Healing From loss with a Mustang
September 6, 2022, a day I’ll remember forever. The day my daughter was born and the day she died. They diagnosed Anna in utero with trisomy 14. It was discovered through ultrasound that her heart was enlarged, along with some other problems. Which left us alarmed, but hopeful. Later on in the pregnancy, we were told she would not survive long after birth. She managed to hold on and live 112 minutes. She was a beautiful baby, fully loved. And now greatly missed.
It was an enormous hurdle to overcome; loss. Like nothing I’d ever faced before. The challenge of going on with life without someone you love is really hard, especially for a mother. Not to mention the trauma of being part of the death of your child. It is unusual someone dies in your arms. Particularly right after you’ve just birthed them. Then letting go of the dreams you had and accepting life and what has happened.
Six weeks after Anna’s death our horse Daisy had to be put down. Two great losses back to back. It seemed like quite a blow, really. When you’re down, or when you’re in a grief state already, it’s even harder to see or deal with death again. I struggled with this. I watched as she breathed her last. Those big deep breaths she made. It still gives me chills to think of it. It was something I’ll never forget. Our beautiful palomino. How could this happen? And so sudden.
After everything that had happened, we weren’t emotionally or financially ready for another horse. We’d spent a small fortune on a funeral, vet bills, and more. We needed time to gain some traction- to reset.
We planned on buying another horse eventually or a mule. My husband really wanted a mule and Daisy was his horse. As we casually searched, we found nothing in our price range. I had the idea to adopt a wild mustang. It was affordable, doable, and something I’d always wanted to do. With no mustang adoption events near us and not having the time to drive to a holding facility, we weren’t sure how we were going to make it happen.
Until I saw an ad for a wild mustang only 30 minutes away. He was a little bay named Colorado. He was with a TIP trainer and was in the gentling process. I messaged her, and she said she also had a couple others as well for me to look at. When I walked up to the pen to see Colorado, he was standing on the far side and never looked at me. But in a smaller pen was a shorter bay that took a couple of steps towards me and acted interested in me. I took my eyes off Colorado and to the friendly little face to my right. Another bay she’d named Mathias. He let me pet him and I was hooked. Within days, the paperwork was finalized, and I owned a mustang.
To be honest, I struggled with the fact he was only 14 hands. Especially since he was supposed to be for my husband. Not only that, but the little guy was covered in scars. Gathered as a four year old he has plenty of years in the wild sparring with other stallions. But despite it all there was this draw. I couldn’t help but think people didn’t want him because of his height. He’d been passed up three times and was therefore sale eligible. Meaning three times he’d been put in sales and no one wanted him. He chose me, though. He reached out to me and I couldn’t ignore that.
From day one he’s been a dream to work with. So calm, gentle, and trusting. One of the reasons I wanted a wild mustang was I wanted a challenge. I wanted the challenge of training a horse from the ground up. But Mathias has taught me so much about trust. He offers it abundantly. Everything about his training has been pretty uneventful. In fact, one day during one of our sessions, pretty early on. I stopped and pet his neck and said, “You’re so trusting.” Then I felt God speak to me. “Why don’t you trust Me this much?”
That gentle rebuke from the Lord left me bewildered. “How much more do I need to trust you God?” “I’ve already given you Anna freely.” I held no anger towards Him! But through Mathias God showed me that I feared our future and I wasn’t trusting Him fully in all things.
Mathias has taught me to offer trust on a daily basis to our Lord. To give to Him my future. As Mathias could never return to the wild. The Lord has given me salvation that I can never lose. I must trust Him here and now until I join Him, Anna, and Daisy in eternity.
As I write this, it’s been almost a year since Anna’s passing and we’ve had Mathias almost four months. Spending time with him and having a focus has helped me with my grief. I’ve loved seeing his progress and watching him grow. He’s been a beautiful part of my healing journey.
But I’ve pushed myself in ways I didn’t use to do. I started leading a horsemanship group with my church and teaching horsemanship classes to homeschoolers. Mathias has done really well with all of that. I’m proud of all my horses in how they’ve let others, less experienced people ride them and enjoy them. It’s blessed my heart to see others enjoy horses.
I forget what a blessing it can be to even see a horse up close for some people. Don’t get me wrong I consider my horses one of my greatest blessings, but it is also normal for me. While for others it is unique and very healing to be with them.
When you began reading this story, it started out with the heaviest and most heartbreaking feelings I’ve ever had. But just a few paragraphs later, I hope you can feel it too. There is a lightness. It doesn’t take away the pain completely, but wounds heal and you become stronger. I still cry. I still hurt. But I’m grateful for every single day.
Remember, all we have, all we are, and every moment is a gift from God.
I’m thankful for the short little mustang no one wanted. Mathias means gift from God.
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