Our daughter, Wynn, has a horse. Those of you who know us or our daughter will not be surprised at that statement. She has had a horse or horses for most of her life. But let me unpack the statement a bit.

About two years ago she lost her twenty-something wonderful pinto Saddlebred mare to colic. A mare we had raised and trained and sold and she was able to repurchase for a low price. They enjoyed trail riding alone and with friends and Di (registered name Frostpoint) was the perfect American Saddlebred ambassador, beautiful and talented but eminently sweet and sensible.

So, we kept asking our daughter if we could help to find her another horse. She said she wasn’t ready. Too little time between work and kids and then Covid and homeschooling kids and trying to work from home. Last summer she resigned from her job, planning to totally homeschool her children and their best friends in partnership with their friends’ mother.

Then came August. Our 40- year- old active, slender, healthy daughter had a heart attack. SCAD—spontaneous coronary artery dissection resulted in a hole in her heart and the resultant heart attack. She spent several days in cardiac intensive care. From the time she came home until December, either her in-laws or we were there, cooking meals, teaching the kids, doing laundry etc. Our wonderful son-in-law was thankfully working from home.

Our daughter was prescribed many meds to keep her quiet and miserable while her heart healed. And since most heart doctors aren’t used to treating pre-menopausal women, blood thinners led to anemia.

Our daughter researched her condition, joined a SCAD survivor’s group and advocated for herself. By December, she was ready to exist without our help and take over the teaching and household duties, although still tiring easily. Covid made normal cardiac rehab impossible, but she was told to walk.

She began to search for a horse. In February she found a seven-year-old Saddlebred mare who had only been used for trail riding. After numerous conversations with the broker, a video and a search of the broker’s excellent reputation, she bought Gypsy Rose, sight unseen. Since Wynn wasn’t yet ready to take on horse care, we had her shipped to the barn where I teach and everyone who rode her loved her.

Last week, Wynn came down from Maryland to take Gypsy home. The mare backed politely off the trailer, looked at the swings waving wildly in the wind without a second thought and put her head down to graze. Wynn hasn’t yet started cardiac rehab but on the first day of Gypsy, her smart watch recorded 15,000 steps. Scattering hay in the paddock, checking on the mare, grooming her and bonding with her is the best therapy plan ever.