Warm to Windchill’s story
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
You think you might just melt.
It happens every time. You can’t help it — but as you’ll see in the new book, “Warmed by Windchill” by Jeffrey L. Tucker, that melting feeling may be able to help them.
While Wisconsinites can usually count on cold weather during the winter, February 2008 brought “brutal cold.” So when Jeffrey Tucker’s partner, Kathi, rushed into their house and said there was an emergency, Tucker knew it was serious.
A former neighbor had asked Kathi to check on the welfare of a colt that was boarding down the road from Tucker’s farm. The boarders said the colt was outside, which didn’t make sense: The temperature was ten below zero and the wind was howling — it was much too cold for that animal to be outside.
They heard the nine-month-old colt before they saw him.
He was screaming, obviously terrified, and waving his head around. He was emaciated; hungry and thirsty; and frozen solid, encased in ice. They put him on a children’s sled, dragged him to their horse trailer, took him home, and named him Windchill.
Not sure if the colt would survive his first 24-hours, Tucker and Kathi nursed him through the night and warmed him. They fed him and tried to thaw his legs, hoping he would someday regain mobility. The little guy definitely wanted to live.
Fearing what state law would say about the colt’s condition, Tucker put a little PR to work by calling the local news media, which did a story on Windchill. That put pressure on the sheriff’s office, which had initially recommended that the colt be “put down.” The PR also served to mobilize volunteers. As Windchill’s story went viral, well-wishers from around the world sent emails, messages, money and supplies.
But the outpouring of love wasn’t without bumps, and neither was Windchill’s recovery. As the little colt gained weight and muscle strength, however,
his prognosis seemed better and Tucker was optimistic. He’d never known an animal with more heart.
If only that heart had been stronger.
“Warmed by Windchill” is a very small book. At just over 100 pages; it’s almost a pamphlet, really, but for horse lovers, it’s gonna pack a kick.
As you begin reading Windchill’s story, it’s hard not to feel a sense of urgency and concern, and more than just a little anger. That’s a testament to the skills of author Jeffrey L. Tucker, and I would’ve liked to see that kind of narrative continue. Alas, Tucker ultimately relies quite a bit on melodrama, emails, and messages from Windchill fans to fluff up what’s already, regretfully, a slim story. That doesn’t make this a bad book; it’s just not as good as it could’ve been.
Still, there’s definitely something in here for horse lovers — and if that’s you, then saddle up and find “Warmed by Windchill.” Missing it could leave you cold.