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Mystico Part 6, November 2002 ~ Homeward Bound

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Read Part 5 of Mystico’s story here

When I realized that the horse transport company I had hired said there were going to be additional delays I knew I had to make other arrangements. As I remember I had given them a deposit, which I would lose if I changed my plans, but I couldn’t stand the thought of one more week for Mystico and I waiting in this interminable misery

I began calling horse hauling companies locally and nationally trying to find a way to get Mystico from Tennessee to Washington. After several hours I came up with a possible plan. All I could put together was hiring an individual man who hauled locally, who agreed to trailer Mystico from Alex’s barn to a location several hours away where I had arranged another man who hauled horses longer distances, to trailer Mystico along with some other horses as far as Washington State, and then a friend and I would pick him up with her trailer at a location there and bring him home. It was more expensive and problematic to do it this way but it seemed I had no other recourse if I wanted to get us out of there soon.

I called the clairvoyant, Vera, to ask her advice. She was critical of me making so many changes from the original plan and she said she couldn’t foresee the consequences. She said that her ability to “psychically see” the right path required deep meditation and time. But I didn’t have time to wait for her. I had to make this decision now. It was difficult for me to experience her disapproval. I was still very confused by her rigid approach to working with the challenges that I kept running into, but I had never consulted her on an as needed basis, only for help with healing past traumas.

I talked to Mystico and told him we were going to be getting out of there. He looked at me through the bars of his stall. It was as if he now had bars on his spirit as well. He had gone inward into himself and he wasn’t the sweet playful horse that had shown himself to me before. I had to have faith that horse was still inside him, somewhere.

The horse hauler arrived the next day. He had a nice six-horse trailer, and he seemed like a kind man. As before, Mystico loaded into the trailer perfectly. I was again amazed at how this horse could be so anxious at times when confined, yet he would walk into a trailer without a problem. It truly seemed he understood he had to get into this contraption to get away from the wrongness, and in order to be headed in the right direction.

I had decided to follow the horse trailer in my rental car until Mystico was on the next trailer, to ensure that transition went smoothly, and then I would fly home. I left a check for the balance of the board and rent for my stay at Alex’s. She wasn’t there to see me off. I sighed in relief as I followed the horse trailer down the driveway. I was finally going in the right direction too.

The trailer driver and I drove several hours and came to the location of the facility. The new driver was waiting there for the transfer of Mystico to his trailer. He had an unusual set up. He drove a large sort of semi-truck shaped trailer that was open inside with stalls three wide with slats separating the horses and flexible gate in front of their chest, and a tie for the halter. The man was abrupt and reserved; I could tell he didn’t do this for a living because he loved horses. I had misgivings about Mystico being tied that way between other horses, but the man said he did this all the time and he asserted it wouldn’t be a problem. It astonished me that after those weeks of being at Alex’s farm where Mystico was forbidden to even touch noses with another horse, that he would now be tethered in between other horses, regardless of gender, and hauled in a huge moving vehicle. All of this was new to me, a novice in the horse world, but I was learning it was a crazy mixed up world of how human’s handled horses.

Mystico was tense and seemed a bit anxious but that was understandable given all the abrupt changes I was asking him to negotiate, but amazingly he loaded fine again. As the trailer drove off I prayed for his safety and well being on his way home. Then I headed off to my hotel, for a night’s sleep before my flight.

Days later in Washington, Mystico was scheduled to arrive. My friend and I drove her trailer to go meet the transport. Mystico seemed a bit wide eyed as he transferred him down the steep ramp and into my friend’s trailer. The man then told me that Mystico hadn’t been his best customer in fact he had bitten him in the back when he was bent over in front of his partition. Visions of Cora’s bruised face came into my mind’s eye. It was frightening to think that Mystico was still so quick to bite. The man seemed to be ok, but I apologized profusely and paid him an extra big tip for his ordeal. I didn’t know what Mystico had gone through but given what I’d seen of his issues to date he had obviously not been a happy horse in that kind of confinement, and rightly so. Perhaps the man had been too rough with him and that wasn’t something I could delve into. Unfortunately it was the best way for getting him home.

Vera had made a strong recommendation that I have Mystico gelded before he came home. I had still planned on gelding him because I wanted him to live a happy life with his new herd and I didn’t plan on breeding him. I knew the vets said that it took at least three months for the hormones to subside so I knew sooner was better as far as allowing him freedom with the rest of the herd. The idea of gelding him after a long stressful trip before arriving home seemed like a bad idea to me, but she asserted that given his previous experience with the vet at Cora’s, that this way he wouldn’t experience any trauma once he arrived at the farm. I wanted to do as she recommended if that would prevent Mystico from being traumatized.

We made arrangements with my equine vet to drop by his clinic a half hour from my farm, to have Mystico gelded I liked and trusted my vet, and Mystico amazingly seemed very comfortable with him. I was surprised that he said he wanted to do the gelding outside on the grass instead of inside the stall area of his clinic. He said it was safe and clean to do the surgery with him laying on the grass. He was able to sedate Mystico without any problem, and he lay him down gently. It was such a contrast to the previous experience that I was lulled into a sense of the rightness of the situation.

After the surgery was over and Mystico was steady enough on his feet, we loaded in him what I hoped would be his last trailer ride home.

It was falling dusk when we drove in the driveway and the other horses gathered at the sound of a truck and horse trailer pulling into our quiet farm. Mystico stepped off the trailer and looked around groggily. He registered that there were other horses nearby but he was still recovering from the drugs and not able to process the situation. My husband greeted Mystico for the first time, and gave me a huge hug of congratulations as I cried tears of relief that the whole long ordeal, I thought, was over.

All of our horses lived together with adjoining run in sheds, but we had set aside a paddock to sequester Mystico while he healed from his surgery and so we could observe his behaviors with the other horses to make sure they all got along ok. We had built a small run in shed for him in his paddock. I checked on him a few times and fed him, talking to him about his new life. As darkness fell he began be more anxious and he started pacing. The vet had told me to restrict his movement for the first couple of days as he healed from the surgery. Unfortunately we didn’t have the set up for an enclosed stall. He began pacing and walking the fence. I was concerned that he was in pain and I called the vet to ask if there was anything we could do to help him and calm him. He said that other than the Bute he had given him after the surgery there wasn’t anything more to do. I felt so sorry and scared for him, and I blamed myself. I felt I should have followed my instincts and brought him to the farm with all of his faculties. Now he was confused, in pain, and in a strange place, and I was obviously no longer any comfort to him.

So once again, I put a halter on him, and I sat in a chair on the other side of his half shed wall as he tried to pace. I restricted him to the length of the lead rope as I had before, and I desperately tried to calm him and provide a steadying presence. At least this time as darkness fell I had a loving husband to bring me hot drinks and offer blankets and food while I withstood this latest storm of emotion. But Mystico had no such comfort. In his mind, he was in some lost world and the concept of “home” hadn’t yet entered his consciousness. I tried not to despair but it was very difficult. We had come a long way through many trials, and apparently they weren’t going to magically end the day we stepped foot onto our sanctuary.

He wasn’t in sight of the other horses and I was afraid if he could see them he would become more agitated. Thankfully as midnight approached, he began to calm down, and I was able to go into the cottage for some much needed rest. I tried to believe that all the signs I had seen that had led me to rescue Mystico in the first place would prove true. I hoped my love, my land, and my herd would help him become the free spirit he was meant to be. I hoped that the dawn would bring new beginnings.

Read Part 7 of Mystico’s story here

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