Anna + Leda
Color Dark Bay
In 2012 I was a working student at a local hunter/jumper and dressage barn. A new boarder had come in with a hot and sensitive OTTB mare named Leda. She had been off the track for some time and had transitioned into an eventing career with her prior owner. She showed up to the Preliminary level. She was an awesome horse, but too much for the young girl that she had been bought for. The owners at the time had decided to try to sell her to a very experienced rider (due to her level of training and sensitivity) or they would try to sell her as a broodmare. At the time, I was riding a few other OTTB’s at that barn and I had seemed to work well with them so my instructor offered for me to ride Leda. Up for the challenge, I jumped at the chance to ride her and I am so happy that I did. We clicked almost immediately. I was offered to buy her, but unfortunately my parents and I decided against it, as I was about to be moving to Ohio for college.
At the time, I had no idea how I would be able to balance riding the school’s horses, going to classes and finding time to ride my own horse. Then there was the task of bringing her back and forth when I would go home for the summer. I didn’t think it would be fair to her. I continued to ride her for several months and I enjoyed every ride. Not long after that I changed barns… but I never forgot about that hot and sensitive mare. I went to college for two years and then made the decision to become a barn manager at a barn. A year after working there, I returned to my hometown and became a Massachusetts licensed instructor and started working at a local lesson barn teaching dressage and low level eventing. I had a great teaching job but no horse for myself to ride. I started looking at local rescues.
I couldn’t afford an expensive “made” horse, but I could afford a young green horse or better yet, a rescue horse. I’ve always adopted dogs, so why not the same with a horse? Why not give them a better life and a forever home? While looking online, I came across an ad for an OTTB mare… named Leda. I remember staring at the computer screen in shock when I saw the photo attached to the ad. It was LEDA. I called my fiancé and told him… and as soon as I hung up the phone, I emailed the rescue and told them my story. The rescue was so excited; Leda had been adopted out TWICE and returned both times. No one ended up being able to click with her. So, the next week I went to go visit her. She needed weight and attention to her hooves… but she was healthy and still the same sensitive mare I remembered her to be. I came to ride her 3 times and the last time, I signed the adoption contract, loaded her on the trailer and brought her home for good.
She has been home with me for over a year and I am so grateful to have found her again. From the first time I rode her almost 6 years ago, she’s always been the right horse for me. We went to two dressage schooling shows this past summer and we came home with only blue ribbons as well as a high point ribbon. She has a dressage only career now and she seems to really enjoy it. My goal for this year is to finish getting my remaining USDF Bronze Medal scores with Leda. She’s in her upper teens now but she’s healthy and gaining muscle and topline. It’s my dream to get my scores with my forever horse; but even if that doesn’t happen, she’s still the right horse for me and I am so grateful to have her in my life.
What #RightHorse means to me
To me, #RIGHTHORSE means finding the right horse for the right rider… by starting with rescue horses. There are so many rescue horses that get over looked by people with expansive budgets. While the high dollar horses may be wonderful, there are so many fantastic dressage, eventing, hunter/jumper and western horses that end up at rescues and get overlooked simply because they are at a rescue. Not all rescue horses are emaciated with health problems. There are so many former lesson horses, show horses, and my favorite, Off the Track Thoroughbreds with so much potential. There is the right horse for everyone, and the search for a horse should ultimately begin with adoption.