Jayden Trueman thought she was going to a birthday party for her uncle on Saturday. As they pulled into the driveway in her grandmother’s van, a crowd of friends and family gathered around.
When she got out of the van, she was handed a phone, and told to watch a video, one about horses. As she watched – understandably confused by what was taking place – a loud neigh was heard behind her.
Jayden turned to see Bo, and burst into tears as she tightly hugged the horse.
Not only had her wish of owning her own horse been granted, this was Bo - the dark-brown standardbred she had fallen in love with while taking riding lessons.
“I’m so happy,” Jayden said, as she wiped tears from her eyes.
The surprise was arranged by the Nova Scotia chapter of Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. With help from RBC they bought Bo and supplied Trueman with a new helmet, riding boots, a saddle, a water trough and $1,000 to take care of food and vet bills for a year.
“This was her wish,” said Cheryl Matthews, provincial director of the Children’s Wish Foundation’s NS chapter.
“When we give an animal wish, we ensure the animal will be cared for once The Children’s Wish Foundation steps away.”
Jayden was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis when she was four, a condition that causes her immune system to attack her joints, causing swelling and pain.
The 12-year-old Upper Stewiacke girl wasn’t the only one crying Saturday, either.
"I can't even describe the feeling, I honestly can't. Beyond excitement,” said Jackie Snow, Jayden’s mother, as she started to tear up.
Jayden had begun taking riding lessons over a year ago, and quickly grew fond of Bo.
“She's very attached to him and he seems pleased with her,” said Jackie.
“She just got attached to him the first time she rode him. When we were on our way home from her first riding lesson, she said, ‘Mommy, I love that horse. I never want to ride another horse again.’”
Jayden’s’s condition is currently under control with medication, allowing her to ride horses and do things other kids do. But there were tough times.
“She had a rough go of it at the beginning, trying to get it under control,” said Jackie.
“It was hard because her joints swelled up. At first, she couldn’t really keep up with her siblings when playing because of the pain. It took around two years to get it under control, but now you wouldn’t be able to tell she has it.”
To keep her condition from limiting what she can do, Jayden is on two different medications, including a once-a-week needle her mother says is almost impossible to get her to take.
“Hopefully the horse will make getting the needle easier for her.”
Saturday’s reveal was an emotional one, leaving both Jayden and her family with tears of joy.
For Kim Sellars, the emotions were a little different.
“I’m feeling joy and sadness at the same time,” said Sellars, Bo’s original owner and Jayden’s riding instructor.
“It’s hard to get rid of him because he’s my family and getting rid of your family is not a nice thing to do. When I leave here today I will probably cry my eyes out, but I know he has a great home, and I am not too far away.”
While Sellars is reluctant to say goodbye to her beloved horse, Jayden is excited to have Bo as her own.
“It’s just his personality, he’s great. I love him so much.”