 'costume' (business suit) and into my 'after school play clothes' and head for Anoka. Hopefully I'll be on the road by late afternoon and have Windchill home by early evening. That's the plan anyway. Midwest said the ashes will weigh about 30 lbs in the oak urn. Kind of a small amount of weight for such a big legacy, isn't it? I think we'll both feel better knowing he's home though. It just seems like time has been a blur. I think I'll stop here because I'll start to dwell and wish and get angry. Less than a week ago he whinnied when we went in the door. Now we have to listen for it in the wind I guess.

Several different communicators 'talked' with Windchill on an ongoing basis. They asked if that was okay. We didn't tell each of them what the others had reported regarding their interactions with Windchill. And the similarities that each had to say, particularly at the end were so striking it's almost unnerving. I suppose lots won't believe in such things. I'm not really asking you to. Having personally seen the spirituality of beings, human and animal, I no longer question these things. I listen. If I have time tomorrow I'll post the collective notes that came from these communicators and healers. We found a lot of comfort in knowing what Windchill felt and thought, both during his fight for life and the final moments of his life. This isn't intended to be a 'cliffhanger' I'm just too wiped to try and find Kathi's notes so I apologize. Thanks everyone for hanging in here with us and for listening and caring.

March 5th, 11:01am: I'm sorry for the delay friends. I haven't been feeling well and tried to lay and get some rest but that muscular pain inside makes any position really uncomfortable so here I am.

I got a very nice note from Dr. Carolyn Stull and UC-Davis on the "why" that I had originally put in simple, "Jeff" terms. (Remember, I was the 'cowboy' novice on a team that included lifelong horse owners and professionals) She wrote the email at the level Kathi understands things but it was a great note and very supportive of our efforts. We will be forever grateful to those who were willing to help - and take the heat for that help. Dr. Meagher is a wonderful vet and we appreciate her time immensely. Dr.  Meyer called not only to check on Windchill, but check on us to see how we were holding up. Dr. Stull from the University of California-Davis was invaluable in providing us resources regarding equine starvation, proper diet at various recovery stages, and the physiological effects of extreme starvation on a horse's system. Anoka Equine Veterinary Services was very caring and stayed on 24/7 alert ready to accept Windchill and provide care, as well as the security he needed. They were also very gracious and understanding of our feelings and need to be near him had the care team decided to move him.

I'm experimenting with several blogging-type sites to see which will work for all of us to 'talk'. Thanks for your suggestions folks - they've helped immensely. The tire place here in St. Paul called and said the tires are ready. Groan. Had to buy new rims as well, the old ones required tubes which apparently people don't like to deal with anymore and I just gave up - I'd just like to get my trailer back without taking it apart and bringing it home in boxes or the backseat or something. Holy smokes did it take a long time to filter out the stupid spamming on the guestbook. Unbelievable. I think it's clean again, hopefully.

By the way, for whatever it's worth - Kathi and I and lots of others are going through the same grief that brings you back here. I know that people don't understand. I know that there's posts out there from the jaded, hardened masses along the lines of "he was just a horse, get over it." I know that there's suffering out there and I know that there are people that just get annoyed that 'just a horse' got some attention - they'd rather their newspaper be filled with what they're used to - carnage, death, depression. They're used to driving by the people on the road whose car is broke down without so much as making a cell call to help them. They're used to walking by those who are needy. They can drive by a Salvation Army center and not think twice about the extra blankets they have sitting on their shelves unused, or the jackets they bought years ago that maybe someday they'll wear so why donate them? You're probably not going to be able to change their opinions - and it's America, they do have their right to their opinion. It doesn't necessarily make their opinion right or wrong, they just have the right to it. BUT...WE can choose not to listen to them. We can choose to be different and use our experience from Windchill's loss as a chance to connect with people all over the country and in fact the world who feel that maybe - just maybe - some people working together that care can change things for the better a step at a time. Just like a 9 month old colt did - he walked his way into your heart, just like he did ours. So don't let the naysayers get to you - believe me, we've heard plenty during this struggle. Heck, we've gotten it from organizations. It's not going to change our resolve. I hope it doesn't change yours either.

March 4th, 11:53pm: I'm still in the big city (St. Paul). People go about their business and I find I'm having some trouble re-entering their world. I just don't feel like the problems that were so major before are such a big deal now. 20 days with Windchill  (sounds like a good title for the book I have been thinking about writing about this) seems to have equated to a lifetime of change. I don't want to go back to what was. Windchill taught me how one step can make a difference. And the world changes in steps. I'm positive that, led by his spirit and memory, we can all change the world one step at a time. I grow more sure of that with each hour that passes since he left earth. I guess what I'm finding from all your emails is that you want to be here to walk this path together. We're grateful for that.

I am still working on the forum, a number of Windchill's friends emailed with various services and I have a programmer friend in the Twin Cities researching some options - right now getting that forum going is my priority. Clearly there are a lot of people hurting and I think we need each other to talk about these things and you need a voice as well so that it's not my meandering rambling you're forced to listen to. 

March 4th, 8:08am: Okay, so much for hoping it was a one night recovery. Finding I have to take it slow with just about everything - food, rest, sleep. I feel an obligation to return emails to all the kind folks who have written but that will be a long time project yet I find without Windchill to worry about in the barn, this remains a connection to him and his spirit. I realize that our roles have probably reversed - he's safe and happy and looking out for us like that deal with the horse trailer Sunday. It's just hard - maybe this is what it's like when you finally watch your children grow up and leave the nest and someday they're back to help you with your errands and threaten you with the knowledge that they'll help choose your nursing home? Right at this point I feel like so many of what were major problems before are so petty. I've mentioned before I think, while our lives may return to whatever normal is, they'll never be the same. I just find escaping that contagious little spirit of his is impossible. As I start to look at pictures and try to figure out how to create a gallery of our time with him, I'm always drawn back to that innocent face, those bright, bright eyes and how flippin' adorable he was. And it wasn't until he was laying in the trailer that we realized just how bright that star was on his forehead. I don't know if that was how it was as he lay in the barn or the result of his departure from earth but it was so brilliant. Maybe it was left as a physical reminder of the brightness his eyes had. We sure miss the little guy. I'm not sure what's worse - as an equine professional, Kathi understood more the odds and chances. I think for myself, and for others on his care team, ignorance was bliss. The odds were just a challenge we ignored. Yet we all gave our hearts to Windchill. His sweet innocence made it impossible not to, no matter how big and tough you were. I won't name names with that statement - a glance at the red eyes last weekend would have answered that. I don't think it made any of us less tough, it just made us better as human beings.

As we develop Windchill's foundation, I'm finding there's a lot of folks wanting to help as well as donate and participate in its development. I think I will need to add, at least for now, a separate link off here with notes on the organization as it's developed as well as its needs. The obvious needs at this moment are the accounting and legal and we have some folks willing to help develop it pro bono. We are exploring options for the interim - tax deductible non-profit status is a journey that requires IRS approval and that's quite a process - and to keep things moving we are exploring ideas such as affiliation with a foundation to create a Windchill Fund (we have already created a restricted fund as listed in the donation section) as well as another structure to operate under for the interim. We will keep you updated on that page, I'll try to set that up later tonight or later this week if time doesn't permit today. If you're a graphic artist and/or website developer, I'd love to hear from you on the development of a site that hopefully captures the spirit of Windchill. Thanks for caring and continuing to ask you guys - you've really helped keep our spirits up and you mean so much to all of us.

March 3rd, 7:18pm: Last night was truly wicked. I guess the last three weeks of my life - which had been force-fed to me through a blur of coffee, adrenaline, cigars, bites of food here and there (kindly dropped off by caring people - thank you again folks), topped off by the loss of the little guy and then the emotional hammering that accompanied it all hit at once. I have no idea how Kathi has kept it up and hope it doesn't hit in the same way but I suppose a crash was inevitable. 2 Tylenol PMs and later 3 ibuprofen did nothing to alleviate the pain. I don't wish that on anybody and I hope it was a one night thing but I suppose it wasn't a one night thing to get into this shape, so perhaps wishful thinking it will be a one night reconciliation back to health.

Thursday afternoon I leave for Anoka to fix the trailer and pick up Windchill's ashes. I would guess he'll finally be back home in the late afternoon or early evening and be back where he belongs.

We've decided to open the farm up Saturday, March 8th to allow for those that were unable to say "goodbye" to the little guy to do so if they'd like. I don't know that we'll do anything more formal, such as a memorial service - I think his life has been chronicled here as we lived it and breathed it the last three weeks. We will of course have coffee and hot water for cocoa or tea on hand.

March 3rd, 4:07pm: A 3 hour truck ride later and I'm back. And my email box is filled with people hoping that I will continue to post here and I will. I think I need it as much as you do. I also think you need to talk as well. I think we all need to 'hug' at a distance (something else Windchill taught me, normally I don't like people in my airspace and now I find I need them in order to survive, just as he did).

Thus I wish to make an appeal to those with 'techie' friends. I will be making a list of the things we need help with to make Windchill's non-profit a reality. But we have an immediate need that I think somebody can help us fulfill out there - I would like to create an online forum for Windchill and those cared about him. I will gladly continue to post here but I think you need to share your thoughts as well. So many have written such beautiful things, encouragement and concern over our health, poems and songs and pictures. His guestbook - first a way to encourage him, and now a way to grieve for him and say "goodbye" is probably not the solution. It's a way to shout out at the universe that you care - and you're doing that and it means so much. I'm sure it would mean a lot to him. And I know it means a lot to those of us who cared for him day and night.

So world I'm asking for your help in creating that forum - either a program I can somehow plug into my website, or a blog site that's relatively easy to use -- but isn't filled with commercialism either,so we'll need to find a way to make it affordable to me. Absolutely none of the dollars donated for Windchill are being used to pay for things like the bandwidth all of you fans of his have used with this site, memory space, etc. We feel very strongly those dollars should go first towards whatever the final amounts of all the costs were for his care and then towards his non-profit organization thus I will pay for the site.

By the way, people from all over the world seem to be lighting candles for Windchill - I thought the fact that people have been doing that through his ordeal, and now in his passing, was absolutely beautiful. I think we have our friend at Friends of Barbaro for that:

Candlelight vigil site

March 3rd, 11:07am: I've come to realize a big part of the reason I come here is that Windchill made us a family. We could all come here and talk about him, vent our frustrations, our sadness, our anger - and there were people who listened. You're still coming back - and so am I. And so I'll tell you what - to help in my own healing, our own healing, I'll be working on filling in the missing pieces that we never had time to finish. Posting more videos. Posting more pictures. And trying to answer some of the questions that came in. I have to leave for the Twin Cities shortly so I will work on this over time. Later in the week I have to try and give a presentation and pretend that I'm okay. I have four days to get to that point. And in the next couple of weeks I will be working on his new foundation website and as part of that I will move all of this, or at least copy it there - so that those that want to continue to be part of this family can be. Windchill lit the candle. We are determined to keep it burning. And together I hope that we can heal. I go between coherent thought and eyes burning so I can't promise I won't slide into hell for moments. But in the end Windchill went through hell and out the other side - and together so will we.

March 2nd, 10:03pm: In my own grief it never occurred to me that some may not have heard of the Rainbow Bridge. You may find comfort in learning about it. Having seen wonders and miracles, and felt both animals and people's spirits myself - I have no doubt at all there is such a place. I'm sorry I forgot to tell you about it and I hope it helps you as you grieve with us about Windchill: The Rainbow Bridge

March 2nd, 9:01pm: While cleaning Windchill's stall we found a notebook. In it was a letter he had 'dictated' to one of his caregivers. It was a note he wanted to send to all of the children who had written him:

Windchill's letter to all the children

March 2nd, 7:25pm: I realized that with Windchill gone, the only part of the world that kept me sane was here. I could talk to all of you and you cared enough to talk back - in calls, in prayers, in emails and posts. I went from the darkness late at night, and at times bitter cold to find warmth here for a brief time before going back out. In the emptiness left behind I find I return here to be with whoever is still here listening.

We're finally back after the long drive to bring Windchill for cremation. TWO flat tires on the trailer - one on the freeway there, and one on the spare we replaced it with upon arrival - so the trailer's still there. I have to find tires that fit it and go back to pick it up, along with Windchill's ashes on Thursday. I did find some humor while changing the tire - I realized in Windchill's wonderfully mischievous way he left another quandary - he died on February 29th: Do we commemorate him every four years? Do we remember him February 28th or on March 1st? I had to laugh because I actually think he was bright enough to have thought about that and took the answer with him. The answer is we'll remember him daily, there isn't any other way for those of us blessed enough to have been with him for the short time we had. The amazing thing about not only blowing one tire - but two - is that the roads on the return ride were so icy from the falling rain and dropping temperatures that I lost control of the truck once. Had we had the trailer with I am afraid to think of what would've happened. Thanks Windchill.

I don't remember much of the last 3 weeks. Night and day had very little meaning anymore as days blended into nights which were confused by short lapses of bits of sleep. I rarely knew the date as many of you can attest by my goofing it up on here so many times. Attempts to go to work were generally cut short by the need to be here and what time I spent at my office I have to hope I accomplished something, I honestly don't recall because the time was spent worrying about getting home to be with Windchill.

The time we 'lost' - what would normally pass as our lives: sleep, up to let horses out and make sure the herd's okay, go to work long hours, come home to bring the herd in, feed, grain and water various big and little beings...crash in a chair for a quick bite to eat and relax...became hyper contracted. None of those things went away - they were fit in quicker or accomplished when volunteers could sit with Windchill while we fired up the tractor to move hay bales out to various pastures or moved grain, etc. As more volunteers arrived during the day, they began to help with chores such as the daily stall cleanings and bringing water into the barn which helped immensely. The animals all seemed to understand the need to focus this energy. Walker was Windchill's pal, bringing him his precious toys he normally doesn't share and sleeping with him at night. Olivia the cat slept on him, her body helping warm his. The 'moms' nickered to him throughout the day and at night he had his half-sisters at each side of his stall. Both of us lost weight, at last count Kathi lost 10 lbs and I had lost 11. I think I could afford to though, so thanks Windchill... But the cost of our lost sleep and the toll on our bodies was a very, very small price to pay for what we wanted to give to Windchill - belief in humans again, and the knowledge that he could be loved. And for that small investment of our lives - Windchill gave us back so much more. While our lives will inevitably return to some level of whatever 'normal' will become for Raindance - they will never be the same. Windchill's contagious spirit, his quiet resolve and determination - that candle of hope that he never, ever let go out inside him - is forever lit in us. I can honestly say he humbled me to a degree it's hard to put into words. You had to see his bright eyes to understand. There's a photographer who has come the closest to capturing it that I hope we can share with you soon - unfortunately so many have been taking images and turning them into things they weren't intended that I won't post more until I know we have her permission out of respect for her work. You know the sad thing - (like there hasn't been enough in everything else - we finally put Kisses back in the stall she had given up for Windchill tonight. I think that was probably good. I kept seeing him laying there pushing himself around with his legs...) - Kathi fell asleep the night Windchill died sitting on the floor sorting through alfalfa we had gotten for him and the box and the bucket and the alfalfa still sit on the living room floor.

I would like to say thanks to Jim and Midwest Cremation Services who graciously offered to remain on call both yesterday (we determined we were in no shape to drive yesterday) and again today and was ready to receive Windchill when we got there. Never having gone through this before, I wasn't sure what to expect. The facilities were sparkling. Jim had special equipment for getting Windchill out of the trailer and onto the ground where I removed his halter to bring home. He was carefully moved to the cremation equipment which itself was sparkling clean. It's so respectful that I was truly impressed.  

March 2nd, 7:00am: After finding that Windchill had passed away, I spent that entire night up searching the internet, reading everything I could find on horse starvation, and starvation in general. My heart hurt so badly that my eyes blur now as I think about the little guy. Animal lovers will understand. And you know the feeling if you have kids in our life in some fashion. They become a part of you, they're innocent, they love unconditionally and expect so little in return that you want to protect them, hold them close. I searched for a reason to blame me. I guess in anguish I needed to find something we did wrong, something we could've done that was a wonder miracle cure. 6 or 7 hours of reading til my eyes were raw and the answers kept coming up the same. It all reinforced the overwhelming odds stacked against him and what a miracle it was he lived as long as he did, and that he accomplished as much as he did - standing and walking around, regaining strength and weight. And it all came back to his organs were never going to be able to support his body. The damage from the starvation was too severe. So eventually to live, his spirit had to leave his body behind. I have to severely restrain myself to not lash out at what brought him to this point. God, please help me to forgive because I'm having trouble doing it myself.

This morning we take Windchill's body on its last ride here on earth. We leave for Anoka shortly. Normally I love loading up horses in the trailer and going for a ride somewhere. This morning's ride may be the hardest of my life. Man I loved that little guy. We all did. I know you did too. He just had such a sweet, innocent, mischievous personality you couldn't not love him. Lifting his head to see why you're not petting him. Grunting a bit when he wanted some water or more food. Sighing as he was brushed and massaged. Nuzzling when it was quiet and it was just Kathi or me and him laying there next to him. I got addicted to that little whinny he made each time we'd open the door to return to the barn, or we left him for too long in his opinion to clean the stalls next to him so we'd have to go back in there and give him another hug. So this morning I guess I  fail in another goal I had for Windchill - one more hello than goodbyes.

Many have asked about Windchill's foundation. We know what it's mission will be and we know in general who we will be working with but it's too soon to have begun the work.  We began developing the idea for his foundation as Windchill mentored us in the belief that there is power in hope and that one soul can cause change. And if one 9 month old soul can unite a world and bring together strangers from all walks of life - we figured he could lead all of us to change the world a step at a time. Just like he did. And just like his spirit will do. We have a restricted fund set up for him. Those dollars that went to Equine Allies will be used to reimburse those that bought so many supplies for him, the equipment we were a day away from going live with to monitor him (and let you sit with him alsol), as well as his other needs along with his medicine and medical bills. I don't know what happens to any remaining dollars there but their cause is a good one and so I'm not worried. Those dollars that have been contributed to his restricted fund will be used for his foundation - our dream is that what Windchill brought together will continue. We've witnessed first-hand the miracle that is generated when people join together and believe.

I see his volunteers are back to say "goodbye" before we leave. My heart breaks again. Two nights ago Larry Ericksen brought over a solid metal pipe we were going to put on the barn ceiling today. Gary Niemi, our official barn engineer, had come up with an idea for  extending the chain and winch we used for Windchill to allow for even more movement without Windchill reaching the end of the sling and chains and getting them twisted when he walked around a lot. Windchill was getting taller and heavier, so we needed to come up with a new system. Then today was going to be a quiet pizza party and celebration of his time with us and how well he was doing. Sigh. I have to go.

It is with broken hearts that we say this...last night between 9pm and midnight, February 29th, 2008, one of the bravest souls we have ever had the honor of knowing crossed over the rainbow bridge. He passed quietly in his sleep, surrounded by his two sisters, Kisses and Sunday, at the only real home he had ever known.

There are no words to describe the loss and emptiness that we feel.

Earlier in the evening he had his weekly check up and blood work done, with normal temperature, normal heart rate, and lots of weight gain since his last check up.

The experts warned us from the beginning not to get our hopes up, because the odds were just overwhelmingly stacked against him. We never told Windchill that. We accepted each day with him as a gift, we watched his progress in awe - as did the entire nation. This little horse became a beacon of hope for so many who had lost their faith in humanity. He taught us that no matter what happens in your life, no matter how unfair, you can still have faith and you can find love to carry you to a better place. He found the good in the world.

After cremation, he will be brought home for a proper burial. Once the tears have eased up and we can think clearly again, we will be starting a foundation in his honor. His brave fight will not have been in vain.

Kathi Davis, Jeff Tucker and Windchill's care team


March 1st, 6:12pm: Out of respect for the world that was unable to come pay their last respects today to Windchill, and to allow for the many who love him to see him at peace, we allowed the Duluth News-Tribune and WDIO-TV to view him as he rests. We'd like to say that both organizations were very caring, respecting those who came to mourn and respectful of him, shooting pictures only after asking. For that we are very grateful.

The morning was a very sad one. We had to re-live the event over and over as people arrived to meet the little hero only to find that he had passed away the night before. Each time was met by tears and hugs. Uncalled, his care team arrived early to be with him. For one last time they gathered together to gently lift him and carry him into the waiting trailer. Kathi had to leave. I thought I could help. I found out I was wrong. I honestly thought the next time Windchill left his stall would be under his own power, probably charging out the door into the aisle as he had tried to do so many times before. It was a day of tears and hugs. Windchill's admirers came in a steady flow throughout the day, bringing flowers, cards, treats and a lot of love.

The woman who won the painting of Windchill and Walker (by artist Deborah Sprague) came to pay her respects - and give the winning bid amount to Windchill's foundation.  She is donating the painting to us to hang above the fireplace.

The answering machine filled with messages throughout the day. Many were folks crying so hard we couldn't understand the actual message but truly understood the meaning and sentiments.  Our veterinarian called to tell our care team we did an amazing job and that Windchill's loss was due to secondary complications caused by his malnutrition.

Various folks emailed or stopped by, worried that what happened to Windchill happened after the webcam turned off. That was actually not related - yesterday the webcam was setup on my laptop computer which was on a chair in the middle aisle of my barn (hence the reason many of you got a close up view of Walker over and over as he examined the cam). With the vet coming over at close to the same time as Windchill's scheduled lift time, as well as the time we bring the youngsters into their stalls, and Annie into the middle aisle where she rules the roost, the cam had to be shut down and moved or become the victim of horseplay. After a thorough examination which I noted earlier, Windchill was lifted by the team. He was more tired than usual, and after wandering about his stall for a bit he decided to lay down so we lowered him back down. Our vet re-examined him and found his pulse rate was normal and that he was not stressed from the raising or lowering.

The care team left early and we sat with Windchill until 9pm. He was his usual self, a bit restless, but tired from his day of trying to get up on his own. Many of you viewed his attempts to rise and were heartened by his spirit.

At midnight I went out for my final check of the night. My first sign that something was wrong was Walker - he came out of the garage to greet me. Walker has not left Windchill's side at night since his first night here. I ran for the barn, threw open the door and there was the next sign - no little whinny. I called to him. No return whinny. I entered his stall and found that Windchill had passed away. I ran to get Kathi and we examined him. What we found was that he showed no signs of distress and no signs of suffering. He passed quickly and quietly in his sleep, more than likely his heart finally giving out due to the prolonged starvation. When a horse loses 50% of its bodyweight, its prognosis for survival is extremely poor - hence the 1% odds he had been given at the beginning. The fact that he survived as long as he did, as well as he did, was truly a miracle and a testament to his sheer willpower. A horse's body, in extreme starvation mode and with no other reserves or means of survival, will turn to the only available source of protein available to it - the tissues of its own heart and vital organs. Essentially the horse's body destroys itself trying to survive. Thus in the end, we believe Windchill's growing body and weight hit the limit his heart could support and it stopped. It was quick, painless and Windchill passed in his sleep. While we never wanted him to go, if he had to leave us this painless passing was the probably the best we could ask for for his sake.

March 1st, 9:07am: In our grief we hadn't stopped to think about the many that are hurting along with us. Windchill's fight was all of our fight. Today (Saturday, March 1st) our farm will be open to those that wish to pay their final respects to this brave soul. I don't know what else to say other than thank you for your thoughts and prayers. And in time I guess this won't hurt so much and our hearts won't rain like they are now.


February 29th, 10:36pm: It was a busy day again ( there any other type anymore?). Windchill did a fair job of tiring himself out, spending the day lifting his head and turning his neck to look around, and moving his legs. Unfortunately for us, but probably good for him, he's learned he can 'walk' himself in his stall by pushing himself around  by pushing on either the hay bales or stall walls. While it's good leg development exercise, it makes it a pain to keep the blankets under his head! Having done this during the day, he managed to tire himself out pretty good so his evening stand was shorter than other nights. He walked around, said "hello" to the crew, went between his water bucket and the hay bales and eventually decided enough was enough, he was going to rest. We ushered folks out earlier tonight to let him rest.

His usual evenings are spent with his care team all arriving almost exactly at 6pm. He knows all of our voices and he knows what's coming so he prepares himself by pushing himself off the bales if we have him propped up and he lays perfectly still waiting. University of California-Davis recommended turning him over 20 minutes before his lifts to get the circulation going and make the transition easier for him - that helped considerably as he would spend the first couple of minutes after each lift prior to that getting his legs warmed up and steady under him. They've also been a wonderful resource helping with nutritional and dietary tips. The sling is then placed under Windchill and he is rolled onto it - still patiently and calmly waiting. The lift crew has now worked together so much it's like a well-oiled machine and as he is carefully lifted he is turned and balanced until his legs are under him and suddenly we have liftoff - Windchill's legs reach the ground and he's up! We have to watch him sometimes, on nights he's feeling like making a break for it,  he makes a beeline for the open stall door. After that we generally mingle while he munches and gets a massage as well good brushing. He goes back and forth between Sunday and Kisses stall walls. As the evening gets later, we go from overhead stall lighting to night lighting in the aisle to let the horses wind down from the activity. Lastly, as people depart and it's just us we watch him for awhile to make sure he's settling in for the night okay and then it's lights out except for the night light and 6 colts and fillies slumber while visions of hay bales dance in their heads, overseen by a crabby old lady named Annie who keeps them all in their places and a tired Australian Shepherd who has set up camp in Windchill's stall each night on a bale of hay in the corner. 

February 29th, 2:12pm:  I'm going to try and get the cam going again today so it should (knock on wood) be on at least intermittently today into the evening.

Windchill is in an impatient mood at this point, apparently feeling rested and raring to go. Rachael was here with him for the morning and early afternoon so he's well-read in horse literature and apparently getting his Christmas list ready as he spent some time perusing equine catalogs as well.

February 29th, 10:28am:  If anyone has any extra square bales of fine stemmed straight alfalfa hay, please contact us. Based on UC-Davis' recommendation, we have changed his diet to alfalfa hay, and really need to locate a source for this type of hay. We are NOT asking that it be donated, and please make sure you have enough for your own livestock. PLEASE EMAIL KATHI DAVIS DIRECTLY at:

February 29th, 10:11am:  I've had all manner of trouble with the computers and internet connection this morning so I apologize for the delay in getting an update up. Better than yesterday morning though - with all the coffee we're making we burned out our coffee maker so bought a new one - it's second carafe of coffee ever I managed to drop it, shatter it, and wind up with 2nd degree burns on my foot proving the adage "never let a cowboy make the coffee." I'm fine but what stupid things we do when we're really tired, huh? Bought another carafe and another coffee maker which will get us caught up on the coffee consumption so we're set.

Windchill's was tired this morning, kind of goes in stages based on how long he's been up standing (that whole kid up too late thing I guess) but in good spirits. We had a really nice wind down to the day yesterday, he munched on salad while we drank coffee and hot cocoa and talked. He gets so relaxed with people quietly talking around him. I remember feeling that way when I was little staying at my grandma's cabin - early, early in the morning - the time we now get up to take care of the little guy - I could hear grandma quietly talking to grandpa as they brewed coffee. The cabin was heated by wood so the two smells we'd wake up to were strong black coffee and wood burning. I don't know if Windchill feels the same but he seems to be so relaxed when it's just those he's gotten attached to sipping coffee and quietly talking. I hope he remembers these memories the same as I do.

(shots from last night - see how his neck and shoulder muscles are developing! And look dad - my ribcage is slowly disappearing - yeah!)

February 28th, 10:00pm:
 I managed to get the cam up later in the evening - sorry there wasn't a lot of time but hopefully you got to see Windchill unwinding with few of his 'staff'. He sure is beginning to fill out, isn't he? There are times during the day before his lift that when he lifts his head and moves his legs I can see him getting up without the sling in the not too distant future. It makes me so proud to know him. So much spirit in such a small body. He was still up at last check - he always reminds me of a little kid getting to stay up past his bedtime. He looks, whinnies, and wanders over, still munching some hay. We tell him it's okay to be up past his bedtime - he can stand as long as he wants. When he's tired he carefully picks his spot in the hay and lowers himself down - again like that little kid finally giving in to being tired.

Apparently the news is out now about the charges being filed in his case:

February 28th Duluth News-Tribune article on charges being filed

I've heard from folks it was on television as well. We're not in the house until late so haven't seen the coverage. One of our Friends of Barbaro sent me the article above (which is kind of funny given that I actually live here and didn't know about it!)

February 28th, 9:26pm:  A quick FYI, we're getting a lot of emails from folks asking about where to send donations, please note there is a donation link above. We have established a fund for Windchill.

I'd like to apologize to those involved in Windchill's care for the 'flak' they have received from various factions. You didn't deserve it and I'm sorry my desire to recognize in some small way the wonderful contributions each of you have made has led to stress in your lives. Know that we appreciate you more than words can express and that you are not omitted from recognition here by oversight but an attempt to safeguard your privacy and integrity.

February 28th, 4:45pm:  I'm home and was greeted by a LOUD whinny from the little guy. His neck muscles have developed so much he lifted his head to look and kicked his legs letting me know to hurry up! Apparently he has a pretty good clock. He's in high spirits, the volunteers said he spent the day doing similar things. This has been a great week, seeing the spirit shine and his body finally starting to catch up with his will and attitude. Remember when you see him to compliment his shiny coat - he's quite proud of it! Time to get some more coffee out to the barn and get him ready to stand. I'll see if I can get the webcam set up again, it's harder when everyone is here as there's not a lot of room in the tack area to leave it up and running and there's not a wide area of view with everyone sort of lingering nearby. I'll give it a try but apologize in advance if I'm not able to get that set up. Oh, and Windchill said to say "thanks!" to those that baked him chocolate chip cookies - I'm keeping watch over them as well as a service to him.

February 28th, 8:23am:
 Windchill was up  standing and walking around most of the night - munching away and drinking most of his water. He sure loves the alfalfa! He's in a really sweet mood this morning and trying to get up. You can certainly feel the difference in his neck, where he's developing muscles and beginning to fill out. He's also gotten heavier to lift and is standing taller so we'll probably have to raise the winch up a bit.

We've gotten quite a few emails regarding visiting the little guy. Only weekday visitors need to be pre-scheduled by us- this coming Saturday is open to everyone all day - no reservations needed. Sunday the barn will be closed to visitors.

If you do come visit we ask that you please remember the barn is very similar to a hospital room or a nursery - indoor voices only, please do not bring your pets, if you do bring children please explain to them the need to walk and talk calmly in the barn area and that Windchill can only be fed the hay in the stall and limited other items we will have on hand. With 19 other horses to visit while you're here, there's plenty of opportunities to pet and feed lots of horses, a dog and cats. Barn & Farm Rules

February 28th, 1:06am:  Were you able to watch the cam earlier tonight? Unfortunately I had to place it across the aisle where I think it was tough to see much. A computer company (Compudyne) from Duluth put in a signal booster thing in the barn. Friday we should have a barn cam in there as well.

The lift went very well, the little guy was eager and waiting this evening for liftoff. It's the favorite part of his, and all of our day. He's getting both heavier and believe it or not, taller already. That's good as well. We heard the news today that the DA is going to charge the owners of the farm he was at when we rescued him. We were asked for statements on how we felt and it was difficult to think about. We have been so wrapped up in and focused on caring for Windchill and taking each day as it comes that we hadn't really thought that side of things, leaving that up to the Sheriff's Department and the DA:

02/23: Duluth News-Tribune Story on the Pending Charges

February 27th, 4:47pm:  Great news! I came home from work today and when Windchill heard me enter the barn he tried to stand up, leaning on a hay bale calling to me! What a great thing to come home to. I suspect the little man is going to be very easy for tonight's lift. Must've been our pizza party for him last night (he ate hay just to make sure that that statement doesn't get blown up into we fed the horse junk food and let him stay up too late).


I am sorry that some of you feel that his life was not worth saving and I'm also sorry that some of you feel that now that he's famous that he shouldn't be in a "smaller, uninsulated, backyard barn." He doesn't seem to mind and he's grateful for the opportunity that we gave him to live. He's surrounded by people who love him, in a warm soft bed. We feel that it is in his best interest to tighten security at Raindance Farms. All weekday visitors need to be cleared through us and we have added additional cams, one of which we will be web-enabling so that you can watch him along with us. The others are being placed for security. This colt is giving his all to survive - we are keeping him surrounded with people who love and care for him and constantly post the cards, well-wishes and prayers that people have been sending. Under no circumstances will we allow this colt to become part of a political agenda. He's monitored by medical professionals who are routinely updated. He has passed his blood work  and lab tests thus far with flying colors - so his system is functional and his digestive tract is fully functional (as is the end feeding that). Additionally, There are only two people who can make arrangements for Windchill - myself (Jeff Tucker) and Kathi Davis. 

February 27th, 7:35am: Good morning world. Sorry for the delay in updating, I should've done it earlier this morning but came back in and closed my eyes for a second and now I'm running late...groan...  Windchill was in pretty good spirits this morning I would say - you know when your kids are munching on something good and watching television and thus not paying a whole lot of attention to you? That was Windchill this morning. He's got himself a good bale of hay, he was steadily munching away and completely oblivious to us 'pit crew' scrambling around him to roll him over, put now wraps on, swap blankets. We rolled him over and I'm not sure if he even missed a munch. It was too cute.

By the way, I don't know if you're telling your neighbors or what, but as of yesterday 2.1 million of you had visited my site in the last two weeks. There's an average of 71,000 hits a day, and it averages around 3500 hits an hour. And most of you call if I don't update! Seriously, I'm really amazed there's so many that are apparently following Windchill's progress and I'm very touched that when my, or our, spirits lag you folks take the time to send an encouraging email. Unfortunately the reality in this situation is it isn't always easy to be upbeat and positive and not get angry, I'm only human. But I'm surrounded by a world of caring people who are sharing this burden with us and I want you to know we are all very, very grateful. Thank you for being here.

Oh, and one other thing. A shipment of three cases of deep dish pizzas arrived last night! WOW! We're going to make lots of pizza for the volunteer crew. Thank you so much Vavra's! And Patty - those chocolate chip cookies made the best dessert. We put the cookies the Skorich's made out with the coffee and they're gone so it was so nice to have more. Plus you've found my weak spot - oh man I like chocolate chip cookies. Thanks so much guys for everything.

SOME HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS FOR VISITORS: After last weekend and the constant flow of visitors we're going to set some barn rules - rules for noise levels in the barn and for visiting the little guy. He loves the company, soaks up the love you're bringing by carload and truckload but he needs his rest and nice quiet talking. This coming Sunday the barn will be closed to the public to allow him, and us, some rest and time to get to chores that aren't getting done. According to one of the animal communicators Windchill had asked for a day of rest. She wasn't clear on whether that meant nobody in the barn (including us) or not. Since he needs us to lift him up for water and grain, guess it's going to include us.  Please remember if you do visit that our barn is like a hospital room right now - it needs to be kept calm and mellow. Thanks for your understanding. By the way, haven't forgotten about the barncam, still working on that. FARM & BARN RULES

February 26th, 11:12pm: We had a great ending to what started as a bad day for me. Windchill was in great spirits this evening, waiting for his 6pm lift which began with a team meeting outside the barn, out of earshot of the little fella. Our lift team already knew what this was about - do we move the little guy to the U of M or do we keep him here and continue caring for him. I already had misgivings about the idea, leading to the post this morning that brought out everyone's opinion - the vast majority of which were from people who have never examined or seen Windchill. Thus we wanted to hear from those that are here every night. After an hour long consultation with the University of California-Davis Equine Clinical Services starvation expert, it was their opinion that the stress of moving Windchill would be very harsh on his fragile system, and the loss of the continuity of care (and yes love, which is a big factor) that has been created would probably be even rougher. Our care regimen was reviewed and endorsed. They were impressed by his progress. The unanimous decision is that unless there is some change in condition, we are going to keep him here where we can continue our round-the-clock care of our friend. Is it worth the efforts - the changing of sawdust, hay, cleaning, giving him water, grain, turning him every six hours, keeping him covered, massaging his legs, giving him meds? Unquestionably. He's bright eyed and spirited. We don't keep him alive for us. We keep him alive because he chooses to live - his bright clear eyes burn with desire. 

Tonight's lift went very well, Windchill stood immediately after the lift and went back and forth between saying "hello" to Kisses and then over to the other stall to say "hi" to Sunday. We had a little celebration tonight. Rick L. brought over several pizzas and pop for the lift team, and Windchill got a new mix of hay that he loved. Of course I never have the camera for the cute stuff like his nuzzling with Kisses. We looked at pictures from two weeks ago and what his coat looks like now and what a difference! He stayed up for a couple of hours and decided it was bed time.

Apparently I have quite a crowd reading this, many with strong opinions of a being they haven't been near. Will that change how I feel or how I write? No. I don't think it's fair to start filtering content to cater to certain elements. Plus we have that pesky constitutional right to free speech thing I guess I'm exercising here. I can appreciate the opinions of others. I respect and value input. But that's where it stops. Windchill is in a barn sleeping peacefully on a thick bed of sawdust and hay, covered in blankets rotated and washed several times a day in a washer and dryer on their last legs. He doesn't have the heated barns of the polo playing ponies (none of whom called over here offering up their barns - that offer came from a small dairy and horse farm in Cloquet who had more caring than money I'm betting)...but he does have love, shelter, monitoring and good medical care. We have been, and will continue to be in constant contact with experts, which include UC-Davis, as well as our vet. CORRECTION: The U of M would like us to correct this statement that their records do not show constant contact. They are unsure why there was not return calls to us, they show our initial contact and the contact regarding the sling useage. Unfortunately I'm a horse lover but not a horse expert. I love working with them. I love being with them.  So what you're going to continue to get from me here is the unfiltered thoughts, sights and feelings of a cowboy who enjoys cigars, loves the smell and sound of his 50hp diesel steed - Excalibur -  as it carries the hay bales to the pastures (the herd considers this meals on wheels), drives a pickup, listens to country, classical, jazz, and big band and still thinks the Partridge Family might make a comeback. I say grace, I say sir and ma'am, I still believe in this great nation and I believe in God. The dog's my best friend and I of course have the 3 brightest, most talented kids on earth. I'm not asking you to believe in any of that, just respect it.

February 26th, 2:56pm: The volunteers report Windchill is good spirits this afternoon, I think the quiet between shifts and the fact that during the day there's generally only one or two people there quietly talking versus the number of people in the evening is helpful to his well-being. We've both talked to some folks today who are worried that Windchill is dying. The good and the bad of a running dialogue like this is you experience frustrations, sadness and fear at pretty close to the same time I am feeling it so you get my sadness at a point normally I'd be having a cigar and reasoning things through I guess. The reason I was both corrected, and then corrected what I had posted was that his condition is still serious and he's not out of the woods. People assume because they see the picture of him up that he's 'all better.' What they don't see is the 23 hours that he's down, being rolled over every six hours and being held up so that he can drink from the water we hold for him, or eat the grain out of the bucket. BUT his lungs are clear, his system is functioning and he eats and drinks steadily. While the state of his body and the fact that he's alive pretty much defies normal explanation -  he is in stable condition (no pun intended). He does not need to immediately move to the U. I'm sorry if my own sadness overshadowed his current status. I guess what I've discovered is that his depression - his ups and downs - have a profound effect on my own feelings. Awhile back I thought I had better 'walls' in place for this - I guess his spirit is contagious and I'm not as distanced from those ups and downs as I thought. You also got a dose of my anger and frustration at how he got to this physical state of being and my feeling disappointed that he's a "0" on a scale that measures his body but not really his spirit. Hopefully I haven't short-changed him on the spirit department, that amazing willpower is what's helping him stomp on the odds against him.

February 26th, 5:30am: Whoa. Have I mentioned how quickly morning comes these days? Sorry about last night's update, I sat down in my chair and closed my eyes for a minute and it was time to roll Windchill over his morning. For those of you that have been starting your day by reading these updates and using the dates I've posted as your frame of reference for other events in your life - big mistake. Keep in mind I have been operating under at most 4 hours sleep on a good night, have fallen asleep posting these updates and use the previous day's date if I haven't gone to sleep because tomorrow doesn't start until I've at least closed my eyes for a little while. So sorry for any confusion or missed meetings or the perception that I was writing from the future on one or two of my updates. And thanks Deputy Rich for continually pointing this out to me instead of doing something like fighting crime.

Last night was a mixture of good and not so good from my viewpoint. We hoisted Windchill up at his usual time, which he was excited about - but he was only able to stand for maybe 15 minutes.  After being down for approximately 45 minutes he was very frustrated at being down again and wanted to be lifted back up so we did it again. He stood for a little bit longer the second time but then needed to lay back down. That made me sad and worried. While his legs are still flexing and moving they're cold. Polly is making him special leg wraps that we keep rotating to try and keep him warm. It breaks my heart seeing how badly he wants to stand but can't. We have some decisions to make in the days ahead. Our vet has cleared him for travel but it's a truly mixed bag - we think there's probably enough donations to help with a good portion of the costs for at least a two week stay. Not sure as we haven't added up our guestimates on everything but I have charge cards so I'm not worried about that, we can worry about paying that off later. The issues are the difficulty of the ride there for him in a trailer and the fact that once there he really will have to stay until he's on his feet and he slips in and out of depression. I kind of love the little guy with all my heart (something I think I can comfortably represent is true for all of his volunteers that have gotten to know him) and even though he'd be surrounded good folks, it wouldn't be us. We couldn't sit with him in the barn and hold him. I can't check on him late at night. It'd be good for Kathi in that she wouldn't be out there at 4am. But conversely it would be bad for Kathi - because she wouldn't be out there at 4am. You've all done so much to help us with prayers and donations and sitting with him, could you maybe see if the they'd be willing to move everything here so we don't have to decide this?... Sometimes being a parent can be so hard...

A horse's body condition is rated on a 1-9 Body Condition Score. 1 is completely emaciated, 9 is obese. Unfortunately I have been corrected that my understanding of where Windchill was on the score is incorrect. I thought he was a 1. Windchill is a 0. Windchill does not even rate on the BCS - AFTER TWO WEEKS OF GRAINING, FEEDING AND WATERING. The vet assures us he's making slow progress - our best testament of this right now is that he is alive. Another positive sign is that his eyes are getting brighter. His coat is also getting shinier. And the fact that he stands regularly just amazes the experts. But after two weeks he's not even registering - I have to really, really, really restrain myself from editorializing about how somebody could watch a being literally fade away by starvation like this. I'm not telling Windchill, we're going to keep telling him he's doing great. The reality is he was a live spirit in a basically dead body. There are probably all kinds of spiritual or clinical experts who can 'philosophize' (is that a word?) about how  or why the little guy is even still here. I believe hope and an absolutely unfathomable desire to live kept him alive in that cold pasture - a fight that began long before we arrived to drag him out that day. Think about it - Windchill didn't suddenly starve, it's a process that takes time so he had to stand out in sub-zero temperatures and actively decide not to give up - not to do what would have been so easy and so understandable and just lay down and let the sweet release of the bitter cold overwhelm him into oblivion. Another lost soul the world would never have heard of. Instead he went through hunger pangs every day as his body withered away and he felt the signs of dehydration and starvation taking their toll. And he stood out there and waited and hoped and slowly died but absolutely refused to give up until approximately 10am on February 9th. And even after he had fallen - Windchill REFUSED NOT TO LIVE! That incredible little spirit and your prayers and hope keep alive a little guy whose body has told him he shouldn't be. Kind of makes your problems look a whole lot smaller by comparison doesn't it? I know it does mine. He is completely focused on two things: Keep living - and stand up.

February 25th, 7:56am: Whoa...morning comes seconds after we close our eyes it seems. Wow. My last check of the AM is done, next shift comes in in about a half hour. He was laying down, Kathi had covered him back up with blankets (at last check last night he was still up, standing with his favorite blanket). He nickered a "good morning", that's always so cute in the quietness of the barn in the early morning. He took a good drink of water and now he's set for a day of resting. He'll be rolled over late morning or early afternoon. I told him he'd have a pretty peaceful day, not as busy as yesterday was.

February 25th, 1:12am: Yes Lori Dalbec, I know I should get some rest, I will, IPicture of Windchill and Walker purse by Deborah Sprague will...I just had to share an email from Deb Sprague. She's been getting a bunch of requests for other pictures of Windchill and she's created a beautiful purse - look at her work by clicking here.

February 24th, 11:58pm:  No I haven't forgotten folks...just been a busy, busy day. Wow, where to even begin. After Windchill's 30+ hour stand, he wanted up this morning but could only stand for 20 minutes and then laid back down. A day's worth of well-wishers gave him the 'oomph' he needed for his lift this evening and around 6pm or so he was back on his feet again. His newest guardian angel during the day is a new mare on this farm named Bonnie. She was adorable, watching him closely, lowering her head over the stall and nickering to him. And after one full day on this farm she's been sold to proud new 'parents' Aaron & Kris, both of whom spent a good deal of time helping care for Windchill as well. Congratulations guys. Today was a day of goodwill and generosity. We have new friends from Bruno, MN (thanks again Maricle family!) And lots of new friends from Duluth and the surrounding area. I didn't know my driveway could hold this many cars without collapsing or something. Todd brought us all a huge dinner which was wonderful! And I think we have enough strawberry yogurt for the moment, if Windchill gets to it all he'll probably have a weight problem. Somehow I don't think any of us would complain.

You know the one thing that will be hard for you to see if I ever do get that webcam going out there - a good one hopefully - is Windchill's eyes. Windchill's eyes are what capture people's hearts. They shine with that quiet determination. They hold wonder, sadness, intelligence and love. I'm not making that up because I'm one of those insane 'horse people' - non-horse people have been out to visit in droves and they see him, they kneel by him and he touches them with his innocence and fierce desire to see all this through. It's not an in your face sort of thing - it's more powerful than that. It's this quiet determination he has to keep breathing. Today  it was 40 degrees here. Two weeks ago it was 60 degrees colder. He was just as determined in the cold as he is now healing in this mild temperature reprieve. Amazing. We're keeping warmer leg wraps on him now after our vet said his legs were colder than last time. Hopefully between that and being on his legs more the circulation is increasing in his legs. One more week til we're in the clear on potential frostbite damage, so far no symptoms. He still doesn't like his medicine, that's downright cute. Internal organs are functioning normally. All this is good.

Windchill did very well today, soaking up the love and affection. Another animal healer and communicator stopped to visit. One told us about Windchill's joints (sore but improving and nowhere near the pain he was in not too far back). Both said he was in better spirits. And one echoed what another had said - Windchill is sad. He's not sad about where he is now - quite the opposite in fact. He's profoundly saddened about his past life - that now that he knows there's this other life he doesn't understand why he went through what he did. You know what Windchill - neither do we.

February 24th, 10:41am:  Some quick updates - we have to go move bales out to a couple of pastures: Thanks so much to Lyle Shannon of Duluth for showing me how to set up videos. And Angela Vinson of IA let me know that my dates are off on my updates. Had she not been from IA I would have blamed it on time zone differences and explained that there was a lot of math involved so it couldn't possibly be my error...but instead it's a mixture of days blurring together, trying to keep this updated and I'm a guy and prone to letting details like that escape my consciousness. I think the dates went awry when I fell asleep typing an update two nights ago, because the dates were all wrong after that.

Okay, more importantly, we figure now that Windchill must've stayed up most of the night as well blowing out of the water his previous standing record. He was up for about 20 minutes this morning and then decided to lay back down and is sleeping comfortably. He shows every sign of being a kid who stayed up too late. I'm going to try to get the cam going today as it's 20 degrees out and it seems to work when it's warmer so you can keep trying the link above.

February 24th, 9:11am:  Trying to get the videos to work on here - does anyone know how to set them so they all don't play at once so people can view them one at a time? I see the lifting crew is here - I'll update more shortly. Windchill finally went down for rest late last night setting a new Windchill record of standing for around 30 hours! This morning he heard the chains of the winch getting ready and he's making little 'puppy' noises, kind of little whines or grunts that he wants up NOW. We're going to hoist him now, they're waiting for me so gotta go.


February 23rd, 7:05pm:  Well I hope you got a chance to view Windchill today - reception was intermittent so we had to keep resetting the laptop's wireless. Windchill had a bunch of visitors today and made a lot of new friends. The 6pm lift crew were all out for his scheduled lift and he was standing there to greet everyone. He's been up for 25 hours as of now! His little head keeps lowering and then he does everything a kid would do to not go to bed - munch, try to visit with people, lean his head on the stall wall. What an amazing will that little guy has. The Skorich Family of Virginia brought us chocolate chip cookies and a donation - thanks for coming all the way down here to visit the little guy folks.  At some point I'll probably try to post the guest book of visitors who have come out to visit him so please don't feel we don't appreciate you and the many donations and supplies you have brought out. Stuff just keeps appearing out there - thanks for the hot chocolate with mini marshmellows (kids were complaining, apparently marshmellows make the cocoa) and to someone named Amanda who had a coffee company call me to send a shipment of coffee! What a really nice surprise. By the way, Rob Moniot, our farrier came out so you may have seen him trimming Windchill's feet. Rob said his feet are looking pretty good and Windchill stood perfectly. If you're looking for a good farrier, give him a call (715.363.2546)- he's great!

Windchill's best friend Case left today for his new home in Mankato. That puts Kisses in the stall next to him and we see a growing crush developing there. Kisses is probably one of our sweetest youngsters with a very soft loving personality. She was nuzzling and itching the little guy and we all stood there going "awwwwwww..." and then realized nobody had taken a picture. We'll have to see how he likes having his 'bedroom' between two girls (Sunday is on the other side).

February 23rd, 12:18pm:  Windchill is live! Not a great angle for him, I have the cam hanging on a rafter and the laptop set up on a ladder in the stall next door but it got signal so here he is (cam is off now as of 6pm). I don't know if you could see how skinny he is but if you ever wanted a horse anatomy lesson, he is the lesson horse. He's up to a 1 now on the 1-7 starvation measurement scale, that's after two weeks of graining and feeding him.

February 23rd, 8:55am:  I thought you might like a glimpse into a day in the life of Windchill. I'll add more to it later, rounding out the evening but it will give you a fairly good idea on what his world looks like I think. A Day in Windchill's Life


February 23rd, 7:30am: First a quick note to the crew coming out this morning - Windchill is still on his feet from our lift last night. So we don't need to do the lift this morning at 9am. In a non-related update to this note and for future reference for anybody else who has wonderful volunteers who agree to come out even early in the morning to lift your rescue pony - remember to type your "quick note" before they have left their homes. But it was sure great to see everyone! Consider this a test of the emergency Windchill hoist system.

February 23rd, 12:42am: Another long day but at least not as cold. We've found a yogurt that Windchill likes - strawberry. He needs to eat yogurt for the enzymes for his stomach. I'm not telling him the vet ordered that, if he thinks it's good for him he may stop eating it. I was looking at the pictures from two weekends ago and this morning, his coat is already improving enough you can see it in pictures. I tried to get a bunch of photos of the lift this evening as well as some videos. I'll try to post them in the morning for you to see - it sort of rounds out the pictures below giving you a view of a day in the life of Windchill. I also took some videos of before, during and after the lift to give you an idea of what it entails and how many are needed to accomplish it. Thank God for Cindy Aho and the Aho Family Farm for the use of that sling and winch! I don't know how we would do this without that equipment and it's done wonders for his spirit. Hope they don't mind me saying that. At some point I will try to post a page of thanks, in some ways I've tried to include that as I tell you about various days events. My fear in doing a thank you page is that I'm a guy and I will inevitably forget to thank a bunch of people which in no way should minimize their contribution to Windchill's care. Hopefully the fact that I've gotten better at making pots of coffee will compensate for any oversights. Tomorrow AM we're hoisting the little guy back on his feet early. We want to give him as much time as he wants on his feet, so if we get him up earlier he can rest late morning, be up again in the afternoon if he's up to it and/or be back up again in the evening. We'll see how it goes. The one thing we hear time and again after people see him - and you really have to see him to understand just what he has to overcome as he is still basically bones with hair over them to put it bluntly - is what an amazing will to live he has. It just shines through in his quiet determination. The lift went well, the same core group has been helping and Windchill knows when we bring the sling in its time to be back where he should be for at least a little while (back on his feet). He waits patiently for his part in this - when he's off the ground his job is to get his feet under him. He does that as soon as possible from the point when the sling gets him off the ground. Well Windchill's resting up for tomorrow and the morning's going to come too fast. See you tomorrow (see - it's still 'today' in my world as I haven't gone to sleep yet...).

(shots from early this morning, and early afternoon)

February 22nd, 2pm:
Jamie Meagher, DVM, was out to check on him while the station was here. She said he's not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately his legs are colder than her last visit, we keep them covered but will be watching that even closer. He's gained a little bit of weight since she was last here - that's good. He's not out of the woods yet, quite a ways to go before we can lower the worry level. She said he has about another week before we can safely say he's past the frostbite damage worries. While he's not past the danger zone, the fact that he's gained a little bit of weight helps. His standing for awhile each night is helping as well. She did say his eyes are brighter. After she left I made sure to reiterate the positive stuff from her visit, he doesn't need to worry about the other things that we need to worry about, that's for us big people to concentrate on and pray about.

Hey, I have to say while I was typing this a sweet lady stopped by to ask if she can bring the little guy out some carrots. She's disabled so can't volunteer but wanted to do something for him. You don't have to be here to make a difference in his life - believe me your thoughts and prayers are what have kept him alive this far so know that we all appreciate what you're doing so much.

February 22nd, 1:49pm: Jeffrey DeMars from KARE11 news left note too long ago. He tried to help get the webcam going - so far no luck, laptop's not picking up the wireless from the barn. He spent a lot of time with Windchill. If I watched television I would watch just because of that. He said there will probably be a link on their website so you can see the little guy that route maybe. I'm not fond of, nor do I feel I'm good at public speaking. Maybe Windchill's here to help me overcome that...I'm still holding onto once he's on his feet he's doing his own interviews. But you know the really sweet thing about this - the news people who have come out or who have called - keep calling and visiting. Glenn from WDIO asked if he could bring his family out to see the little guy. Will and Nina from the Duluth News-Tribune call to check on him and it doesn't always end up in the paper. You hear television newspeople called "talking heads" jokingly but I guess what surprises me is their hearts - that's the part you don't see on the public stage they live in. Windchill's quiet education of us continues. For those that were worried the oil company came out and refueled and relit the furnace so you hopefully won't have to come rescue us. Not to mention I probably wouldn't be half as as brave as Windchill if you had to thaw me with a blowdryer.

February 22nd, 10:05am: Sorry, our internet was down this morning. I fell asleep last night typing the update below and can't remember what I was trying to say so sorry if it was incoherent babbling. KARE-11 out of the Twin Cities is coming this morning to meet the little guy, I'm hoping he does more of the talking. Because we haven't been paying any attention inside the house - we ran out of fuel oil. BBBRRRR. I'm going outside to warm up (it's warmed up out there to 0F). Hope the oil company
comes this AM! Here's the latest news in the Duluth News-Tribune:

Article in DNT on February 22nd

Unfortunately I've used up all the bandwidth and memory space on the server I host my website. I'm working with a friend to see if her company will at least host the videos for us to open up some additional space. The hosting company said they won't shut the site down for all the bandwidth, they'll work with us to make it affordable which was a big relief.

February 21st, 10:30pm: Well so much for the webcam this evening, huh? Sorry, the cold makes it really tough. Windchill (I can't help it, I like this spelling) was lifted up a little after 6pm this evening. Unlike last night, which took two attempts to get him standing, tonight's lift only took one attempt. He stood and quietly munched hay. He's a lot more alert tonight, a lot more sociable, and seems very happy and busy, chewing on boards in his stall and walking slowly around his stall. He has real hope now, and his spirits seem pretty high. The Duluth News-Tribune was out to interview him today, Will and Amanda. Case helped Amanda with her camera. I hope the news-trib will take payments on the equipment...kidding, Case can pay them with the halter he keeps trying to pull off Wind Chill. He has a long road ahead rebuilding loss muscles and we have to continue monitoring him for frostbite symptoms and internal organ functions. Only time will tell if his growth will be stunted by everything that's happened. But he faces each day at a time. Guess we could learn from him, huh? I refuse to accept that he won't make it. Fortunately, so does he.

February 21st, 5:01pm: We received some good news.  Since the media will be talking about it shortly I thought I would let you know that the owner did sign Wind Chill over to us, he is now officially a part of the animal family here. People have been asking the current status of charges against the various individuals involved - we have been entirely focused on Wind Chill's survival and after the initial reports, this has been in the hands of the Douglas County Sheriff Department and the District Attorney's Office. I don't know what will happen but we know from having worked with the Sheriff's Department through this, they have been not only professional but have  tremendously warm hearts, constantly checking on Wind Chill. It's bittersweet how Wind Chill came into our lives so the news that he had been signed over to us was both good - and sad. Sad because of how it came to be. Sad that he started as somebody's dream, but that it almost ended in his own nightmare. I've had plenty of time to get angry during the long hours, I think Kathi probably has as well. We try not to get angry about those things when near him, but if your thoughts and prayers are keeping him alive then it seems to me negative thoughts are going to have the opposite effect I think. But as angry as I know a lot of people are, I guess I think we should all stop and realize that Wind Chill is here because his owner did finally call this farm that cold day. I won't debate that it could've and should've been earlier. I guess I won't even get into what should've occurred when he went down and continuing backwards before he ever hit that point. His owner made the right call that night and now here he is. And this week, yesterday, I believe she made the right 'call' again for him. I guess I think that act deserves a prayer on her behalf. I will, and I hope you will too.

February 21st, 11:25am: Wind Chill received a really nice offer from an artist (Deborah Sprague) who painted a picture of he and Walker and is auctioning it off to raise money for his care:

Wind Chill Painting Auction (click to see Deb's Wind Chill site)
Painting by Deborah Sprague of Windchill rescue colt and Walker
(click to see larger image)

Thanks to "Deb and the boys!"


February 21st, 5:30am: Brief update - have to get to work for a meeting...Wind Chill is awake this morning, cold hasn't phased him though he seems to be moving a bit slower, probably stiffness from being down so much and then we lift him up in the evening and he needs to start the circulation going again. The meds are effecting him as well at this point. It's cute, the powder supplements in his grain - he keeps sending that back with the waiter. He's learning what he likes and doesn't like! (By the way, he likes all of you and he is doing his best to slowly email you back but as you already know his front legs are just coming back up to speed and he has trouble with the laptop keyboard - keeps stepping through the laptop) Not to mention the little guy has a journey ahead to rebuild muscle mass. One of the issues Kathi hit early on in trying to administer meds is that he has NO muscle, having withered away to skin over bones. But he sure has willpower.

February 20th, 11:24pm: A busy, busy day. Thanks for your kind emails and reassurances about my blundering, stuttering interview. Okay, maybe I didn't do so bad. And we've sure gotten some very nice emails from people who watched Fox. I haven't seen what aired but it seems to have really touched people. Wind Chill just has that effect on folks. And that's just his pictures - people who come out to meet him end up falling in love with the little guy - he really is as sweet as he looks in the pictures. I took some more pix tonight and some short videos of him standing but have to get some things ready for work - I have a 7am meeting and need to be to work by 6am so I'll try to get them posted tomorrow. Wind Chill was winched up tonight a little after 6pm again. It took two attempts, the first one he just couldn't get his feet under him - he's tired, probably stiff from the cold (of which we're getting more, another -20F night with -40F windchill) and a little groggy from the meds he's on. Now that we've gotten him up the vet wants us to hit him with some meds to ensure his lungs are clear. It's taking less to get him onto his feet, he's aware of what we're doing and lays still while loaded onto the sling and as soon as he's able he assists folks by twisting and getting his feet under himself. We left the sling under him for quite awhile tonight just to be safe, then lowered it thinking he should lay down so we can cover him and get him ready for 'bed'. He had other ideas. He's still on his feet at the moment though very drowsy and will more than likely be laying down pretty soon. Walker's sleeping in the corner of his stall tonight, those two hang out together most of the day, with Walker going between the pastures and the barn and running around with the two year olds in the North pasture. Walker has seen his role in this as assisting in his healing by annoying him - lots of licks which has been good because Wind Chill reaches out with his legs to push him away keeping his front legs moving from time to time. We have not seen any signs of damage from frostbite which is a very good thing and somewhat surprising given his level of exposure when we found him and condition. Someone emailed and mentioned that even if the humans at that farm didn't pay attention to his deteriorating condition in that pasture a week ago, God did. I would say we all have to agree with that thought - as I've mentioned before, Wind Chill's skin is paper-thin requiring us to be very careful with the lifts on the sling. If he hadn't been watched over as he lay frozen in those bitter temperatures and high winds - why isn't he frostbitten? I'm tired and so forgive me if I repeat myself but the veterinarian said this case is one of the top two worst cases of her entire 20 year career. The other horse had to be put down. Wind Chill has a purpose, of that I'm absolutely certain. I hope you're managing to stay warm wherever you are reading this. Thanks for caring and checking up on the little guy.

WEBSITE PROBLEMS: I'm sorry for the menu issues you've been experiencing - I use Firefox as my browser and didn't realize those of you using Internet Explorer were having issues and couldn't read my website. I think I've got that fixed as of now. Apparently my hosting company is having problems with the guest book - I've reported the issue to them and I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully that will get fixed soon as well because Wind Chill - and his rescue team absolutely love and appreciate your heartfelt messages. Saying "thank you" doesn't seem anywhere near enough - just know that your thoughts and prayers are what keep us all warm and 'going' all these long hours. I talked to Kathi this morning and we realized we've been running on empty and stretched to the point that we're not remembering if this or that was done - you know when you hit the point where you're really tired and your brain does that little 'flash' and suddenly you realize that you're awake but your brain had just gone to sleep for a second? Once Wind Chill is out of this critical period I think we'll hopefully be able to actually sleep through a night. It's just not possible right now, not with a sick 'child', you know?

There's a number of folks that have emailed and are trying to assist with getting a webcam going in the barn. As soon as we figure that out we'll get something in there so that you can help us keep an eye on him as well. I know you'd like that, many of you have emailed asking about it. I'll keep you posted.

February 20th, 12:11pm: Apparently the news coverage has led to even more interest in Wind Chill's story. Also apparently I have been spelling Wind Chill wrong according to Kathi. I will play the 'guy' card and plead stupidity for that. If any of you have excess server space - apparently I'm running very close to the amount of bandwidth and space I pay for. I have a call in to the place I rent server space from to see about buying more. We're up to half a million hits in the past week, it never occurred to me to worry about that until after the Fox News story. I thought I did terrible, they would've been better off interviewing Wind Chill (see I can be taught) but he continues to munch and talking with your mouthful is frowned upon by the national media apparently. I've already received some very kind emails who said I didn't do so bad so thanks for that.

Whoops, thanks to our new friend Rick  and friend Kitty Kitty for letting me know today is actually the 20th. Days are sort of blending together so no you weren't reading updates from the future no matter how much technology has advanced us...

February 20th, 7:38am: A bitterly cold good morning to anyone up this early. My last check before I head to work. Wind Chill is resting as you can see below. Very cold morning, it's warmed up to -20F. Tonight is supposed to be even colder with the wind chill factor, -45 to -55 I heard on the radio. Let's hope his system is up this - we think it is. He's getting his pain medications and antibiotics and continues to munch away on the hay. Very tired boy this morning. Kathi was in the barn by 4am or so to start his morning care routine - meds, fluids then we turn him over onto his other side. Around 6pm or so the volunteers of Rescue Team Wind Chill will be here to help get him onto the sling and get him up onto his feet. As cold as it is I really hope he can stand longer tonight to get his circulation going and keep his spirits up.

9:27am: If you're really bored and like to see a cowboy fluster, blush and stutter, I'll be on Fox News "Happening Now" with Jane Skinner at 10:40am. I couldn't talk Wind Chill into getting up to do the interview. Man is he going to owe me...I hate public speaking...

Wind chill with his canine nurse and good buddy, Walker this morning

February 20th, 12:10am: He's resting comfortably. -10 out right now. I hope he's ready for tomorrow night, supposed to be -20F. I'll worry about that tomorrow. For now his quiet breathing calms my anxiety. Sigh. Do we ever stop worrying about kids?

February 19th, 8:15am:  "Look dad, no sling! I can stand on my fact good luck EVER getting me to lay down and go to sleep again..."

"Guys, will you come get this winch out of here, I don't need it anymore and it's blocking my view!...well okay, maybe I need it a little more for now..."

February 19th: Kathi Davis, my business partner, is interviewed on KAXE, "All Things Equine" about Windchill.

February 19th, 11:05pm: Sorry for the delay in getting this updated, there's just not enough hours these days to fit in everything that we need to it seems. Wind Chill was really tired today, his 16 hour stand apparently took its toll but man that little guy has stamina. He did his best to keep standing tonight but  after those 16 hours! Whew. At 11am today he slowly lowered himself down by his front legs and then lowered the rest of himself - which is good, I was worried he would let himself get wiped out and just let his legs crumble under him. From there he rested all day. He sleeps or lays completely still a lot of the time, slowly munching. Much of his muscle strength, and in fact the muscles themselves will need to be rebuilt and strengthened. He generally needs one of us to help push him up onto his chest and then prop him up with hay bales. At a little after 6pm this evening the volunteers gathered to help him up, it took two tries in the sling. He understands very well what we're doing so cooperates and as soon as he's in a position to help he does. Now that we're sure he's safe standing, moving around a little and then lowering himself we can remove the sling after he's been raised. It is an amazing site to see him standing by himself. He's quietly proud of himself I think. He loves being on his feet, viewing things as a horse should - proudly standing.

Even tired he still has some spunk, when one of 'his staff' (in this case Lori Dalbec, who with her daughter Ashley have become regulars with him) didn't move hay to the little prince's reach in a timely fashion Wind Chill made sure to reach out the leg the experts were pretty sure wasn't going to work again and put it on her leg where she could hold his hoof. Lori and Ashley's shift leads into friend and neighbor Karen Severson's shift - Karen can tell you the meaning of cold, having sat with him lots of nights, including some that I hadn't learned how to keep the coffee and hot water hot enough. Yet she never complains. I've been hesitant to name the volunteers who are helping in his care and slow recovery because inevitably I will forget one or ten people and it in no way reflects that they haven't been an important part of his care, it's more the result of I'm a guy and forget things pretty much the moment I walk out the door. I'll try to get better at making a note of who is helping or maybe putting up a list on the Wind Chill Updates page because without these unsung, selfless heroes there's no way we could be doing it all. People have asked about sleep, I think when Wind Chill is safely, securely past a point of worrying and watching close things will begin to return to a less wearing routine. Right now we're still watching him closely because of his low weight, weighing around 400-450 or so pounds when he should be around 750 and monitoring for any signs of internal organ issues. One thing that we have to be very careful of when lifting him in the sling is his paper-thin skin. Within the sling we put blankets that allow for some movement in the sling and protect his delicate skin which could very easily tear if we aren't cautious. He has surprisingly few sores from being on his sides so long, those sores he does have we put ointment on while he's standing.

I guess tomorrow I'll be on Fox News at 10:40am, on a segment called "Happening Now." I'm blonde haired, blue eyed, I blush, I stutter my way through public speaking and this little goofball has me doing interviews for him. I'm sure he gets a kick out of knowing he's making my life difficult. When he's better, he gets to do his own interviews - I'll even drive him. But this time he has to get in the trailer himself. Funny, that was intended to be humor and it made me tear up. So did looking at pictures of him from just a week ago. I can still hear the echoes of his whinnying across that pasture. That still breaks my heart. I guess not enough time has passed, and I've had nowhere near enough sleep to put some distance between that experience and now.  I hope I never have to see a horse in that position again. But I guess if that kind of call comes in again, I have more stalls in the barn, some great volunteers and friends and I've learned to make pretty good coffee. I have to be honest though, I'm beginning to suspect that surviving on coffee, cigars and ibuprofen may not be as healthy as it sounds. Gotta do one last check here pretty quick plus Wind Chill needs to send some notes back to some kids that wrote him. Thank you so much for the prayers guys.

February 19th, 9:50pm: I'll be updating the site shortly. Just got in from the barn and would like finally get some supper. Wind Chill finally laid down at 11am today and was winched up at around 6pm, where he stood for an hour. He's wiped. So are the rest of us... 

February 19th, 4:45am:  Wind Chill has been on his feet now since last night. That's right, he slept on his feet,  refusing to lay back down. I think he's been planning this one for awhile so these past couple of trial runs were like Rocky running up and down those stairs in training for his big fight. Overnight Case had pulled his halter off thinking he could get away with it and not thinking through that he really has no pockets and nowhere to hide it in his stall....but sometimes you can over plan these things. This is living, breathing hope in the power of prayer. Thank you for that folks.

February 18th, 9:50pm:  Windchill has been on his feet for 3 1/2 hours and finally out lasted us. I hope you were able to see Windchill's first live broadcast this evening. Took awhile to get it going. Unfortunately the cold temperature made it difficult to keep the cam going and it finally gave up - long before Windchill obviously. Nothing we could do would coax Windchill into laying down, apparently he's had enough of that. He's tired - his little eyelids keep dropping but he refuses to lay down. We put a second horse blanket on him that one of his new friends donated to go with the beautiful new black halter that Dan's Feed Bin donated to him. He was surrounded by ladies doting on him and feeding him this evening before he was lifted up onto his feet on the sling. I'm actually surprised he wants to give that up! I think he's betting that those same nice people will feed him handfuls of hay and grain even when he's on his feet. And I'm betting he's right, smart kid. I cannot believe the willpower of that little guy. Quiet and determined. Even when he started to droop, he would prop his head up on the stall wall so he could keep looking at his new best friend Case in the next stall. Then he took a tour of the stall, saw his other friend Sunday in the stall on his left and came back to show us that he can outlast us all. We're really grateful for all of our new friends, thanks to Windchill. He's sure taught me there's an awful lot of good in the world. It arrives in pickups, cars and emails every day now. Time to go eat supper now. I hope your evening has been as great as ours have been. And man I hope that little guy finally lays down and rests.

February 18th, 7:03pm: Man I hate computers. Windchill is on his feet. I'm trying to get a temporary cam in there for right now. Hopefully this will work.

Windchill Live Cam (off the air for the night)

February 18th, 3:30pm: FYI, I'm going to TRY to set up a webcam tonight in the barn. I won't be able to leave it set up in there because I'm going to use a laptop and obviously if I leave it in there all night - aside from the bitter cold that's coming and the dust and hay that would wreak havoc with its system - I know the horses would be in there sending emails out in Windchill's name ordering pizzas and loads of grain to be delivered to their stalls and such. Watch for that probably this evening around 6pm central time.

February 18th, 5:15 and 8am updates: Windchill rested through the night just fine, he seemed to have been really tapped after yesterday's feats (or is that feets?) of strength. He stayed in the same place, hardly moving. This morning he was awake but still, probably wanting to sleep in late. The mornings kind of worry me. Still kind of scared to peak over the stall door....each morning we've looked over he hears the noise and turns his head or at least moves his eyes to look over. I'll keep the positive thoughts though and try not to worry about the other side of things. We're turning him over every 6 hours, I doubt it's his favorite thing in the world but he really seems to understand what we're doing and doesn't have any issues with it. His hay consumption is down which we'd expect, I don't think he could continue eating the way he was as quickly as he was. SLOWLY he's parts of him are disappearing that shouldn't be visible. Those that see him for the first time are still shocked at his condition but compared to what he looked like last week - all of this is progress.

DONATIONS UPDATE: We've gotten calls from folks who have tried to call Equine Allies and not received an answer and apparently there's not an answering machine according to the calls we've received so you all have been calling the house or my voicemail. We haven't gotten an update yet from them on the amount of donations that have come in to help with Windchill's care but lots of emails have come in stating they've sent money. I'll let you know when we've heard from them. If you're more comfortable you're welcome to send or stop by with a donation at:

Dan's Feed Bin
806 Hammond Avenue
Superior, WI 54880

Dan generously offered to accept the donations or gifts for Windchill and apply it to his supplement and feed needs so thank you very much Dan!

We've also set up a fund for those that want to donate directly:

Windchill Fund
Raindance Farms, LLC
mailing address:
P O Box 161262
Duluth, MN 55816

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Apparently Equine Allies answering machine does not identify their organization on its message which caused some confusion. There are no links or information about Windchill off their website, we've been asked why there isn't info or a link for donating directly to his fund on their site. Equine Allies has agreed to accept donations on Windchill's behalf and forward the monies received for his care - this is a service they've offered because we wanted folks to receive that tax deductible benefit for their generous help and we really weren't set up for the response we received from all of you caring folks.

February 18th, 1:35am: I realize I said I'd only do today's updates on this page but I granted myself a waiver under the assumption that if I haven't gone to bed yet it's still today according to my body. I just did my FINAL final check on Windchill and the others in the barn for the night. I find it's hard not to hover near him like a mother hen (or whatever the guy version of that is). He was sleeping, apparently done kicking hay away, still under a nice warm set of blankets. He has a favorite now - it's the red one. Not sure which bed we ripped that one off that night we brought him home. When my kids come to visit next time, I will have the unpleasant task of letting them know one of them doesn't have a blanket apparently but don't worry, summer is only like 4 short months away... He looked so peaceful laying there. I can go to sleep now. I think I'll sleep peacefully too. It's been a good day.


February 17th, 11:35pm: What are you folks still doing up this late and checking on this? Kidding. It's kind of nice knowing that when I do the final check in the barn you're there in spirit as well. Windchill's resting comfortably. I think he has a lot to dream about tonight. For three full hours today he saw the world from where he should - on his own four feet. Those of you without horses probably won't appreciate this but each time he stood he urinated - and everybody cheered. On his side he has to let it trickle out when his bladder is full so knowing what relief he must be feeling just made our day. Of course Windchill is a horse and really didn't seem to appreciate that we all cheered either not really seeing the significance and probably thinking we really don't have very high expectations of him if that's all it takes to get us to cheer. I hate to sound like a proud parent but he made his debut tonight on the news and he did very well I think. A full day of standing, eating, drinking, meeting the media and now it's time for the little guy to get some well-deserved sleep. Tomorrow we have some wonderful notes to put up near his stall from his online guestbook. For whatever it's worth folks, we're proud of you too. Thank you so much for being here for him.

WDIO newscast on Windchill

February 17th, 6:45pm: Add another 2 hours to Windchill's record. He stood for two hours and is now showing his mischievous side, chewing on the stall door (I'm sure he got that from Case, his neighbor at night - GRRRR) and when we slung a net across the door he did his best to unlatch it. When we 'suggested' after an hour that he may want to lay down, he refused to lay down, standing another hour and even then he didn't want to lay down but once we lowered the sling he decided maybe we were right - just maybe...  There was space between his chest and sling the whole time standing so it was ALL Windchill. He was a true ham when WDIO-TV came out to interview him this evening so as of 10pm tonight he will be known as "Windchill - as seen on TV and newspaper!" Probably his biggest 'problem' (and I say that jokingly) is the number of people that have come out here to say "hello" and not one person has been able to look at him without kneeling there alongside him, he just has this sweet nature about him. He is truly a fighter. It doesn't surprise me now that I've spent so much time near him - but it still amazes me given the path that got him here. Windchill is proof in the power of hope - hope that something can be different. Maybe I expect him to be like a person and become angry, bitter, disillusioned. Instead there's this candle in him that seems to have kept burning, even as it began to fade that night a week ago and all the love all of you have shown him - it's re-kindled this little guy's amazing spirit. Windchill really is a story about the faith of strangers and the positive energy they can create. I don't know. Maybe Windchill is living breathing proof that there is definitely hope for all of us in a world that seems so fast-paced, self-focused and sometimes downright jaded. I know that I look at our world completely differently having now seen it through the eyes of a little colt who has gotten to experience the best you all have to offer. Thank you all so much for what you have given him. We are all so humbled by this. I have to go back out in the barn with another pot of coffee and hot water for Windchill's 'staff.'

February 17th, 3pm: Another leap forward! First, we caught a good break in the weather and it's quite warm today, in the 30's finally. Amazing to think about - it's a 60 degree difference over last week and most of this week. With the help of some new volunteers and neighbors we helped Windchill up a little before 1pm. The going was a little rough at first but Windchill seems to understand what we're doing and he tries desperate to help us but it's difficult until we get his feet under him. Once he was up he stood for 40 minutes. About 20 minutes or so into his standing and taking some small steps around his stall he began to slump. We figured he was tired - and he was - and began lowering him back to the ground. As soon as he heard the winch beginning to lower him he immediately sprang back to life, refusing to go down and rest. He stood another 20 minutes which included walking around his stall as best he could, nuzzling everyone standing there and munching on hay as well as relieving his bladder - he's not really able to drain himself fully laying down so it tends to trickle out. Now that's the first thing he does when he stands and then wonders why we all cheer. We are all simply amazed at the spirit in this little guy. He keeps eating which is good - he should be around 600 to 750 lbs for his size and age - the vet figured he was around 400 or so. Even at 400 he's a handful to try and get up so thank goodness for all you good people willing to help. A volunteer came over today (Gary) and restrung the chains for the winch, giving it even more stability and some more mobility so Windchill can explore a little more while he's up. He wants to walk, that's very clear.

ALL of this is the result of your faith, your well wishes, and your prayers. Windchill is truly the result of the power of believing so don't even doubt that your emails and thoughts aren't critical to the little guy in his recovery. Thank you all so much for reaching out.


February 17th, 11am: Sorry for the delay in getting an update up, the day started early and I find I'm getting slower the more tired I get and I think that holds true for everyone involved. We've rotated the moms this morning watching over Windchill. Last night late he was in a tired, yet feisty mood. I honestly believe that standing up helped him a bunch, seeing the world for those brief moments from where he should rather than than looking up at it from on the ground. He had a bunch of well-wishers yesterday and eagerly soaked up the attention. He loves his head in people's laps so he's quite vocal about that if you're in there and not holding him correctly in his viewpoint. I think he's frustrated that he can't get up without the help of a sling and a bunch of people around him but we'll take the 30 minutes he was up yesterday. We're going to have some folks over within an hour or so for his next 'raising ceremony'.

02/16, 7:29am: This is Windchill's big day. All of our energies will be focused on getting him on his feet. Late last night he was slipping back into his funk. He was showing some spirit with the visitors here last night but even before our last volunteer left at 10pm he was slipping back into it but perhaps it was just exhaustion from his earlier efforts to push up on the hay bale. We think once we all start working to get him on his feet that his spirit and probably adrenaline will kick in and he'll want to help. He's a fighter - he's been battling overwhelming odds and has more than gotten his mileage out of a "1% odds." If, correction: when, he survives this that little guy should really buy a lottery ticket!

We're encouraged by his spirit today, he's trying to sit up which is a good sign he's trying again. Kathi just moved Dance back in with him, we rotate the 'moms' to give them a break. We think he has a crush on Dance, he gets excited and starts 'talking' quite a bit when she moves back into the stall next to him and she dotes over him like a mother hen. Annie acts more as a protective guardian, checking out each individual as they come in to see the little guy and then standing by in case they do something she doesn't like. So with Dance encouraging him, and his volunteers helping him get up today, I think he stands a really good chance of seeing his stall from above instead of below today. Pray pray pray pray!

11am: Jamie Meagher, DVM has examined Windchill from head to toe. While there's still not a strong pulse in his front legs they're definitely warm and he's definitely flexing them. After giving us a bunch of tips for his continued care she gave us the green light to go ahead and lift him onto his legs. We can now call in the crew that's volunteered to help in the lift! And best of all she said - DON'T PUT HIM DOWN!

1PM: WINDCHILL IS UP! Windchill stood for the first time since he went down last Saturday! It was a major team effort from the crew that volunteered to be here for the lift today, which is largely the Douglas County Sheriff's Department (many of whom came in on their day off as they have been all week to check on him) along with some additional volunteers - Larry Erickson, from a neighboring farm; Cindy Aho from Cloquet who donated the use of her sling, as well as block and tackle wench to lift from the rafters; Sheriff Tom Dalbec; Deputy Karen Kucera and of course Kathi Davis, Walker, and myself! 

9:40pm: Whew! A long day but one definitely worth living. After standing for 10 minutes with the help of a sling earlier in the day, at 5pm a group gathered to again help keep Windchill placed correctly as we raised him back to his feet. As soon as Windchill heard the chains of the winch working he knew what was going on and was ready to put his feet on the ground. Once again he stood - this time for 20 minutes. He was less interested in eating and more interested in trying to move around. At the end of his 20 minutes of aerobic workout, trying out the legs that have slowly come back to life over the past couple of days, he again told us he was exhausted by slumping down in the sling and starting to go to sleep. We lowered him back to the ground and he was able to reposition his legs just before drifting off. I find it difficult to put into words the feelings and emotions that ran through us as we saw him standing there, his eyes bright and excited that he was looking at the world as a horse should - on his four legs, standing proud, ready to run or walk or get him into mischief like the other babies on this farm do. I was both proud of the little guy, like a dad, and I was humbled as I stood there watching. Windchill's story has apparently spread across this country. He's been getting email from all over. We've gotten calls from all over the area and all over the country. We never expected any of that. We underestimated the depth of caring in our community, and in fact, the country. When we loaded that frozen colt in the trailer one week ago today we knew it was a battle for his life with very little chance of survival. I figured we'd be in this alone, nobody would really care about us trying to save a little horse. I was wrong.

For those that have read the news-tribune's articles, or watched on this website, if you haven't experienced the bitter cold we've had it's difficult to describe. We've gotten inquiries asking why we don't just soak him in warm water, why we didn't run an IV -- I think it's hard when you haven't experienced it to not realize that warm water freezes very quickly in the cold we've been experiencing and an IV would freeze as quickly as it was set, thus when we began re-hydrating him it had to be with warm water in buckets held close to him so he could drink. Those of us who have sat on the frozen floor with him walk away with cold, sore joints and bones. We can only take it in shifts. Even with all the blankets, hay and sawdust on the floor the cold is always present. I bring this up not to bring attention to the humans involved - we can all get up, we can all get some hot coffee and walk around and get the blood flowing through our systems. Windchill can't - go lay your face or arm on some ice cubes and see how long your system can tolerate it. Windchill did just that - he didn't slip and fall on the ice, he endured the bitter -20 temps, 30mph winds and -55 windchill until the lack of water and nourishment finally brought him down and there he lay for 6 hours calling into the wind. How do I know that? Because when we got there with the trailer, the only thing that worked on him was his head and neck and he was whinnying his high pitched call for help across the wind-swept pasture - we could hear it above the winds themselves. The cold wind was so vicious I could hardly take a breath as we moved him. He survived all that, plus the ongoing bitter cold we've had laying on that floor. The unbelievable thing is he's still alive, he's hung on and for what? His experience with humans has been one of neglect, loneliness, and having to fend for himself . If you stop and think about it, he has clung to life and never really experienced it in a positive way. 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. I know he's swallowing up the hugs, the pets, the kisses and massages and people reading to him and singing to him. I believe that he can feel in his soul the warm wishes and prayers of the many who have reached out to him and want him to live. But he didn't have that before. So as I watched him re-learning to use his legs today suspended in that sling I wondered what he held onto out in that pasture as life slowly slipped away from him. Whatever it was ultimately, I'm truly glad he continues to hold onto that. He's sure put things in perspective for me - my problems aren't quite so bad when I think about him laying there clinging to life so desperately based entirely on a hope that it can be better. And in his case, it will definitely be better, that we all promise him.

I do have to tell you something really amazing - you skeptics probably won't believe it and I wouldn't blame you at all. There's a lady with an amazing talent - an ability to communicate with animals. When my business partner (Kathi Davis) was away at a meeting this woman was a featured guest. I had to put the 6 babies in the barn that night by myself and they weren't cooperating so I was crabby by the end of the ordeal. Apparently after two years of going into the same stalls each night this was a new experience for them and they were being difficult. After finally getting them each into their correct stalls with their grain and water for the night I turned the lights out in the barn and didn't say goodnight to them as I usually do. Just closed it up and went inside. Little did I realize that my business partner would ask this woman to communicate with our horses and that the little monsters would 'tell' on me that I hadn't said goodnight to them and they were upset about that. The woman's name is Marilyn. She told her and others present, things about their horses that only they and their horses could possibly know. I happen to believe that we are all spiritual beings in these carbon shells so it's not a big stretch for me to believe that somebody could communicate with horses. The reason I tell you this is that before today's lift with the sling, Kathi put in an urgent call to Marilyn Tokach. Marilyn called back and communicated with Windchill. The notes from the call are amazing, Windchill told her where he hurt. He told her he didn't understand why we were trying so hard now for him, that he didn't want to die but didn't expect to live and that now he's holding on mostly out of curiosity to see what happens. She asked her to tell him what we were planning to do with the sling and he apparently understood. And you know what? Windchill was as calm as could be as we moved him in the sling and lifted him up that first time, quietly waiting to see if his legs would hold him. I don't want to sound like some sort of commercial - like I said, had I not experienced it myself I wouldn't believe it but if you find yourself in a position where you desperately need to communicate with your animal - I would recommend talking to her: Marilyn Tokach, 952.226.2622,  Marilyn donated her time for this session today when she heard the story and that meant a lot to all of us.

1am: During his last check, I quietly checked on the little guy. He was so wiped out he didn't move anything other than his eyes when I stood next to him. The day's activity was draining as well as got the other youngsters wound up so it took awhile for them to settle back down. They have no idea why the sheriff and his family keep showing up here - we're telling them it's because they keep popping the insulators off the electric fences and playing with the tank heaters so they're busted if they don't shape up. We'll see if that works. G'nite Windchill and the rest of you...long day...

02/15, 3:32pm:  Windchill has taken a significant downturn. He's slipped into a serious depression. We think his spirit is slipping after yesterday's failed attempts to get up and he's giving up. We HAVE to get him up in the next 24 hours. The sad thing is that his legs seem to be showing improvement with more flexibility in his front legs, his weakness and probable lack of control both are frustrating him. The offer of a sling was withdrawn as they didn't feel it would work so we spent today racing to find another and fortunately a farm in Cloquet gave us a makeshift one they've been using for both their horses and other livestock. Tomorrow or late tonight we're going to try to muster everybody that we can to help lift him.

7:25pm: The phone keeps ringing off the hook. That's been good though Windchill's finding it hard to talk on the cordless in a cold barn. Wish we'd get a reprieve from the bitter cold. Windchill keeps us guessing - he went from a decidedly depressed, down-spirited day with very little movement and not wanting to sit up at all, to perking up a bit this evening as friends stopped to put in time with him to even attempting to at least push himself up farther onto the hay bales. Apparently an entire school's faculty is going to be putting in time this weekend to help relieve us. Windchill's gonna get that education yet. Tomorrow will be a big day for all of us - the vet is coming in the morning to look him over. Hopefully his owner will come out and visit. The sheriff and the newspaper are going to come see how he's doing as well. And if the vet okays it we'll be cleared to lift him onto his legs. He really needs to stand if he's to survive. Today's depression really worried us but at least tonight after more company he was willing to give it a try. Tomorrow I hope this past week's worth of prayers, grain, hay, meds and new friends will all add up to giving him the hope and energy he will need to have the strength to get onto and stand on his feet again.

02/14, 5:00am: Kathi swapped out the 'moms' watching over Windchill, letting Annie out for a well deserved respite, and bringing in Dance who immediately began looking over the stall wall with her kind, caring eyes. She hasn't stopped watching over the little guy since seeing him. The long hours are taking their toll on the caregivers. Dark circles are under everyone's eyes. The cold works its way into your joints and body, sapping energy. And this is just us sitting with him in couple hour shifts - imagine what being in that 24/7 is like. We've had a couple more volunteers offer to come sit with him which should help ease up the wear and tear on the small number of folks we have at the moment. Windchill sends mixed messages of hope and then despair. His few attempts to stand have wiped him out. One moment he seems able to get himself up into a position he can eat and drink water on his own, other times he needs us to help him into a position like you see below and then we have to either sit behind him and let him lean on us or place a wall of hay bales behind him to prop him up. He hasn't really moved at all since last night.

This morning when I went into the barn to look at him there wasn't any movement. It scared me. I realized at that moment I knew what I wanted for the little guy - I wanted him to live. Before this, throughout this fight for his life I've wondered what the best thing for him would be. If his legs are 'dead' he has no chance. But yet...was that a twitch? He can move his back legs! Now just move a front one, please...  The ups and downs are draining on everyone emotionally and physically. But when I thought he was dead this morning I realized how much we all have invested in him - I want him to live.  Maybe as this symbol of hope that despite the stupidity and downright cruelty of human beings, it can possibly be overcome with the determination this little guy has shown.

02/14, 02:16pm: Windchill's showing real fight today! After a slow start to his morning (perhaps he's just a late sleeper!) he's showing some flexion in his legs and trying to get up!

02/14, 11:35pm: A long day for everyone but one that had some promise. Windchill is making more attempts to get up. He's begun flexing his front legs and made 4 or 5 attempts to get up. He refuses to give up which means none of us will either. More people have called today, almost non-stop. We have more volunteers to help relieve us for the coming weekend - that's a great thing. Windchill's learning he kind of likes all this attention - if we're out there and make the 'mistake' of tending to other chores, he calls to us, wanting someone to sit nearby so he can put his head in their lap. He continues to eat and drink steadily, though needs to be held up to drink if he's not propped up on hay bales. We keep turning him onto his other side, a process he's not terribly fond of but that must be done. Tonight an engineer called and volunteered to come help develop a lift utilizing our barn rafters. The science department of a high school is volunteering to come sit for some shifts with him - it appears Windchill will be getting some education during this downtime - maybe that will be a motivator for him to stand up before they give him any tests?

Time for me to go out for the last check of the night and give him his last drink for the evening. Though he sleeps much of the day, his attempts to stand drain him completely and he'll sleep soundly til the 4am shift starts.

02/13, 8:47pm: Windchill's hanging in there. He's tried to stand - we consider that progress. He's decided he really kind of likes all the attention - he calls out whenever he hears a voice in the barn and he love to lay his head in your lap and have you scratch his head as he lays there. He's gotten picky about how he munches on his grain - some of his spunky little spirit coming through. He shows a bit of flexion in his front legs, for the first time since he's been here. Maybe that means there's a chance he could stand? That's our goal right now. If he gathers the strength to stand there's hope.

Lots and lots of people have called offering support, prayers, offers of supplies and offering to donate to help cover costs. We never expected the outpouring of caring. I guess when you get tied up in your day to day responsibilities, you forget how great the human beings you pass by every day really can be. You've been calling the Douglas County Sheriff's office, the District Attorney, the Duluth News-Tribune - asking how you can help and asking that there be justice served. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to care. When Windchill's front legs work again, he can type a thank you as well.


What it looks like at Windchill's new home, panorama view (get ready to scroll):

panorama view of Raindance Farms

The people who made it happen (Windchill rise and stand on his feet) February 16th - Cindy Aho, Larry Erickson, Sheriff Tom Dalbec,  Deputy Karen Kucera, Kathi Davis, Jeff Tucker and Walker

(some pics from the night of Windchill's rescue. We had already dried him so it's hard to see in pictures how easy it is to see his rib cage, shoulder and hip bones)

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