The Good Turn that went very Wrong Part 6

When Candy was so very ill, the vet was in town and he came to look at her, but was unable to do anything.  He admitted that it was suspicious, as he could not see any poisoned vegetation anywhere near the stables, and unlike the other horses, she was not greedy and seldom tried to eat while we were out on a ride.  She was too much of a lady for that!

After she died the vet arranged for her to be collected and he did a basic autopsy on her.  He couldn’t draw any conclusions, but he sent several samples to the veterinary laboratories in Ondersterpoort, the primary research facility in South Africa.  We never received a reply.

After that there were no more deaths, but to this day I shall never know what caused them.  Did the local witch doctor take revenge?  Was it just a co-incidence? Was it Hardstone, whom you may remember I never trusted.  I’ll never forget how he laughed when Kojak got ill.  He’d been my first stable hand and I don’t think that he was too pleased when I took more guys on, though it certainly shared the workload.

I always paid my staff weekly, that way, under the law I could give them a week’s notice and a week’s pay if they were stealing or beating the animals or for whatever reason.  Most of the lads had been with me for some time, and everyone was paid on a Saturday evening.  Sadly that meant that I would have to feed the horses and muck out on a Sunday and tack them up for the customers.  All the guys were still badly hung over or had not found their way back home.  All except Beehive.  He’d never had the spare money to go drinking and he was not going to start now.  So I guess the others were jealous of him.  But he was my most reliable worker. 

But sadly I was to lose him and I never even saw it coming.

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The Good turn that went very wrong Part 5

I’ve just opened my blog – took me a while to find it again! – only to discover that the post I wrote on 12th January was still sitting there as a draft! So, now you can read two together!

I was distraught after the the death of Kojak, but worse was to come. A couple of days later, I noticed that Candy was sick. I think Candy was my favourite, partly because I was the only one to ride her and also because she had had a very difficult start in life. She’d been bred on a farm just outside Francistown by a typical old school farmer who treated animals as well, animals. She had been broken in, in a particularly cruel way and while she “did as she was told,” she was nervous and skittish and possibly quite dangerous.
When she first arrived at the stables I was handing her her bucket on the end of a broom! She snapped, threatened to lash out at anything close enough and she was off limits to all customers.
It took me several weeks just standing close to the stable and talking to her in a low, soothing, voice until, finally she calmed down and became part of the herd. If I’m honest, the presence of the other horses probably had more influence on her than I did.
Even though she was calmer, I did not trust her with any of the children unless she was being led by one of the stable hands.
But now she was sick, her stomach hugely distended and she was obviously in great distress. Once again I kept her on her feet and walked her round and round and round. I willed her not to die, but I was not hopeful.

Part 4

It must be a million years ago since I last blogged.  Still to finish my story of the Good Turn that went very Wrong.

All was quiet for a couple of weeks, then I arrived at the stables to find that Kojak one of the two horses we had brought from Gaborone was obviously ill. By this time I had acquired a copy of a veterinary handbook for idiots – just my level – and from what I could see, he was suffering from colic. I knew enough to try and keep him walking and I spent the whole day just trying to keep him on his feet.  He looked so unhappy and I felt so helpless. Both vets were out of town at the time, and there was no one to ask for help.

As night began to fall, I led him slowly and painfully back to his stable and leaving him plenty of water I went home.

The following morning he was dead. I was devastated and both the children and I cried our eyes out.   It sounds unfeeling I guess, but how I wish i had never left him in his stable, we had to break it apart to get him out, or rather the people I called had to do it.  Since it was a wooden structure we could repair it, but had it been made of stone……

although I could not imagine how Kojak could have developed cholic, since horses suffer from this after eating too much rich, green grass and there was a positive dearth of this in Botswana.  Could it have been an age thing, was he simple too old to survive much longer.  He had herded cattle from the Chobe area in the north west of the country down to the corned beef factory in Lobatse for many years.  He was the steadiest horse I had in the stable, elderly, reliable, safe and sensible.  Perfect for adults learning to ride and safe for the smallest little ones as long as they did not throw themselves to the ground.  I hoped that he advanced age was the cause of his death and that this was only disaster we would have.

How wrong could I be?