Milo the Magical Unicorn is a gregarious gelding who genuinely believes that he is a real unicorn. Meet him and you'll agree!
A symbol of fantasy and grace, the unicorn has been a creature of legend since ancient times. Present in folklore and still seen in modern fiction, they possess a magical horn, healing capabilities…and then there is Milo. Milo’s origin story is no myth, but rather a dark horse who ekes ahead not only to win the race, but win the hearts of many.
Milo is an Azteca, a breed typically used by charros. In this case used – and abused – by them. By age four Milo had already suffered eye damage as a result of being seriously beaten on the head by his first owner. In a karmic turn of events, his original owner skipped town to avoid paying for Milo's board, abandoning Milo at a riding stable in Southern California.
By California law, an abandoned animal that has incurred debt can be sold to just about anyone, resulting in some being sent to “quick sale” auctions. Here they can be potentially sold to be slaughtered as meat for dog food across US borders. As grim as his fairy-tale could have been, Milo was spared this fate. The stable owner took note of his form and friendly disposition and rather than send him to auction, Milo was listed for a more lucrative public sale.
While Milo used his charms to win over his temporary keepers, a horse trainer stumbled upon his ad. She was the protégée of a British Horse Society Chief Examiner, a certification program for horse training that is founded on fairness and patience in training. She believed that a horse with a great mind and body can do just about anything. His photo caught her attention, and thus she made an appointment to meet Milo.
She first encountered Milo while he was putting in community service hours with his fellow horses in a river bed. Horse community service entails hauling trash bags while their eco-conscious riders pick up trash polluting the river beds. This is no glamorous task, seeing as it is quite literally a stinking job, with clanging and rustling items hanging from the horses’ backs. Milo did not seem to mind however, nor did he pay attention to the noisy dirt bike riders or hikers going by. He relished in the company of people while simultaneously helping the environment.
Sold! She took in the Azteca – despite specializing in three day eventing, which the breed is not known for – and taught him to run across different terrain, jump poles, and build up muscles through dressage. After a few years Milo grew in strength and in popularity; he was the life of the party. His silly personality made him an instant hit with people, so his trainer employed him as a school horse for new riders.
Although Milo happily adapted to his new surroundings and lifestyle, he preferred to not be “shared” among different humans and being one of several horses. This feisty soul strived to be the sole star in his own show. Recognizing this, despite AND because his trainer adored him so, she began the arduous search of finding him the perfect home. Ultimately, she just wanted him to be happy and recognized for being the unique soul that he is. After consulting a horse psychic (because in a world where unicorns exist, so are horse psychics necessary for consultation), it was concluded that what Milo craved most was to be an event horse – not an eventing horse – but one that the masses would fall in love with and fawn over. Offer after offer, his trainer felt at a loss for no one being quite the right fit. To complicate matters, bad work by a farrier resulted in the entire barn of horses being rendered temporarily lame, Milo included.
Who would buy a lame horse? Here is who: a woman – who just like Milo – was searching for and eagerly awaiting their perfect match. Someone who is an experienced rider searching across the entire U.S.A. for a special horse for nearly a year. On the brink of giving up, she placed a “horse wanted” ad on Facebook as a last resort. 15.2 hands in height. Grey. Azteca. Gelding. English trained. Silly personality. It was a long shot.
Milo’s trainer saw the ad. Despite Milo being lame, she too took a shot in dark. “You’re going to think I’m crazy,” she wrote, “but I think I have your horse.” As the fates would have it, the two women and Milo lived within minutes of each other. A meeting was arranged. The rest of the story could be chocked up to a real live fairy-tale – just as magical as a unicorn can be. The women became good friends, sharing the common love of Milo, the soon to be magical unicorn. Once fully healed, Milo got what he always wanted. He moved into his very own home with a palatial view all to himself and his every need attended to. His new owner also got what she had always wanted: her very own special horse for Christmas. And now, children across Southern California now have the opportunity to get what they have always wanted: the chance of meeting a real life unicorn.
Milo not only brings delight to every path he crosses, but also illustrates how important it is to be kind to animals. Once alone, abused, and abandoned, he is now treated to carrot popsicles during the hot summer heat and warm, fluffy, blankets in the cool winter nights with people who absolutely adore him. While the gregarious Azteca is still working on his grace, this silly horse surely does capture the fantastical aspect of unicorn lore for ALL of Southern California’s benefit.
Birthday: January 1, 2008
Height: 15.2 Hands (about 5'1" tall)
Gender: Gelding (neutered male)
Favorite Food: Carrots