Spirit recently spent a magical day with a very special visitor!
Scarlett Nguyen is a bright, kind and confident girl who just turned 8. She was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that will lead to total blindness and went from normal vision to legally blind in just six months. Scarlett was stable at that level of sight for about a year and a half, until recently.
Scarlett’s parents, Cindy and John, made the 270-mile drive from their home in Modesto, Calif., to RTF’s headquarters sanctuary in Lompoc, Calif., so that their daughter could meet Spirit while she had some vision remaining. Her brothers, Dylan and Luke, and her grandma, Michelle, also made the trip.
Scarlett’s passion is horses. She lives and breathes all things Spirit, right down to wearing a Spirit bow in her hair, and is a fan of wild horses, in general, even arranging her toy plastic horses into herds at “sanctuaries” in her home.
About a year ago, Scarlett rode a horse for the first time as a reward for all of the Braille lessons that she works so hard on.
“She always says she wants to be free, just like Spirit,” her mother, Cindy, told us.
During her family’s day at the sanctuary, Scarlett fed Spirit apples and even spent time with him without a halter. A Kiger mustang stallion, Spirit has always done well with children. He was gentle and sweet with Scarlett.
“We truly had an incredible experience,” Cindy wrote recently. “This was at the top of Scarlett’s bucket list. She will never forget her time at RTF with Spirit. She has talked about it every day since our trip. She has such a connection with Spirit, and it was wonderful for her to be able to actually feel him.”
Scarlett’s sunny personality and her courage made quite an impression on us, too. In addition to losing her sight, Scarlett has a heart condition called cardiomyopathy that nearly killed her. Her parents saw her heart flat line — and they’ve seen her fight her way back. Her heart is now functioning normally.
As ever, we remain thankful to DreamWorks Animation for choosing in 2002 to make our sanctuary Spirit’s home after he served as muse and model for the animators of “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and for DreamWorks’ continued support, like providing us with the toys that Scarlett took home to add to her collection.
Spirit, who will soon turn 27 years old, continues to touch the lives of people of all ages, drawing fans from around the world. We are grateful for each day that he’s with us and for the chance to share in joyful moments when wonderful people like Scarlett meet their hero.