Part I: The Departure
The day I decided to take the colt home was the day he died in my arms. “Is he always this calm?” James the veterinarian asked, as he examined Bravo at the wild horse sanctuary. Running an eye over the young buckskin’s conformation, he continued, “Is he up for adoption?” I felt an overwhelming swelling of love for this young Mustang and heard myself say, “No, he’s actually coming to Colorado with me.”
We were preparing Bravo for what was supposed to be a routine castration, and once he settled into the sedation James began to “do the honors”.
Throughout the procedure, my handsome Australian shepherd, Merlin, who is most intuitive, continually asked to come into the stall and “assist”. I told him to wait on the outside so he didn’t disturb Bravo or get hurt should there be any unexpected movements. He left, but within a few moments returned and lay down by Bravo’s side. His actions didn’t fully register with me, and I told Merlin once again to wait on the outside, reassuring him that Bravo was fine.
Once James finished, we chatted our way down memory lane, waiting for Bravo to awaken. As James gathered his instruments, we realized that more time had gone by than was usual for a horse to be lying flat out. I mentioned my concerns, and James informed me that during the operation he had noticed Bravo’s inaugural rings (the entrance from the intestines to the testicles) were oversized. He said this was something that could not have been determined until he actually performed the procedure, and that I should keep a close lookout for any abnormalities during the healing process. If I saw anything out of the ordinary, I was to call him immediately.
A few moments later, none of that would matter.
We roused Bravo. As he began to get up, the world turned upside down. As a former police officer, I am not what you’d call faint of heart. But I was not prepared for what I was about to experience. As I looked at Bravo, his intestines begin to flow out of his body like spaghetti. In seconds, they hit the ground. My heart sank as tears began to pour down my face.
James ran to his truck to get the right tools. I radioed for backup as the young colt ran into my arms. I cradled his head, feeling helpless as the fear in his eyes desperately asked me what was happening. I had no answers for him.
As others came to help, they could see the trauma written on all our faces. James told us he had no choice but to put Bravo to sleep.
Part II: The Message
Several months later, my close friend was talking with Bravo. An animal communicator, she was able to connect people with animals who had passed to the other side, helping to heal the hearts of both. She connected immediately and told me things only Bravo and I knew – things personal to our relationship.
As an animal communicator myself, I knew how to connect to Bravo. However, it is common for animal communicators to consult others when it comes to their own animals, since their strong emotions and desires can confuse the information received.
To my delight, Bravo informed me that he would be returning to me in two years, when I was really ready for him. He would return as either a Gruella or a buckskin colt. I would meet him when he was approximately nine months old. He would be brought up as an untouched Mustang, and would have a dorsal stripe and three swirls.
I had been studying the impact of swirls for more than a decade. Not only was it proven that swirls indicate extreme personalities and intelligence, but they were also something I wanted in my own horse, a secret I had told no one.
Part III: The Return
Life sometimes has a way of getting you where you need to be, even when you don’t think you want to go.
In January 2007, I was invited to give a speech at a gathering in Livermore, Colorado in support of the Mustangs. The meeting, a good two-and-a-half-hour drive from my home, would take place in the evening. I’m always pleased to be able to bring awareness to the American Mustang, so I gladly accepted the invitation.
That winter was a rather unique one in Colorado. The meeting was postponed twice due to extreme weather conditions. Finally, on the third attempt to reschedule the meeting, I was unsure whether I wanted to endure over five hours of driving to give a 10-minute lecture. However, I always honor my commitments, so I went.
After the meeting, I was asked if I would like to help feed the horses. With temperatures at near freezing I wasn’t too keen to venture into the cold to throw hay. I politely declined the offer, and stayed in the warmth by the fire.
Only a few moments later, one of the volunteers came back inside. The ice cold weather was exacerbating her lung condition, and she couldn’t continue. She asked if I could go out instead, although as most of the work was already done, there really was no need for me to help at this point. Nonetheless, my conscience got the better of me and I popped my head around the corner only to find that the young horses were already in their pens.
Gabriele, who originally asked for my help, motioned for me to visit with her and again I questioned if she really needed me. This time she suggested I come and look at the young colts. I braced for the cold and ventured to the corral.
Within seconds I saw what appeared to be a nine-month-old colt with a Gruella colored head, looking right at me. I asked Gabrielle to encourage him to walk closer. As he approached, I could see a buckskin body with the cute Gruella head. When he reached me, I discovered three swirls on his forehead.
This can’t be happening, I thought. It can’t be him. Then I saw it – the long dorsal stripe and zebra stripes on his legs. The dorsal stripe had two strips going over his withers, creating the appearance of a cross. “This is Gaultier,” Gabriele pronounced.
I learned he had come from the Spanish Mustang Registry in Oshoto, Wyoming. He was nine months old, and pretty much unhandled, though sociable.
The most amazing piece of the puzzle was this: just days before, I had called a couple of friends and asked them to be on the lookout for a young Mustang colt with this full description. I was ready to invite him into my life, and here he was!
There are only so many signs you can ignore before you have to take that leap of faith. So on my birthday, I invited “Excalibur” into my life. He is now a very special part of our family. I am often asked what his role is to be in my life, and my response is always the same – the choice is his.
Anna Twinney is an internationally respected animal communicator, equine specialist, natural horsemanship clinician, and Reiki master. She has been featured on TV and in national and international magazines, and travels the world educating people and horses, working in the horses’ own language. As the founder of the Reach Out to Horses® program, she remains on the cutting-edge of genuine, gentle communication techniques with all our planetary companions. For more information, go to www.reachouttohorses.com.