Dappled Grey American Saddlebred Gelding
Maverick is the The 'Peacekeeper' of the herd .
When Ashley first laid eyes on this giraffe-like 4 year old gelding, his condition was nothing like the pictures posted online. He was terribly thin, had part of his winter coat shaved off, and half an eye lid on his right eye missing. As I looked him over, he looked at me so intently, as if he was saying “Please take me home. Get me out of this mess!” The same words Ashley had cried out to God so many years before. As she lunged him around the yard, he tugged at her heart with his occasional inward glance towards her with a lowered head. He did everything she asked him to do, and he did it with such pleasure and respect that she knew God wanted her to take him from this place.
When he was brought to the ranch by the previous owner, he acted like a totally different horse. We came to the conclusion he had probably been drugged the day we met him, in order to calm him down and hide his injuries. Walking him up to the barn, Ashley could feel something strange in the lead rope. Something was terribly wrong, "He is walking strange," she thought. We assumed his pelvis and hips protruded the way they did because of being malnourished, but it wasn’t the only reason. The vet came out and took a look at him. One of the worst fears of a horse owner had become a reality--a broken pelvic bone. He had a 3 to 4 month old pelvic break, according to the vet, which had been ignored and set incorrectly. The break is on his right side, same side as the half eyelid. It wasn't a coincidence that his thick winter coat was partially shaved…it was to hide the break. Whatever accident or abuse he went through, caused the damage to his eye, pelvic bone, and the stifle on the opposite side. The vet said he could never be ridden. Ashley's heart just sank. Not because she couldn’t ride him but because of what he had gone through. The vet asked Ashley what she is going to do about the horse and she replied, "We will care for him the best we can and allow him to live a healthy and happy life". Ashley just knew he still had a purpose. God wouldn’t have had their paths cross and entrust Ashley with his care if he didn’t have a plan for them both.
A plan indeed! Maverick has been such a blessing to all who come into his presence. Around the ranch he is known as the ‘Pampered Pony’. Well, pampered is an understatement but with everything he went through the first 4 years of his life, he deserves some extra TLC. He is Hope Reigns’ basics training horse who will teach all basic ground horsemanship and help visitors find their "inner peace". Let’s just say, Maverick doesn’t allow stress around him. You’ve got to 'leave it at the gate'. Maverick is proof that there is beauty from brokenness.
Our Mini Donkeys:
Jenny (Forrest's girlfriend)
Forrest (Jenny's pesky companion)
She is a quiet gentle spirit. He is a love bug. They are quite the couple here at the ranch.
Jenny originally belonged to a petting zoo before the donors had her. She was donated as a companion for Maverick. She did come with some health issues but with time, good nutrition and care, she overcame them. Before Forrest came into her life, Jenny had a crush on Maverick from the time she saw him. Secretly, she still probably does. It was a love/hate relationship. If Maverick was taken out of the paddock, she would bray. Maverick would chase her around the paddock. Yet in times of storms, they comforted each other.
When TC came to the ranch, she was his protector and friend. She will always need to be within eye sight of Maverick or he will get upset and anxious. Maverick will always be her giant protector. When a new horse that comes into the paddock, he stays between them, making sure she is safe at all times. No one can pick on her except for Maverick. That is HIS donkey. Even though Forrest may beg to differ. She may be the quietest one in the herd but she is definitely a protector. She might not be able to fight off predators but she sure can set off the alarm. You always know when something isn’t right in the paddock if she is braying at 2 am. She may not come up to you at first unless you have a treat in hand. Then you will be her new best friend.
Forrest is just happy to be alive and loved (by Jenny)! Formerly known as Heehaw, he was found by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department wandering on the side of a road. His injuries were traumatic. They suggested he had not only been hit by a car but also shot in the head and the neck. Outside the scope of their capabilities, the Sheriff's Department was faced with either euthanizing him or calling the Houston SPCA to assist. Thankfully, the Houston SPCA took him in and began treating his wounds. One thing is absolutely certain--he is one tough little donkey!
Exams showed he had significant swelling and an abscess on the right side of his head from the gunshot wounds and was lame on his non-weight bearing right leg from the collision, most likely. X-rays of 2 gunshot wounds revealed multiple bullet fragments still lodged in his head, which unfortunately, would not be able to be removed. After several months of treatment, good nutrition, and love from the doctors and volunteers at the SPCA, Forrest was healthy enough and ready to be adopted. Hope Reigns learned about this special donkey from their veterinarian, and after hearing his story and learning of his personality and will to live, wanted to be a part of his recovery. After finally getting to meet him, we knew we had to bring him to the ranch.
He has the best personality. Even after all he has been through, Forrest enjoys his lovin' and shows off his playful side. We are grateful to the Sheriff's Department for saving his life and to the SPCA for taking such amazing care of him.
He is going to be an inspiration to many who meet him.
Paint Quarter Horse Gelding
TC is the ‘BABY’ here at the ranch.
When he came to the ranch, he was a little over a year old. He was seized by the SPCA after he was abandoned by his owner and left at a boarding facility. Since he was depleted of essential nourishment during his critical developmental stage, his legs and feet didn’t develop properly. We initially were going to adopt a horse known as the Motor Oil Mare who was covered in motor oil and left to literally bake in the hot sun. The SPCA seized her as well, but unfortunately, after a few days of her rescue, she laid down and wouldn’t get back up. She had to be euthanized to end her suffering. To help mend our broken hearts, the SPCA barn manager, introduced to us to TC (known as Chip at the SPCA). He had been with them since April 2016 and while in their care had put on 200 lbs. They called him the ‘sweetest thing around’. Ashley realized that when he went up to her and started grooming her at their first meeting--just like horses do with their herd companions. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay at the SPCA forever. He had to find a forever home, and soon; but most people do not want a special needs horse. Also, most animals at the SPCA are ‘on the clock’, and the staff hoped he’d be able to come to Hope Reigns. We were blessed to have generous donors provide the funds for his first year care at Hope Reigns. With the funds raised, we were able to adopt TC before they had to make the tough decision to euthanize him.
He may never be a horse that can be ridden but that is fine. He will certainly be a good companion for the other horses and a friend and/or confidant to someone who comes to the ranch.
There are so many horses at the SPCA we would love to adopt, but we don’t have the resources to take them all. Therefore, we pick the ones that call out to us. Their eyes just speak to us. Just like the Motor Oil Mare did with Ashley. Her sad brown eyes locked with Ashley’s and Ashley knew we needed to bring her to the ranch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take her the day we first saw her since the case against the owner hadn’t been finalized. TC's story will have a better outcome than the Motor Oil Mare’s. We pray over him and tell him, “You is strong. You is healthy. You is important.” The impact of positive words, a loving touch, and good care, and is helping this baby get stronger each new day.
He loves his treats and meeting new people. He has already been a blessing to so many who come spend time with him.
You just can’t help but love this little guy.
Watching TC survive and thrive has given us firsthand proof of the healing power of Jesus Christ through a horse.
Sorrel Quarter Horse Gelding
Just wants his grub. Irish loves breakfast, dinner, and treat time. Always licking his lips when he knows food is coming his way.
Not your typical fiery red head. Irish is a pretty laid back Quarter Horse who was rescued from a bad situation. His owner had rescued him from someone who was starving and neglecting him for years. Unfortunately, his owner fell on some hard times and no longer able to continue providing for him. Desperate, she was going to send him to auction if she couldn't find someone to take him. Hope Reigns to the rescue! When we initially saw him, he was standing in dirty swamp water from the heavy May rains, with not one blade of grass to eat, his hind legs covered in blood from fly and other insect bites, ribs showing, and a look in his big brown eyes of quiet desperation.
After looking him over, we noticed he had scar tissue behind his rear feet, which was probably from a cruel training method of tying his feet together. So naturally, he is now very protective of his back legs and feet. He is learning to trust us with his back end. It has taken training, love, and a whole lot of patience to gain his trust with trimming his feet. Just the way the farrier showed him affection and patience was all it took for Irish to trust him. Irish is a quick learner and wants to please. We expect special things from Irish and we know those who come to the ranch will find a special bond with him.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Erin Williams-Todd and Ronnie Todd for your help in the rescue of Irish. We couldn't have done it without you. More road trips ahead!
Paint Quarter Horse Gelding
He's an 'Old Soul'.
A beautiful black and white paint gelding named Juan Ranger (from the Texas Rangers “one riot, one ranger”), he is simply called Ranger. Because he has limited sight in one eye, he might be considered a special needs horse, but still trustworthy and gentle. He can still be counted on for a good ride. Ranger loves his treats. He has to have his after dinner peppermints. He is such a treat hound! He loves apples too, and an occasional bite of cold watermelon. His previous owners, a retired older couple, have high hopes for Ranger fitting into the Hope Reigns session programs with his sweet and gentle personality. He is still trying to find his place in the herd. His best bud is Kota but when there are more horses together, Ranger retreats away. Most of the time, you will find him grazing alone. There are times when Kota will go eat hay with Ranger just to let him know he is not forgotten and is still loved by Kota. Ranger has shown to be a good big brother to TC. When Ranger first came to the ranch, he appeared to be shy but turns out he really is just patiently waiting for his turn and follows the leader quite well. Spending time with Ranger is good for the soul!
Paint Quarter Horse Gelding
Our apple lover!
Kota, short for “Dakota” which is derived from the Sioux Indians meaning ally or friend, came to Hope Reigns from an older couple that wanted to live the dream of owning a horse. Kota had been a child’s play day horse and lived alone for a great deal of his life. In horse years he is now a middle-aged gelding quarter horse. His coloring is like that of the line of Gunsmoke horses with amazing blue eyes. He was used to children hanging from his neck, but his nature is to be a little stubborn just to show he thinks he is in charge. He pretty much just lives to eat but is good for a stroll or gallop at your request. Apples are his favorite snack of choice. Kota is our most dependabe horse at the ranch. The retiring older couple is excited to see how Kota can make a difference in the lives of people at Hope Reigns.