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Nearly 200 horses died in a drought last year. This mustang clung to life, and is now thriving

Mila is one of two foals who ultimately survived
Mila the Mustang.jpg
Mila the Mustang was rescued by Healing Hearts Animal Rescue
Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 00:40:38-04

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. — Two horses that were rescued from a deadly drought last year, are now thriving thanks to Phoenix-area rescuers.

Training a horse isn't easy work. Just ask Macy Zylstra, she's training her mustang, Mila, who was born in the wild.

"I'm training her by myself, so we'll see how it goes," Zylstra said. "But we're doing good so far. It's definitely, probably the most fun, but challenging part."

One-and-a-half-year-old Mila is full of personality. But she was found in a much different state.

In May 2018, a watering hole on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona had turned to mud. Nearly 200 horses were found dead.

Three foals, who were just a few weeks old, were found clinging to life. Mila was one of them.

Healing Hearts Animal Rescue out of Cave Creek rescued the three foals. One of them didn't make it.

Zylstra, 24, says she's always had a passion for horses. She grew up riding in the Phoenix area, and leased a horse in Tucson while she attended the University of Arizona.

She never owned her own horse, until she saw a picture of Mila.

"Instantly, it was just the cutest little picture I've ever seen of a horse," Zylstra said. "And I fell in love. I said, 'I need this horse, no matter what."

Zylstra adopted Mila in September 2018. She started sharing pictures and videos of her, on Instagram.

It wasn't long before the account dubbed "Mila the Mustang" captured the hearts of people worldwide. Posts often gain thousands of views, and the account has nearly 5,000 followers.

"I get messages in Dutch, and different languages," Zylstra said. "it's really cool. They're also very inspired by the story."

For the first time since the two horses were found alive, they were reunited on Oct. 18 in Cave Creek. Mila met Molly, who was adopted by Susie Pomatto, a Healing Hearts rescuer. Both are now thriving.

"We have two healthy, happy babies," Pomatto said.

Getting Mila to where she is today took a lot of time. But Zylstra, who owns another rescue horse, says it's all been worth it.

"Even in school, I rode at least once a week before I had my own horses," Zylstra said. "But it's something that you just are passionate about, so you'll make time for it."