Heart & Soul Story From A Reader- Esperanza Prima Mia

By DonnaJean Peterson

Editor Note: This Heart & Soul Story was submit in 2015, but it's such a lovely story I wanted to share it again.

I went down to the barn this morning, and, like every morning for the last 7 years, I take the halter off the peg by the little bay mares stall, and slip it gently over her head and lead her out to the tie post to began the task of grooming her beautiful dark red coat. With every stroke of the brush, I once again admire the taunt muscles that lay just beneath the surface. I smile with appreciation and pride at the strong veins as I carefully brush every hair whorl into place, and that my now, I know by heart. Every little scar and imperfection on her beautifully strong body, and like everyday before, I once again thank God that he chose me to be the one to look after this very special creature.

I reflect back 7 years to the day I first saw this mare...........I had contacted a Peruvian Horse breeder here in town and described to her exactly what I was looking for. An older bay gelding, well broke Well a few weeks had past, and the breeder, A gal named Bonnie Gjerseth, called and said.. "Heeeey! I think I found your horse! Now its not a gelding like you wanted, but I think you will like her. Come take a look!" So I went to her barn, knowing I would NOT like this, this,.. THIS MARE!. I mean seriously. Everyone knows that geldings are the best. Right? I got to the barn and as I was walking down towards the stalls, I saw a lovely little bay mare standing so nice and quietly in cross ties and as I approached, she lifted her head to look at me, and all I could say is. "Ohhhh! I'll take Her!!" It was love at first sight.

At 14.2 hands she was a shorty, and I loved her the moment I saw her. Bonnie, who is now a good friend of mine has an uncanny knack for picking out just the right horse for whoever it is looking for their perfect riding companion. And she really did pick the most perfect horse for me.

Today was much different then those other days, and my heart was heavy and I had to fight back the tears with every stroke of the brush. Today would be the last time that I would share this moment of bonding with this mare. This mare with whom I rode many glorious miles on. For 7 years I rode this little bay mare on some of the most beautiful winding trails all throughout Wisconsin and So. Dakota. Getting lost from time to time, only to give her, her head and she would eventually find our way back from where we started. My little bay mare, my pride and joy, who would make me laugh at her silly shenanigans as she would take that agile upper lip of hers and wiggle it onto the top of my head or my back, INSISTING that I stop with raking her stall in order to give her a good scratching around her face and ears..... This mare, who I would bury my face into her neck and breath deep the scent of horse that only an Equestrian can fully understand. This little bay mare who would bravely take me over creaky old bridges, foraged deep river crossings, who would take me up steep rocky trails and carefully carry me down the other side. This beautiful dark bay mare, My Esperanza. Her name meant joy, hope, and happiness. A name for which she lived up to, for she truly was my joy, hope and happiness. She kept me sane in this increasingly insane world, Never had I known such a sweet creature.

My "Espy" my partner, was given back to God today. My Girl had nerve issues all along her back and neck, that sadly, could not be resolved. She is with God now, running in His green, lush pastures along side all the other noble horses that have gone before her. No saddle to bind her, and no bridle to hold her back. To all of my friends who knew my Espy and me as a team, Thank you for all the great times we shared out on the trails. To God, Thank you for the time I had with this little bay mare. I know you will look after her until I get there. And to my Espy.... It was a great ride Girl. See you at the "Gate" on the other side....