Mabel had the deepest voice for a lady. It always made me smile when I heard her neigh. She had the most beautiful coat I had ever seen - black, brown, white, grey and reddish, a coat of many colors. I think that's were she got her spunk - from her red hair. It grew shaggy thick in winter and shed in spring. It wasn't love at first sight for Mabel with me. She stood in her barnyard and studied me as I went about the barnyard talking to the rest of the animals. But I missed one weekend and as I was approaching the barn, she was neighing for me to come to see her and just like that - soulmates for eternity. She loved to be outside in all kinds of weather and while I once tried to dry the rain off her back with a towel, she immediately backed up with the weight of a small towel upon her. I guess it was akin to a saddle which she would never wear. She preferred to experience nature in all of its finest, no matter the weather. She loved to have the fresh snow flakes fall upon her back. She was an all natural girl. I admired Mabel. we were both the same height although her legs were much sturdier than mine. She loved to be in the sun, no day was too hot for her. She was tiny for a horse but mighty in spirit. Although some refer to her as a pony with her shorter height, she was all horse and proud to be wild. We identified with each other, our spirits love to run high on endorphins. She instinctively knew my love for her was real. As I broke apart her alfalfa in flakes, she would lean in close and smell my hair. Such a precious, gentle soul who I often referred to as Ma'Belle, the Grandmother of the farmyard.
Mabel was a Wild Sable Island Horse. In the 1970's a stud and two mares were released from life at Sable Island to come back home to live in Nova Scotia. Mabel was the foal of two of these horses. While she had never lived on Sable or been there, neither had I. One may argue she wasn't still wild living at Two Rivers Wildlife Park but wild she was. She was free in spirit and nothing was going to change that about her. It made me love her all the more with all her spunk, wit and vigor.
Mabel made me wonder about our history, our heritage, our culture gone by. In the 1755's when the British and French were at war for this great land now known as Nova Scotia, the Acadians were expelled under an Expulsion Order of the British. Not only were French Acadians removed from this land and shipped by sea but so too were their horses which have now come to be known as the infamous Wild Sable Island Horses. Mabel taught me a lot about freedom, spirit and tolerance of others. She helped me teach others about Acadians and her ancestors still at Sable Island. She even helped me teach people who were scared of horses how to relax and come to feed her the sweetness of nature's finest green grass as she pawed the ground with her hoof in a "pick me some green grass please" motion as she neighed approval. It always worked for her as she had the best of charm.
Life was good for Mable. She was a lucky lady. Had she lived on Sable Island she would have been lucky to reach the age of 6 let alone the rip old age of 36 she lived to be at Two Rivers Wildlife Park. Although she didn't have to worry about food or shelter, she never forgot how to be herself, how to stand proud and how to belong in nature. We often stood together, side by side in the barnyard, and listened to the wolves on the other side of the Park howl messages out to all. Her natural ability to do horse yoga also was of great advantage to her. Being limber and able to feel comfortable is a horse's passion. She taught me much about horse language, she being a master teacher. She even made friends with Bud, the handsome and mighty Black Percheron that he is. I'm not sure if it was her charm or his that brought them together, likely both.
Now that Mabel is no longer with us in this physical world, I feel like her presence was a dream. Was she now just a fable? I miss my time with Mabel, a connection to my past, my heritage, my culture. As the winds blow, I know that Mabel has returned to the shores of Sable Island to be with her family. She will never be forgotten as I long to spend time with another Wild Sable Island Horse and teach others of our Acadian culture so unique. May the memory of Mabel from the ancestors of Sable who stood in the stables at Two Rivers Wildlife Park never become a fable. Let us rejoice in our past and come forward together. And while the horses on Sable Island never hear the howl of a wolf, Mabel and I both felt safe in this world standing side by side in the barnyard intertwined in our pasts froth with conflict of the war gone past yet content to look to the future with love in our hearts.
Maria Lisa Polegatto
Rest In Peace Mabel (1979- January 6, 2016)