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Review for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue Inc., Shoals, WV, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My son and I followed a few horses for the 2019 ATFO. So many beautiful horses! I filled out the adoption application. Brittainy, a Heart of Phoenix volunteer, was so helpful through the process. We were approved to bid on our favorites! Talk about excited!!

After an all day marching band event we drove through the night arriving at the ATFO at 4:30 on Saturday morning pulling a borrowed trailer. We closed our eyes but didn’t sleep much. When the sun came up the fair ground started to come to life with horses and horse people. Soon there were horses and people everywhere as more folks showed up to watch the horses and trainers demonstrate all they had learned together over the past 100 days.

Horse and trainer pairs could be seen wandering around all day amongst the crowds of people. I was hard pressed to find a pair that acted even a little bit like they had only been training for 100 days. During the entire day I did not see a single horse with bad behavior. Given that these horses were in a high stress situation with only 100 days of training to say I was impressed is an understatement. Certainly there were horses that were higher energy than others and even some who had nervous tendencies but their trainers handled them with nothing less than professional calm guiding the horse back to a state of calm peace.

Since I am not made of money it won’t come as a big surprise to say that I made this trip on a shoestring budget keeping as much as possible so that we could go home with two perfect horses. My son fell head over heels for a big grey horse named Whistler. We stalked him and his trainer Erin throughout the day watching how she handled him and how he reacted. We talked to Erin at length about Whistler. He was beautiful but not for the faint of heart. My son’s love didn’t waiver. I only had eyes for a little bay named Pepsi. She was only four years old and hadn’t had a full 100 days with a trainer because sometimes life takes a turn that can’t be followed. It didn’t matter to me though. I loved her already!

When it came time for the bidding Whistler was one of the first few horses out. His price went higher than my budget for going home with two horses. I shook my head when the bid came back to me. The auctioneer kept going and with watery eyes my son looked at me and said, “Please, mom, I really want him.” I raised my card and spent my whole budget on Whistler. It was worth it. My son’s face lit up and he followed Whistler and Erin to the barn to claim his #RightHorse!

I wouldn’t be going home with my beloved Pepsi but it was ok. My heart was full just watching my son. Some time later Pepsi was in the ring. No one was bidding! I didn’t have the money to meet the minimum bid amount. I have to be honest, I felt a little bit ill.

When all of the bidding was over the paperwork had to be done. Checkbook in hand we went to the office to sign and pay for Whistler. Brittainy was there and asked me about Pepsi. I’m sure there was sadness in my face when I told her getting Whistler had drained my budget and I thought perhaps another horse at another time would come up for me. She sent me to talk to Tinia “because sometimes she can work things out”. Tinia didn’t have to but she did it anyway. She let me post date a check for Pepsi for my next payday. I would be able to go home with both horses!

We slept in our hammocks that night getting up with the sun On Sunday morning to load and head back to New Jersey. Pepsi wasn’t having any of it though refusing to get on that trailer. Without hesitation Brittainy and Pepsi’s trainer came out and gently coaxed her onto the trailer. It was a magical process!

From the time we arrived until the time we left we encountered friendly people everywhere with smiles and greetings and lots of conversation and anticipation about the horses. Our dogs had traveled with us and even they were greeted with friendly enthusiasm.

In my 54 years I have never been to a horse event where not a single horse was mistreated or forced to do something it wasn’t ready to do. Not a single person was rude or uncaring. I walked away knowing that this group of people had a collective knowledge and ability greater than anything I had ever witnessed. I will be a lifetime supporter of Heart of Phoenix, and I will forever be grateful to Tinia and her volunteers for my perfect horse.

Role:  Client Served