Mya is 31 years old. I always lead with that; for a horse, 31 is a magnificent accomplishment. In Mya’s case it was also almost her undoing. Age is a tough master. Because of age, Mya outlived her usefulness. She outlived her equine companions. As her years progressed, she sadly outlived her caregiver and then, saddest of all, outlived the ability of those remaining to take care of her. She almost did not outlive that last part. That’s when Mya came to us and this is Mya’s Rescue Story.
Mya was a beautiful baby. I know this because her former owners later shared pictures of her as a young one. They were so excited about that jet black baby with the little white star and long legs! Horses are pets and lifetime companions. That is one truth. Horses are a commodity, an ends to a means, to be sold off when they no longer meet your needs. That is another truth, one that is infinitely more familiar. Mya was one of the lucky ones, wanted and loved from the beginning in what was to be her “forever” home.
Mya never left the place that she was born, not once in her entire life. She had never been on a trailer, had never been to a vet clinic or a horse show. She stayed in a pasture with her mama and with the stud who sired her penned in an adjoining pasture. It was a simple setup, but I’m certain she was happy and content. Mostly, from the stories told to me, I know she was loved. The woman of the house doted on her, fed her apples, and took her for walks down the road. How lucky for Mya.
But things changed, as they always promise to do. Money got tight and the stud horse was sold. Mya’s mama died. And Mya was alone. She was in a familiar environment, but her aloneness made her vigilant and anxious. The years stretched on. Mya’s owner became sick and taking care of Mya became more difficult. Oh, how she loved that horse though! In her last days, she made her husband promise that Mya would stay, would be taken care of for the remainder of her life. And he promised.
Age was catching up with him, too. The house and property became too much for him to handle. More and more, Mya was fending for herself. The vet visits ended, as did the farrier. There were no outside eyes on Mya, no one to raise a flag. His daughter contacted the Rescue. She said there was no choice but to move him in with them so he could be taken care of. He said he couldn’t do that because of his promise to his dying wife, to take care of Mya. Please, could we help? She had been contacting rescues everywhere. It was December and there were lots of reasons why no one had room for a 29 year old, emaciated horse. No one adopts those horses. No one wants the heartache and burden of their end-of-life needs. Those horses need sanctuary and sanctuary placements are few and precious.
We had room though. We have acreage and green grass and what’s one more when you have so many? Or something like that. Whatever it was, that Saturday, my sister, Kim, and I hooked up the truck and trailer and pointed it south. Following the directions we were given, we went from freeway, to county highway, to side road, to dirt road, ending on a two lane path through the brush. I was terrified of ever being able to get the trailer back out. The daughter waved us in, her father, ever so slowly hobbling out of the house behind her. She left to gather Mya from somewhere in the brush and he talked to us, telling Mya’s story, speaking fondly and sadly of his wife and her love for Mya. When Mya came into our circle, we were all crying.
He was apologetic and we were kind. We promised to keep his promise. We all loved on Mya and then slowly coaxed her into the trailer. She stumbled up the ramp hampered by her overgrown feet, but went willingly and stood peacefully. He said that was a sign. We hugged and said our goodbyes and as we drove away, our review view mirrors framed him, doubled over in grief, his daughter’s arms around him. That is how much that moment mattered. That is what treasure we carried away from him and home with us.
There is more to tell of Mya, of her journey, her recovery. I will let this part sit for now.