Texas horse loving Colorado life

Ellie and Galveston

Galveston, a 5-year-old quarter horse gelding, arrived at the Harmony Equine Center in September 2015. He was one of 59 severely neglected and mistreated horses transferred to us from Conroe, Texas, after being impounded by the Houston SPCA. Like his fellow horses, Galveston was emaciated, had major hoof problems and appeared to have experienced little or no human contact.

During the five months he spent at our center, Galveston received plenty of nutritious feed, as well as veterinary and hoof care. He also worked extensively with trainer Brent Winston to become accustomed to human touch and acquire basic skills such as halter training, standing for the farrier, being saddled and even ridden in the arena.

By the time Ginger and Scott Lemberger and their 13-year-old daughter, Ellie, met him in February, Galveston had gained more than 100 pounds—and a great deal of self-confidence. Ellie had been riding with the Westernaires, a mounted precision drill organization for youths, for four years, but the family had never owned a horse.

“We have always been a pro-adoption family,” says Ginger. “We’ve had four rescue dogs and felt strongly that we wanted to adopt a horse. We also believe that horse ownership should not be taken lightly, and we recognize that owning an animal is a lifetime commitment. We decided we wanted to make the commitment to having a horse as a family member, so my husband, Scott, spent time learning about horses and horse training, and basically trained himself as a wrangler. When we heard about the Texas horses at the Harmony Equine Center, it seemed like the right thing to do to consider one of them.”

After learning that the Lembergers wanted to adopt a horse that could be trained to ride with Ellie in the Westernaires, Brent identified several possibilities. But as soon as the family met Galveston, they knew he was the one. “He was young and healthy, he handled well, he was fast and athletic, and we could see he had great potential for arena work,” says Ginger. “It was love at first sight.”

While Galveston had come a long way at the center, Brent advised the Lembergers that he would need continued training. They hired a private trainer who works with Galveston twice a week, and they lunge and train him every day at the equestrian center in Ken Caryl Valley where they live. “Galveston is a young horse, and he occasionally spooks or wants to see what he can get away with. We know that consistent training will benefit him greatly, but because of his background, we need to have realistic expectations and give him time to develop. He’s still getting used to his new environment and to us, but he wants to learn and to please, and he’s so responsive.”

“Galveston is just the sweetest thing,” says Ginger, “and we’re all excited to see him grow with Ellie.”

Thanks to generous support from the ASPCA and others, these horses have a chance to heal, flourish and ultimately find new homes.