Burma’s True Love is a story about a young girl named Megan Chance who fell in love with a thoroughbred horse named Burma. Burma was tall, spirited, and a joy to behold, but she was difficult to handle due to her high-strung nature and tendency to colic. Megan decided to adopt Burma, and they were inseparable for six years.
Megan enrolled at Meredith Manor Equestrian College in West Virginia and later worked at the New Jersey stables of famed Olympian equestrian Frank Chapot. When Megan decided to travel across the country with her friend Katie Gaylor, she had to find someone to take care of Burma. Megan contacted a stable owner who agreed to pay Burma’s costs and keep the foal.
In 2004, Megan dropped Burma off at a stable in New York and signed a handwritten contract. She found her happy and well-cared for, and she agreed to leave her at the stable for up to a year longer so the breeder could try for another foal.
In 2005, Burma miscarried again, and Megan panicked when her phone calls were disconnected. She tried to find the breeder online but left no trace. Megan’s mother reminded her that Burma likely died giving birth, and Burma was gone. The story sheds light on the equine industry and the devotion of a horse’s young owner.
Six years ago, two beautiful thoroughbred mares, t-47 and t-38, were found in the feedlot pen, also known as the “kill pen,” at the weekly horse auction in Cranbury, New Jersey. Annette Sullivan, a horsewoman, was unsure of how the horses could end up in the pen. She decided to rescue them and paid $325 for both. The horses were identified as Burma’s Lady and Ready to Cry, with Lady being the 15-year-old granddaughter of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and Ready to Cry being her protector and muse.
The horses were found to be healthy and in good shape, but their teats were maiden and had never given birth. Sullivan contacted All-D-Reiterhof Farm, which operates a federally approved quarantine station where imported stallions are tested for contagious equine metritis (CEM). For at least five years, Lady and Anna were used as test mares, bred over and over by foreign-born stallions entering the country.
Armin Wagner, who owns the farm, was horrified to learn that the horses were alive and that the farm had sent them to slaughter. However, equine experts and veterinarians associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which mandates and oversees the program, said the mares are well cared for to ensure the disease is kept out of the country.
Twelve-year-old Haley McNulty fell in love with a horse named Lady, who had been promised to her by her parents for her 13th birthday. Haley was moved by Lady’s sweet-natured personality and the story she had been through. Haley started riding Lady regularly, baking oatmeal cookies, and visiting her almost every day. Sullivan, the stable owner, had doubts about Lady’s health, as she looked pregnant. A vet confirmed Lady’s pregnancy in late September, and Sullivan worried that Lady might not make it due to her compromised uterus and toxic placenta.
Megan Chance Adams found Lady alive in October, and she called Sullivan to tell her about her rescue and her dangerous pregnancy. Sullivan assured Megan that Lady was safe and well, but also shared the story of her horse Burma. Over the next week, Megan and Sullivan talked about the contract with the farm in New York state and the guilt she felt for letting her horse down.
On October 26, Burma went into labor, and Sullivan and the vet tried to present it to Burma, but she didn’t want to know. Sullivan went to Anna’s stall to comfort Burma, and she and Megan were anxiously waiting for the placenta to expel soon. About 24 hours after the birth, Sullivan messaged Megan, and Burma had pulled through once again.
Megan, a horse trainer, was about to see her rescued mare, Burma, for the first time in six years. Burma was grazing in Connecticut when Megan called her, and she was terrified. Burma remained in the barn, trying to remember the events that had happened. Megan and her husband, Sullivan, agreed that Burma would stay through the holidays and move to North Carolina in the New Year. Burma would have a warm stall, companions, and hay at the Lazy A, a pleasure horse farm.
Megan’s shipping company, Horsefeathers, was once owned by Kim Martin, a horse trainer in Warwick, N.Y. Martin had a different recollection of her deal with Megan, who gave the horse to her friend Wagner after running into legal and financial difficulties in 2005. Despite this, Megan’s husband and family members watched her suffer over the loss of her horse.
At midnight on January 11, Burma was home, and Sullivan watched the homecoming on her computer in Connecticut. After a series of exchanges, Cheryll Frank of Georgetown, Ky., confirmed that Burma’s Lady was actually Burma’s True Love, four years older than her half-sister, Burma’s Lady. Megan, who had only ever called her horse Burma, couldn’t care less about her horse’s name or lineage.