2003 Buckskin Quarter Horse mare
Willow is a 13 year old 15.2H Buckskin Quarter Horse mare. She is as sweet and gentle as they make them. She was started as a 2 year old on a ranch out west. As a 3 year old she was sold in the ranch production sale to a man in Vermont where she was abused and starved. He and his “Trainer” (we use that word lightly) traumatized this mare in the arena trying to make her a Gymkhana horse. He taught her to go full throttle by spurring her and would stop by jerking on the reins and spinning.
Willow’s story doesn’t stop there. She was found in deplorable conditions along with several other horses. She was part of a state seizure and ended up at The Hooved Animal Sanctuary in Chelsea, Vermont. They started working with her and made great progress. Deb Baker at H.A.S. along with Peter Healy of Follow My Lead Horsemanship had great patience and was able to get Willow started in her retraining efforts. Willow was able to progress in the trot and do a little bit of cantering. She went from being terrified of any leg pressure or mouth contact, to learning to relax and move forward without having to run. Dealing with her anxiety and managing her stress has been a top priority. Deb wanted to continue the training over winter, but did not have the facilities to do so. That’s where we came in.
Horses with Hope continued her training through the winter as part of a fostering project with The Hooved Animal Sanctuary. Willow and Scooter will be with us until the end of May when they will be returned to Vermont. Willow is now accepting the leg contact and has great ground manners. She is happiest our of the arena and would make someone a lovely trail horse.
UPDATE: Horses with Hope, along with The Hooved Animal Sanctuary (H.A.S.), are pleased to announce the adoption of Willow. As you have read above, Willow had a lot of history and bad handling from an earlier part in her life.
Deb brought Willow along with Scooter to Horses with Hope in late November 2015. We knew this girl was something special. She was nervous at first, but once she settled into our routine, she knew she was in a safe and loving environment. Progress had to be slow in order to help build Willow’s trust. We started to break down those barriers and Willow continued to improve. She did great on field trips and enjoyed traveling to Popham Beach where she walked right into the ocean. (It was the first time we had ever seen a rescue do that.)
We started our search for someone who would carry on with Willow and be able to establish a relationship on a deeper level. Willow is a very complex girl who was just looking to live a simpler life. We found that person in Denise S. . Willow will now be living practically around the corner from Horses with Hope. As a bonus, Willow now has her own personal Masseuse as Denise does Equine Massage Therapy. Denise’s laid-back personality along with her ability to connect with the animals that she works with seemed like the perfect fit for Willow. We are so pleased and feel Willow will maintain her forward progress with Denise’s help. Congratulations and we wish you many happy trail rides.