Mia Bella came into my life at a very tender time. My marriage had recently fallen apart and I was on an epic inner journey. She was my first horse, the horse I had been quietly longing for since childhood, the horse I had dreamed of during my riding lessons as a teenager. When I first looked into her eyes, I immediately felt connected and I knew she was the horse for me.
Mia Bella was no spring chicken. I was told she was 24 years old, but after looking up her tattoo number in the Standardbred database, I discovered that she was actually 29. I knew my time with her would not be as long as I wanted it to be, but I was ok with taking on a senior horse – this senior horse – because of that connection. She was a little on the skinny side, but we enjoyed some light riding and I worked & worked to get her weight up.
I loved Mia Bella’s life story – she started as a racehorse, and after a successful career became a broodmare. When that phase of her life was over, she was a backyard horse for some teenage girls. Eventually, she made her way to us.
After her arrival, I spent every morning with Mia Bella while my children were still sleeping, talking to her and brushing her as the sun climbed higher into the sky. I told her my hopes for the future, my worries about the kids, my deepest sorrows and my greatest joys. Every morning, Mia Bella heard the contents of my soul, and would watch me with the most serene expression. She ate her breakfast, and I talked. She stood to have her hooves picked, and I talked. She swished her tail as I ran the brush over her thin body, and I talked.
I wish I could say that my efforts to bring Mia Bella’s weight up were successful. The sad truth is, she got skinnier and skinnier. Our quiet rides came to an end when she got too boney to comfortably wear a saddle. Summer faded into Autumn and while our pony plumped up, Mia Bella dwindled.
Over the course of this past week, I watched Mia Bella weaken. When she laid down, she struggled to get back up again. She was deteriorating before my eyes, and I knew her time had come.
Today, with the help of some very generous, giving, kind, and loving friends, Mia Bella made her way into the Spirit world. My heart is heavy with grief at the loss of my dear friend, but I know she could not suffer through another day. She was not with us for very long, but it was long enough to steal our hearts and become a cherished friend. It was an honour to be with her in her final months of life, to brush her down one last time, and to lay her to rest. Mia Bella will forever be the horse of my heart, the one who taught me so many important lessons and opened me to new truths with her calm and graceful silence during those early morning hours.
Rest peacefully, old friend. I’ll see you on the other side.