We were eager to return to Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue following their Open House Adoption Day, where we met Nalan, the liver chestnut filly that captivated Alex’s heart. She was all we could talk about leading up to our second visit to the ranch. We left not-so-bright and early at 5:00am on the morning of our appointment so we could arrive by 8:00am and beat the heat of the day. We loaded up the car with our helmets and Nalan’s halter and lead rope and headed for the desert, excited for to spend time with our newest little one.
When we arrived to the ranch, the trainers had already pulled up the group of yearling fillies and separated them into smaller corrals so that they could be worked with individually. When we saw Nalan, she was even more beautiful than we had remembered and I could tell it still had not sunk in for Alex that this gorgeous little filly was all his. Alex entered her corral and began applying the approach and retreat method in order to gain her trust. Being only ten months old, Nalan proved to be quite distracted by her surroundings. Still, after only a short while, Alex was able to finally stroke his little filly.
Another couple had arrived shortly after us to work on trailering with their newly adopted gelding. “You got a good one!” one of them said. Come to find out, they had inquired about Nalan after the Adoption Day and had been planning to bring her home with their new gelding, too! Alex and I looked at each other in amazement… and thanked God we had put the deposit down on Nalan the week before! It was another piece to the puzzle that felt like Nalan truly was the answer to our prayers and was meant to be a part of our family.
Earlier in the day, he had told me that his one goal was to wrap his arm around her neck in a small hug. Watching Alex spend time with Nalan had me reminiscing about the days when I first adopted Eternity. Years ago, Lifesavers had frequent weekend clinics for adopters to cultivate natural horsemanship techniques to further their horses’ training after the left the ranch. Since I was only eleven years old and new to this realm of horsemanship, my family and I spent quite a few weekends at Lifesavers volunteering in the mornings and working with the horses in the afternoon. I am excited for the day when Lifesavers relaunches their clinic program as these clinics have helped many people to become better partners for their horses.
Towards the end of our appointment, Alex had still yet to reach his goal… but he didn’t become discouraged. Instead, he quietly worked with Nalan, “taking the time it takes (so it takes less time)” to make her feel comfortable. Lisa Wohl was a sweetheart and spent extra time with us, coaching Alex so that he could give his baby one hug before we left to return home. Soon thereafter, Alex was able to sling his arm over the top of Nalan’s neck and draw her close to him in a warm hug. Feeling fulfilled, Alex said goodbye to his filly with a smile on his face.
We arranged to pick up Nalan, Dahlia and KoKo (the two fillies that would be returning to the ranch with us for gentling) on the 13th of July and started our three hour drive home. We chatted excitedly with one another, thankful for the life we’re living. It amazes me to think that just this past April we had no idea we would be moving to the countryside, let alone have two Mustang yearlings to call our own!
“Have you decided on a name yet?” I asked Alex as we were pulling out of the ranch. Ever since Alex began entertaining the idea of adopting a horse of his own over a year ago, he’s been mulling over different names. Now that he knew what his horse looked like and was learning who she was, I was curious as to whether he had settled on a more fitting name. “Honor,” he said. Out of all of the names he had previously ran by me, Honor was by far my favorite… and how fitting for this little filly who stands tall with the wind in her mane and a fire in her heart.