You never forget a special horse. Michelle Postma certainly never forgot Ballo, a horse from her childhood.
“He was literally my best friend in high school,” Michelle told WFLA.
But when Bryan and Michelle left for college, Ballo was sold. For the next 16 years, he passed through several different homes, eventually suffering from neglect. But Michelle didn’t know anything about his whereabouts, and often wondered what became of him.
Earlier this month, Ballo was surrendered to Fallen Oak Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation in Ocala, Florida, and placed in a foster home to recover. Although he was emaciated and had apparently not received adequate food or water in some time, there was one fortuitous detail. His papers and other clues from his past were still with him, including one photo from the Paso Fino Grand National Championship many years ago.
The rescue posted the photo on its Facebook page, and as luck would have it, someone eventually recognized the rider in the photo: a young Bryan Postma. A friend alerted Bryan to the photo and Ballo’s current status.
Once the couple had contacted the rescue and had a chance to reunite with their old friend, Michelle posted the story on her Facebook page:
Bryan waited til I got home to tell me the news. He knew I would be upset and didn’t want to tell me over the phone at work. Needless to say I was way more than upset, my heart instantly shattered into a million pieces. This was the horse of my dreams, he was the sweetest, kindest horse that I spent endless hours riding and playing around in the pasture. Yesterday was by far the worst day of my life, I was angry for what someone did to him, so saddened by what I saw, guilty for not fighting harder to keep my best friend with me and terrified by the thoughts of how this was going to end up….
We went to see him at the foster home today and he looks just as bad as the pictures show. The good news is aside from being malnourished, starved, slightly anemic and covered in ticks he is in good spirits. We got to spend time with him today which gave us hope that he will stay strong and pull thru. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will continue to heal and be strong enough to come home with us in a few weeks. We never thought this would happen to us and never in a million years to my beloved horse. We can’t thank the rescue enough for picking him up and reaching out to try to find us. And we will never be able to express our gratitude to his foster mom for loving him as much as we do and taking such good care of him on his road to recovery.
Ballo is now 25. He’s extremely skinny, but otherwise healthy. And he now has a home for life with the couple who loved him when they were teenagers.
“I’m most grateful because I may have never gotten him back,” said Michelle. “Things work out in mysterious ways. We’re just happy to have him back.”