Aunt Bea:  On a mission

The Sheldon Mustang we call ‘Aunt Bea’ found her way to This Old Horse in a roundabout way with a few unsuccessful stops along the way. 

When Bea’s circumstances caught our attention, we didn’t have a perfect spot in mind for her but we were certain we would figure something out once she joined our family. She made herself at home in a paddock next to a blind (domestic) Haflinger mare named Kit who had been sadly separated from her lifetime companion and sister due to their owner’s hardship. 

We had hoped Kit would be a nice match with another blind Haflinger gelding whose buddy had died. And for a time, it seemed to be working until he started getting bossy with her. So she was moved to her own safe space—which happened to be next to Bea.

Bea is a wild Mustang and we were not inclined to consider pairing her with a domestic horse due to what we feared might be a clash of cultures. To our surprise, Bea took an avid interest in Kit across the fence. After a while, we opened their adjoining gates and cautiously watched as the wild, troubled Bea approached the vulnerable, timid Kit.

And then this happened. 

Bea found her calling. Rather than wild and troubled, we saw Bea’s true colors as a nurturing leader. She encouraged Kit to move and explore—to broaden her horizons while at the same time protecting and guarding her to make sure she was safe. Kit blossomed under her friend’s encouragement and both her health and condition improved remarkably. And so did Bea’s!

Success breeds success and when another blind mare—a domestic Appaloosa mare named Breeze—moved in next door to Kit and Bea, Bea took the same ‘over the fence’ interest in her. And then they were three. Now Bea was in charge of two blind, vulnerable mares and she seemed to thrive in the role. 

Another of the blind Hallelujah Horses moved next door to the trio and (by now you may have guessed) Bea wasted no time in welcoming Gypsy to her little band, as well. So we made the pen a little bigger and Gypsy joined the fun. 

The four of them are a compatible, adaptable, confident and healthy group of misfits, led by a kind, benevolent leader who found her way to exactly where she belongs. She gives them a safe world. And they give her a sense of purpose.

Busy Bea exudes an air of power and competence, energized by every visitor and any activity at the barn. Her companions calmly respond, knowing she will keep them safe and protected.

We wonder if Bea was a mother, if she had a band of mares that were her friends, if a separation from them might have been responsible for her poor adjustment following her rescue. Maybe she just needed what we all need: Someone to love, someone who loves us, and something to do. 

Regardless, Bea reigns supreme today. She is a leader, a guardian, a friend--and even her blind friends can see that just perfectly. 

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This Old Horse logo designed by Sue Shadow.  Principle photography on this site is by Toni Thomas.   Additional photography by Ronnie Hartman Images.