Prior to the beginning of the 2018 rodeo season, Joylyn fell off of our Arabian, Roxy. Roxy is the same horse she rode the year prior and we were looking forward to another summer of equestrian competition where Joylyn would learn to ride without someone holding a lead rope walking ahead of her. One day, her foot slipped out of the stirrup; she leaned too far forward and plummeted to the ground. While she was tough enough to get back on the horse, she felt extraordinary pain. A trip to the doctor revealed the reason: Joylyn had a broken arm.

We gave Joylyn time to recuperate, for her limb to heal. When she started riding again, something had changed. The brave girl who once wanted to run with her steed as fast as the wind was suddenly terrified of anything quicker than a leisurely walk. She struggled to hang onto hear reins and grew discouraged every time Roxy bent her head down to nibble on grass. The fun of horse riding was ebbing, replaced by tears and frustration. Joylyn lost her mojo. Something needed to change.

Enter the Shetland pony, a sweet little boy who was just the right size for Joylyn. The first time she saw the new pony, she told us it was exactly what she wanted. She was still a little timid getting back in the saddle, even with a smaller horse. Still, she mounted up, over and over again, growing more confident with each subsequent ride. Joylyn began the rodeo season on a lead rope, taking more control as the summer progressed. By autumn, the lead rope was no longer used and Joylyn was riding on her own.

Sad news came as winter snows melted and spring arrived. Mojo was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. He was given a prescription and we hoped for the best. Unfortunately, Mojo did not respond to medication. We took him to one final rodeo event where Joylyn took second place. After that, we did all we could to help him live as comfortably as possible.

As this last summer came to an end, it was clear Mojo’s health was deteriorating. It would be cruel to make him endure another winter. We made end of life arrangements and let him out of the pasture to freely graze on fresh grass. On Halloween, we said our final goodbyes and loaded him into the trailer. Annie drove him to a facility to be humanely euthanized.

There is a Shetland sized hole on our farm. Mojo helped Joylyn get her mojo back and now he’s gone. He wasn’t her first horse, but he will always be her favorite. She will ride bigger and faster horses as she gets older, yet Mojo will always have a special place in Joylyn’s heart.

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