Haley + Peaches

by | Jul 2017 | Story

I’m going to graduate this semester with a Bachelor’s in computer science and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. I’m moving to Manhattan at the end of this summer to work as a software engineer for a tech company. I’ve had horses my entire life. When I first started riding, I took lessons at a reining barn, and then I switched to English so I could ride on the UT equestrian team. I currently have two horses. Thumper is a 14-year-old palomino quarterhorse gelding I’ve had for eight years now. Peaches is a paint mare I’ve had for about a year. They’re both coming with me when I move! I plan on keeping them near Manhattan in New Jersey. This is my story.

Last year I started seeing these Facebook groups dedicated to trying to find homes for horses that were on their last stop on the way to Mexico. I had been wanting another horse to train from the beginning, but as most people, I didn’t know if I was ready for another one. I found horses I liked on the Facebook pages, but I always waited until the last day to make sure they really needed a home. After watching several of the horses I wanted be saved by other people, I came across one that I kept an eye on. On the last day, when she was going to be shipped, nobody had bought her so I made the call and bailed her out. She was eight hours from where I live, and when I made the trip out, she was in much worse condition than the pictures had let on. She had two clubbed feet, was skinny as they come, and we could barely get her in the trailer because she almost didn’t have enough energy to step into it. We gave her hay and water, and she immediately started eating, which was a good sign, but we still had an eight-hour drive to get back home.

Our first stop was the vet. At her appointment the next morning, we found that she had pneumonia and strangles, which meant she couldn’t stay at the vet. They didn’t want to take the chance of her infecting any of the other horses The person I planned to board her with was gracious enough to let me bring her there since she didn’t have any horses living there at the time. We began feeding her five times a day and mixing vegetable oil in her food to get her weight back up. She was on medication for the pneumonia and strangles. She was also getting her hooves trimmed much more frequently than normal to try to gradually get her clubbed feet closer to a normal angle. The best news was when the vet told me I could finally treat her like a “normal horse.” I broke and trained her myself starting last fall, and I’ve never worked with a horse that tries so hard. She learns extremely fast, and I love showing off what a great of a horse she has turned into. I took a huge chance that not everyone thought was the best idea at the time, but I absolutely think it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

This is what “right horse” means to me.
Horses have as many personalities as humans – from lazy to energetic, affectionate to stand offish, competitive to apathetic. To me, the right horse means finding a horse that has the same goals as you and is happy doing the things you want. There are reasons, other than the way a horse is built, that certain horses excel at different tasks. The horse has to enjoy what it’s doing, and this has to match with what you want. If you want to compete in the jumpers, then a horse with a lot of energy is probably right for you. If all you want to do is enjoy a leisurely trail ride, then you’ll want a horse that is a little more “bomb proof” and calm. Whether your goals lead to intense training for competitions or if you just want a sweet pet whose company you enjoy, there is certainly a horse that will match those needs. You just have to find your right one.




  1. Mary Owen

    I loved reading yiur story Haley. You and Peaches are lucky to have found each other!

  2. Karen

    Thank you for sharing your courageous story, Haley. I’m so proud that you did what others couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Wishing the two of you many happy years ahead.


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