Christy + Hope
Breed Tennessee Walker
When we decided it was time to get a horse that we could ride, I knew exactly what I wanted: a 14-hand gaited gelding, preferably a paint, anything but black. I searched and searched through local ads and online for the perfect horse. I made contacts on a few, but just couldn’t bring myself to go see them. My brain knew they were perfect, but I couldn’t get my heart excited.
I started following kill pens, and knew those were the horses needed to be saved. But I was so confused by the contradiction knowing that the people who put them in the slaughter pipeline were the same ones asking for money to get them out. I began looking into the possibility of adoption, and through the ASPCA website found the Right Horse initiative and a participating shelter six hours away in Tennessee. I was intrigued by a mare quarter horse and my husband and I hooked up the trailer and headed up to get her.
The adoption specialist knew that I had a history and love of gaited horses, so she brought out Hope. She was a 15-hand, black mare who had been surrendered in an emaciated condition. She had improved with their veterinary care, but was still severely underweight. I said I would try her out.
The quarter horse mare and I just didn’t click, and when I spent time with Hope, the only thing I knew for sure was that I couldn’t drive away and leave her there. She wasn’t perfect, but neither was I. A week later she shook me off while I was picking her hoof and severely dislocated my thumb. Now I had an underweight, nervous, intimidatingly-tall horse that had injured me. I began to wonder if I had made a mistake. And that’s when Hope became my Right Horse. As I nursed my injury, I began to spend time just talking to her, brushing her, watching her eat, and I began to notice all the things that were so great about her. Like how she will back up on command when we bring in her food, lower her head into a halter, and stand quietly to be groomed. I realized that it was going to take time and patience to gain one another’s trust. And we have. It’s been a couple of months now and Hope has improved both mentally and physically. Best of all, through our experience together we’ve come to make a great team.