Nova Scotia

'I had no clue': Upper Stewiacke girl granted wish for her own horse

The Children's Wish Foundation presented Jayden Trueman, who has a form of juvenile arthritis, with a horse Saturday.

'She loves him. She does, she loves him,' says girl's riding instructor

Jayden Trueman, 12, was emotional when her wish of owning her own horse came true Saturday. (Emma Davie/CBC)

A young girl from Upper Stewiacke, N.S., was doubly grateful Saturday when a national children's charity made her wish for her very own horse come true.

The Children's Wish Foundation not only provided 12-year-old Jayden Trueman a dark-brown Standardbred, it turned out to be Bow — a horse she's been riding for the last year.

"I had no clue," Trueman said through tears. "I've ridden a few other horses, but he's my favourite out of all of them."

Juvenile arthritis diagnosis

When she was just four years old, Trueman was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It's a medical condition characterized by inflammation in five or more joints and most commonly affects the knees, wrist and joints of the hands and feet.

It was a scary moment for the whole family and a big learning curve, said Trueman's mother, Jackie Snow.

Jackie Snow said her daughter had no idea her new horse would be Bow, the Standardbred she's been riding all year. (Emma Davie/CBC)

"It's hard because it's her joints swelling and stuff like that," she said.

"At first, she was limited ... but since they've had it under control, you'd never know there was anything wrong with her."

The foundation's Nova Scotia chapter organized Saturday's event. The organization grants wishes to Canadian children between the ages of three and 17 who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness

'She's very attached to him'

Snow said her daughter has been riding horses since she was very young, but developed a special bond with Bow.

"She's very attached to him and he seems pleased with her. She goes and hollers for him, and he does come to her."

Jayden Trueman was quick to jump on her horse, Bow, for a quick ride. (Emma Davie/CBC)

To maintain the surprise, Trueman's riding teacher Kim Sellers, also Bow's former owner, told the girl the horse wasn't for sale.

"She had it in her head — because somebody had let the cat out of the bag — that he was going somewhere so she thought I was selling him to somebody," Sellers said. 

"For a couple days now, and on her way here, that's all she could talk about. I think it's rather amusing that she had no idea."

An emotional reveal

On Saturday, Trueman's friends distracted her while the horse was brought out.

After turning around, she realized instantly the horse was Bow and burst into tears. She hugged the horse for several minutes and cried, a mixture of relief and happiness.

It was an emotional day for the whole family. Snow was also in tears.

"I can't even describe the feeling, I honestly can't. Beyond excitement...she had no idea whatsoever," Snow said.

"This is Bow's home. His permanent home."

Jayden Trueman stands with her new horse, Bow, and Bow's former owner, Kim Sellers. Sellers is also Trueman's riding instructor. (Emma Davie/CBC)

The decision was a bittersweet one for Sellers, who described Bow as a part of her family. But she knows he'll be well looked after.

"She loves him. She does, she loves him," Sellers said.

Plans to ride competitively

​Trueman said riding horses brings her happiness and joy.

She hopes now that she has a horse of her own, she can start competing.

This makes her mom slightly nervous, but she said her daughter is "very determined."

"She's constantly asking me, 'When can I go for my next riding lesson?'"