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Dear Oppistal Team,

I came to Oppistal almost exactly one year ago.

I came not only physically broken, but my soul was crushed and emotionally I was a wreck. Why you ask? I had lost my precious filly, Storm Cloud, a mere two weeks before I came to visit the farm for the first time.

Upon arrival, the breathtakingly beautiful Appaloosa caught my eye, looking me straight in the eyes when I approached the paddock. I only now realise, that I believe Bright Ice "chose" that day, without anyone realising.

At the paddock I broke down, and sweet Doney immediately approached me. She gave me a sense of calmness, she made me feel (if only for a second), whole again. My husband, who witnessed all this, later insisted that I come back to this "family" that was already so special to me.

About one month down the road, Cinelle said I can choose between Diamond and the "dark horse" (at least to me), Bright Ice (now known as "my Icey Boy"). Without blinking, I immediately seized my chance on Ice.

Our road was not all rosey coloured... My very first time on his back, he bolted with me like you cannot believe. On many occasions, walking was all he gave me. Our first show was all give and take, but man, did he surprise me! We walked away, placing in every class we entered! Two thirds and a second!

The days went on and we had our days. With Ice there was no in between. You were either on the highest of highs, or you'd fall lower than you could ever imagine - BUT I WOULD NOT EVER TRADE THIS JOURNEY WITH MY ICEY BOY FOR ANYTHING IN THIS LIFE.

The last few weeks were both the best and worst time in my life - Ice is leaving. Transportation has been arranged and there is no way I can make him stay.

Before our last show, my Icey Boy had some difficulties with his legs. Without me knowing, Yolanda had a session with him, leaving the choice to compete all up to him due to his possible injurt. His response? "I will do anything for her (me)".

After an amazing first place win, Icey performing like an absolute superstar, Yolanda shared this with me. I cannot even express in words how much this love meant to me!

I am shattered that this remarkable animal is leaving, and if I had a way, I would let him stay.

For a long time, I did not want to accept he had to leave, and I was a wreck every time I saw him.

But on Sunday, 23 April, this changed. We had a photo shoot, so that I can capture my special boy forever in a picture.

While everyone was busy, I asked Robbie to capture me attempting a pair up (join up) with Ice. Now please know this, I am no animal communicator, therefore I do not know how this happened. After we paired up, and I turned around to him, a thought, almost an image (it was that clear) immediately entered my mind. It said that he had healed my heart and that it is was time to teach me to cope without him. He told me it was time to let go.

Writing this, sitting on a rock in the bushveld, I cannot stop crying. But I now know this, you meant more to me than life itself. I want to thank you my boy. You have indeed healed my heart. Letting go is not easy, but I know this is your final lesson you need to teach me. I hope with every ounce of my being, that one day you will return to my. Until then, farewell my Icey Boy. I will love you forever, please do not forget that!

I would like to thank the entire Oppistal family, but especially the following ladies who is always there to suport me through the greatest losses I have experienced this past year: Cinelle, Debbie, Yolanda, Maria, Alida and Ilse. I appreciate your support and unconditional love!

I would like to thank Bright Ice. You accepted me. You challenged me. You let me get close to you. You taught me to be patient. You taught me to accept.

But most of all, you loved me unconditionally.

All my love,

I've had my TB mare at Oppistal for a little under two months.  I can't believe the sense of peace in my girl that has developed in such a short time.  When I first went to view Oppistal I knew it would be the place for my horse.

The atmosphere is one of pure tranquility and love for the horese.  I have such gratitude for Yolanda and the team of fantastic grooms.  They have treated my horse as an individual, giving her the loving space she needs to heal her mind, while making sure she is as comfortable as she can be in her body.  Oppistal is certainly my place of peace and healing. 

Penny Irvine

Vet nurse

27 April 2020