There are few greater joys in life than reuniting with a loved one after a long time apart. But that isn’t to say it’s a joy solely exclusive to humans.
For one heartbroken horse, reuniting with his soul mate was the happiest moment of his life as seen in the viral video.
Phoenix, a nine-year-old Warm Springs Mustang, managed to leap from the holding pen he and his family were in. But instead of galloping to freedom, Phoenix remained by his family’s side until captured and separated from them.
Founder and president of Skydog Ranch and Sanctuary, Clare Staples, saw and was moved by the iconic photo of Phoenix.
“I saw this photograph of Phoenix jumping over a barrier, and I never seen anything like that,” said Staples. “I decided to find and adopt him.”
Skydog Ranch and Sanctuary is a protected home with locations in Oregon and California, where both domestic and wild horses that are adopted and rescued can roam freely in peace.
A year later, Staples returned to the corrals and adopted Phoenix and brought him to Skydog’s 9,000-acre Oregon ranch.
Despite his newfound freedom and making new friends there, Phoenix was often found to be alone and constantly searching for his family.
Thankfully, Staples was able to find and bring most of Phoenix’s family to the ranch, except for a pale-colored mare often seen with the horse. Then, by luck, Staples found a picture of someone very familiar.
“A couple of months ago, someone sent me a picture of a horse, and I stop, and I looked,” said Staples. “I had this picture of Phoenix’s mare on one side and her picture on the other side.”
Staples noticed the same brown ears and brown fur reaching up to her knees upon a closer look and realized it was the same mare.
When Staples finally saw her in person, she decided to name her “Ghost” because she never thought she’d see her after two years.
“We waited a couple of weeks, and then we brought Ghost down, and we opened the gate. Phoenix was on the other side of the hill, but he heard her, and he came trotting over the hill.”
Staples filmed Phoenix and Ghost’s reunion as the two horses galloped towards one another, briefly stopped, then moved closer to lower their necks and embrace each other.
“I had tears pouring down my face because these wild horses have been separated for two years,” Staples said. “And at that moment, it was like they had never been apart.”
Since their reunion, Phoenix’s mood has greatly improved, and he and Ghost have remained inseparable.
The two horses remain by each other’s sides and continue to live at Skydog ranch to this day.
As for Skydog Sanctuary, they will continue their mission to provide a safe home for horses and reunite separated families.
“To wild horses, family is everything,” Staples said. “The bonds that they form are deep and precious. There isn’t any doubt that they know and love each other.”
Take a look at the heartwarming reunion between Phoenix and Ghost in the video below.
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