I was born with a deep, magnetic attraction and love for horses. To the feeling of galloping across acres of land, with nothing but blue skies and green valleys on the horizon. The moment after my first horseback ride at the age of 2, I knew I was hooked. I would never go another day without having one of the world’s most beautiful creatures by my side.
For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted a buckskin Lusitano. Their gleaming tanned coats and flowing black manes had instantly made them a favorite in my eyes. Their beauty is unmatched and I couldn’t wait to build a connection with my own one day. The problem was, they were extremely hard to come by, and even when you did, their price tag would take quite a hit on your bank account.
After owning several horses on my farm throughout the years, and searching endlessly for my dream horse, I finally found a Lusitano mare and purchased her from an auction. I was able to buy her for what some would call a “steal.” And, while she wasn’t buckskin, she was utterly gorgeous, and I knew that it was meant to be. She just happened to be pregnant at the time I adopted her as well!
Now as human nature has it, we always want what we can’t have, and when we get it, we want more. So, after a short period of time, it wasn’t enough for me to be satisfied with the two Lusitanos (mom and daughter) I already owned.
I longed for the Buckskin in the back of my mind. “One day,” I would keep saying to myself. I already owned more horses than I had time to ride, so why this longing inside? I tried to be content with what I had – but the feeling to own one became somewhat obsessive… So, I eventually decided I would breed my mare to the perfect color horse, to create the exact color buckskin that I wanted.
I then had to go to my husband and talk to him about what I wanted to do. The always supportive, amazing, smart man he is, said “Heather, let’s take a walk.” Uh oh… So, we walked up to my horses’ pasture and he looked at my two Lusitanos and he said – “you have not only one, but two, of your beautiful dream horses – I know how much you love them and what they mean to you…and I know that you’ve always wanted a buckskin… but I need you to think long and hard if what you have already is not enough, and the color of a horse is going to change everything for you? You can breed Zora (one of the mares) for your buckskin if you really want to.”
Whoa… that hit me hard… I was given the permission, but what he said to me would not stop turning inside of me. Was I not grateful for all I had? Two beautiful rare horses – so what if they were red? Did it make them less of a horse? Now horse people always have a favorite color and breed, as do dog and cat people I’m sure – so there aren’t many who love animals that won’t understand my longing. But the realization of Dan’s words to me kept replaying in my mind. Do I need another horse? Am I not being grateful for all that I have? Why do I need another, just for the color?
I decided that afternoon that I was not going to breed my mare. I was going to go out and pet them and ride them all that I could and I didn’t need another horse to take care of just to have the color that I loved. Every day I jumped into a place of gratitude as I went out to feed them in the morning and night – I thanked them for showing up in my life and giving me the dream, I never thought I could afford. I kept doing this every day and I released the dream of owning a buckskin. And then, I forgot about it. Like it never existed in my consciousness.
Then, one day my older Lusitano mare Zora, got sick… I mean really sick. I was so connected to her that no physical symptoms were showing, but I knew she was sick – and I called the vet. After lots of testing, I was told that she had a neurological illness caused from possum poop that had a parasite in it and would cause permanent neurological damage. She was rapidly declining and if she didn’t get better within one week of being on the medication, then I would need to put her down. I was devastated.
My heart was broken – and the vet basically told me he did not think she would make it and to start planning to say my goodbye’s over the next few days. I went to my husband to talk about it, as he knows how much this horse stole my heart and how hard it would be to let her go. All I would have left was her daughter, Mila…horses are herd animals and they can’t be by themselves…What was I going to do? I felt lost and distraught.
Then, my husband looked at me and said… “Heather, why don’t you go get that Buckskin you always wanted. Get him now so Mila can get to know him before she has to say goodbye to her mother, and then she won’t be alone.” Oh, the irony of finally getting the dream horse I always wanted…but at what cost? I knew of an amazing breeder that had the horse I wanted and the day before I had to make the decision to put my mare down, I drove to NY to pick up Magnum, the outrageously stunning buckskin Lusitano of my dreams. He was a baby – only 7 months old.
When I brought him back home, I let him in with Mila and Zora and the strangest thing happened… There was a newfound curiosity for life in Zora that had disappeared when her illness took over. She came to life seeing this little baby horse. It was like she had lost her spark but quickly remembered what it was like to take care of a baby. She knew she had a responsibility and a reason to be on this Earth still so she came back to life… literally. The next morning she was walking around with him and looking better. I called my vet and he came out and said.. lets try a couple more days and see how she looks. Well, a week later she was chasing him around and a month later she had put back on weight and muscle and was a mom all over again. She remembered that she loved life and wanted to stay a while longer with me, to take care of her newly adopted baby buckskin boy.
Now, the magic in this story always gets me… was it the connection with my mare? She knew my longing and my bond with her was unbreakable and I gave her a forever safe home, from where she came from, which was a traumatic situation… I rescued her – and in a way she rescued and took care of me… she brought me Magnum.
In the end her health came back about 85% – the other 15% is still shadow blindness and her depth perception is off… She is completely retired except for a 1/2 hour hack trail ride every now and then, which she loves! She is the queen of the farm and my gratitude for her and allowance of her actually allowed me to get the buckskin I always wanted – even though it didn’t show up in the form I thought it would. I had to almost lose one to gain another but she came around and is still with me to this day… Something tells me it was a divine orchestration…
Gratitude and allowance is key. Trust me when I tell you this.