Tricia and her daughter, Clara Rose, are horse lovers. For years, they dreamt of owning a horse of their own, and it was finally time to make their dreams come true. In March of 2020, they patiently started searching for their #RightHorse, a search that would last about a year.
In 2021, Clara Rose was taking regular riding lessons at a nearby boarding barn. Almost a year after setting their plan in motion, Tricia sat in the arena watching her daughter ride a lesson horse owned by their trainer. In a stall behind the arena stood a bright chestnut horse named Felipe, a new arrival to the barn brought there for training by a local ASPCA Right Horse Partner, Heart of Phoenix.
When Clara Rose finished her lesson, the new resident grabbed her eye. Their connection was immediate.
“When my daughter finished her lesson, she came over to meet him,” recalls Tricia of their first encounter. “All I can say is that it seemed like they already knew each other. The bond already appeared to be there between them.”
Falling for Felipe
In the weeks that followed, Felipe would continue to find Clara Rose whenever she was at the barn. If he was in a pasture full of horses, he’d come over to the gate to greet his young friend. Tricia recalls that he seemed to light up whenever she was around, and Clara Rose did, too! Tricia and Clara Rose watched his progress with the trainer and finally expressed interest in seeing if he’d be a match for their family. The trainer suggested they come out daily to watch his training sessions and work with him on the ground.
“Early on, we could feel it in our heart that he was the right fit for us,” remembers Tricia. “We were fortunate to be able to spend a month with him before making the final decision to apply for adoption.”
Shortly after Tricia submitted an adoption application, Felipe arrived at his new home. Tricia had never adopted a horse before and appreciated the welcoming process and support she received from Heart of Phoenix and their trainer. In the end, she knew she’d found the perfect horse for their family.
“He is as healing to myself and my husband as he is to our daughter,” shares Tricia. “There is no replacement in life to grooming him and spending time with him or doing groundwork with him. We all learn in the process.”
Tricia’s favorite moments are watching her daughter ride her new best friend.
“When our daughter rides him, she is so happy to connect with him in that way. They work so well together, as if they understand one another. They are both so happy when they are together, and it seems very mutual.”
Felipe’s family has learned how to care for him and are enjoying every minute of the process. The responsibility and love that comes with owning a horse has led to tremendous growth in Clara Rose. She’s gained confidence from learning how to communicate with Felipe and takes meticulous care of her equine friend.
Tricia and Clara Rose enjoy spending time together with Felipe. They’ve bonded as a family while grooming and caring for their newest family member.
“He fits the storyline of ‘who rescued who.’ Everyone who has come to the farm to see him has mentioned either how kind he is, how connected to people he is or how he just makes their heart feel a little lighter and happier,” raves Tricia.
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.
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