caliente: the horse who followed us home

mustang rescued from Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue

· rescue,horse stories,equine learning,horse magic,second chances

In October 2012, the Pery family went to "check out" Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue. What that really meant for the Perys is that we visited with the intention of adopting horses.

We were given a tour and invited into a pasture of mustang geldings. When you are new to being in a herd of horses, especially wild horses, it can be unnerving. At first, the more confident horses will come up to you and then, all of a sudden, they are all swarming. Sometimes they move fast, you know, like horses do. Out of the herd, a black horse walked right up to Rafe. They connected immediately. When we left the pasture, he followed us to the gate and kicked at it telling us he wanted to come too.

Every time we’d meander back towards that pasture and glance over, the black horse was at the gate. We joked that he was trying to come home with us.

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This is the first day that we met Angi. When we asked her about the black horse, she looked at us and said "not that horse." Not Caliente. We learned that Caliente is extremely sensitive and prone to reaction and tended to rear up and strike when reacting - definitely and most certainly not for a beginner. But there was definitely something there.

We went back another time to see if our connection was real or just a fluke. It wasn't a fluke.

A volunteer named Graham took us out into the pasture to see if we could find the black horse.

Imagine you’re in an airport parking lot trying to find a specific black car you’ve seen once somewhere in a lot of hundreds of cars, many of them black.

We sorted through the herd, not exactly remembering the details of Caliente’s markings. Trying to find him was like trying to find a needle in a haystack (which I’m sure the horses would have loved!). We split up in the herd, Rafe, Jake and Graham on one end, Ellie and me at the other.

We were beginning to give up and Ellie and I started to walk back across the pasture to meet up with the guys. Two horses were following closely behind but still keeping a respectable distance.

I took this picture, teasing about how sneaky the horses were. Oooh, we can’t see you but we still see your shadows silly horses.

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We rejoined the guys as Rafe was zooming in on a photo he took of Caliente to show Graham, trying to find something that would distinguish him from the others. One identifying feature was a snip of white on the tip of Caliente’s nose.

The sneaky horses had followed Ellie and me and were peering over our shoulders like they were also looking at the zoomed in photo of a horse on Rafe’s iPhone.

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As we looked up from the phone and back at the horses that tailed us, we recognized the white snip. Caliente had followed us across the pasture to reconnect with Rafe! It was him.

Every time Caliente found Rafe they felt that same intense connection. When other horses got too close to our family, he chased them away to keep us safe.

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If you spend enough time with horses, there comes a time where you have to admit to yourself that things that seem totally unexplainable are, in fact, real.

Caliente came home with us in April 2013.