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  • Margaret Toner-Gaston

Love in a time of Covid 19

Like everyone at the moment, we are using extra care in the way we relate to the world. We mask, we wash, we sanitize and we keep our distance. As a result, we have been confined to the farm for the majority of the summer. It gave us the time to repair fences, re-hang gates and improve the barn. We took delivery of some massive logs for firewood, that when Brett cut them down amounted to over 20 face cords for the winter. We have ordered storm doors for the house and the shop, I renovated the living area in the house. We certainly didn"t get the entire list done, but we did a lot.

Those eager for news of the horses will be glad to know that they are all well.

Suzy is being treated with a strong medication for scratches, and infection in the tissues around the feet that is the result of dampness. We have tried for a long time to heal her and to no avail. In desperation I contacted Neil Dimmock, the most famous of Canadian teamsters at the moment. He recommended an injectable medicine and it certainly does seem to be helping.

As some of you already know, Silver came down with Laminitis over the summer. Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae in the foot. These are the structures that hold the foot together. Laminitis, in this case at least, is caused by the horse being over weight and the weight puts too much stress on the feet. Silver has been diagnosed with Cushing''s Disease, which is a malfunction of the glands that regulate sugars in the body. This is why he gained so much weight. Our excellent vet, Evangeline Wiens, has prescribed a little pink pill, and it seems to be working. Silver has lost 200lbs, which represents 17% of his starting weight. We are still working with different feeding regimens to keep the weight off. All of this has been very stressful for his 29 year old body. We are endeavoring to help him deal with that stress with extra attention and comfort.

Shannon is recovering from a stone bruise, but other than that she is doing extremely well. She only did one photo session all summer, a medieval session the results of which can be seen at the bottom of our medieval page. Shannon is so exceptionally beautiful that she could make any photo shoot look good. We are free for covid safe sessions until the end of October, and after that depending on weather. We would love you see you.

Ah Duke. My hero, my main man. He looks so glorious as his winter coat starts to come in. He still runs the other horses ragged, but he is gentle and sweet with me. He is always glad to be hugged and to press his forehead against mine. Duke did two weddings this summer, the first a rainbow pride wedding in Almonte which the entire community seemed to rally behind. The second was a carefully managed affair in the south end, where the wedding guests almost all wore colours of saffron silk, and the bride and groom were the prince and princess of the story. They made their grand entrance in the carriage with Duke in the lead posing for pictures as he went along.

A man named Ernie Smith once said to me that we couldn't have done any of the things we have done if it wasn't for Duke. He was right. Duke's character and his relationship with me has given us five wonderful years of magic.

We are extremely lucky that Brett is a member of the military and that we haven't lost our main income due to the pandemic. We have lost our business income, but we have been able to look after the horses and to maintain their quality of life. Every day we are thankful for the wonderful life we have here at the Red Gate.

We know that we are lucky. As a result we will always be open to charity work. Like the Make a Wish event we did in 2017. That's our way to give back. If you think you have an event where we could help, please let us know (registered charities please}.

It's good to be back at it. Have a look at our web site and see what you think. I have freshened it up and hope to see you there.

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