Like many people, Holly loved horses as a little girl. She was inspired by their beauty and often dreamed of a day when she’d be able to bond with a horse of her own.
She kept her dream at bay until a family visit to Yellowstone National Park gave her the opportunity to take her first trail ride. She loved every minute and knew that one day she would make her equestrian dreams a reality.
Decades later, another family trail ride would help her take the next steps. As her horse flew across the field, she couldn’t stop giggling with pure joy and happiness. She knew it was time to find a way to make horses a part of her life.
After her husband attended a veteran’s program with ASPCA Right Horse Partner Monty Roberts, Holly began talking with a friend and her husband about bringing a horse home. They agreed that it was a possibility, and as a first step, she started working as a ranch hand with a local trainer to expand her confidence around horses. As a prospective first-time horse guardian, she thought co-adopting with a friend would be a great avenue to explore so that they could share duties and help each other learn. Her friend Amy also wanted a horse, and together, they started looking into adoption.
Because of her prior experience with Monty Roberts, Holly knew just where to turn to find a horse. Monty is world-renowned for training horses and helping riders develop trust-based partnerships with their horses. He recognized that training was often the barrier that prevented adoptable horses from efficiently finding new homes. To help solve that challenge, Monty and his team accept horses from our partnering shelters and rescues for retraining and rehoming.
Holly and Amy saw Monty’s horses online and wondered if one of the young, spirited Thoroughbreds in the program might be a fit for them.
“My friend Amy and I began to dream,” remembers Holly about their initial horse search. “Could we really, if we worked together, make adopting a horse a reality? Was there a horse at Monty’s Flag Is Up Farms that could deal with two green riders with infinite enthusiasm for horses and the desire to learn how to be with them?”
She was unsure if she’d find the right match, but quickly forgot her doubts when she met Gilly.
“When I walked into the paddock to meet this mare, she looked up at me with the softest eye. It said ‘Are you the one? The person I can trust to see me through this journey and find peace?’ That’s all it took,” says Holly. “I wanted that beautiful, off-track Thoroughbred mare who had arrived panicked and afraid. Gilly is tender and cautious. She’s patient and curious. She thrives on calm and centered interactions.”
Monty agreed that Holly and Amy would be a good match for Gilly, and soon after the initial appointment, Gilly came home to the local boarding barn where Holly had been working. As Holly and Amy got to know Gilly, they delighted in her kind personality and the daily joy she brought to their lives. Holly continued working with the barn’s horse trainer to help further Gilly’s education, and to build their skills together. Her hope is that Gilly will make a wonderful trail horse. Holly’s husband is also learning to ride, and their two kids enjoy coming to the barn with their parents.
For Holly, the decision to adopt brought numerous benefits to her family.
“Bringing Gilly home is the best decision I have ever made,” she says. “I love learning to ride. My two young daughters absolutely love being with horses and spend hours at the barn helping me work and taking lessons too. My husband and I are sharing a new passion. My friend Amy and I are giddy every time we are with Gilly. I learn something new every day. Our dream is a reality. Gilly is such an incredible part of our lives.”
And for anyone considering adopting a horse, Holly has a few words of wisdom after having gone through the adoption experience: “Involve your family in your process and find a horse you can all appreciate in some way. It really can bring you together as a family and puts you out in wide open spaces, off of electronics, focused on another being, learning a new skill and achieving goals. That’s a lot of benefits to adopting a horse!”
Feeling inspired and ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender or discipline.