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Shared Feelings
By Jodi Levanger

Through the years, my 10-year-old daughter has proven to be quite the horsewhisperer. And there is no story as amazing as the bond she has with her Arabain mare, Misty.

We decided last March to find a horse for Carli to show in 4H events and open horse shows. So, I got on the Internet and went searching. I found an Arabian and contacted the person to make an appointment to see her.

When we got there, the mare was in very bad shape. She was skin and bones and looked to be on her last leg. Carli begged us to buy the horse anyway. So with our hearts, and not our heads, we brought her home. Carli took over the care of the animal and spent countless hours with her, nursing her back to health. The bond between them was instant. Misty actually danced around when she saw Carli coming to see her. We have joked with Carli that she can talk to and understand Misty and Carli's responce has always been, "Yes I can." And it seemed that she could.

If Misty would act up with any of us, Carli would talk to her and she would calm right down and do what she was supposed to do. And Misty seemed to know when Carli was in a bad mood or hurting for whatever reason. Last week she proved that point.

Carli woke me up in the middle of the night with a very bad stomach ache. I got up with her and spent the night with her. At 4am, Carli finally settled down and went to sleep. That morning, my husband went to feed the horses before going to work. Later, when he called me from work, he told me that I had better head to the barn because Misty had colic, and wouldn't eat. She was laying down and had a hard time getting up. We were very concerned because she was recently bred.

I woke up Carli to tell her that I was going to the barn to see the horses. I got to the barn and found Misty laying down, and groaning. I got her to her feet, and took her for a walk to see if I could walk the colic out of her. While walking, Carli called me on my cell phone to see why I wasn't home yet, and to ask me how Misty was doing. I was suprised to hear her ask that and asked her why she thought she was sick. Carli's response was, "She is sick for me."

I really didn't know how to answer, so I just told Carli she was doing better. I put her back in the barn and called Carli and told her I was coming home. After about an hour, Carli got sick again. I took care of her and then something told me to head to the barn again.

Sure enough, I got to the barn and Misty was down again. So, we went walking again. Carli called again and this time I started putting two and two together. I told Carli to talk to Misty and tell her that she was fine, so she should get better too.

I am not sure what Carli told her when I held the cell phone to Misty's ear, but the horse never moved a muscle while listening to Carli. When Carli was done, I walked Misty back to the barn, and came home again. I never did ask Carli what she told Misty. But they both were well the rest of the day, and have had no more episodes since.

You hear of stories where dogs or cats know when their owner is sick or sad, but this is the first time I had seen a horse tuned in so much to their owner that they actually feel their sickness with them. In telling this story to people in our area, I get mixed responses. Some say it is coincidence, but I don't think so.

I think that the bond between them is so strong they are connected in a way that we will never understand. Carli made a promise to Misty the day we brought her home that she would never be sold to anyone or ever be hungry again. And we intend to keep that promise.

-- Jodi Levanger, levanger@allwest.net