Seeing Dash now, it’s hard to imagine where the quietly inquisitive horse was just five years ago before arriving at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center. The veterinarian who examined Dash described him as “the walking dead” due to his ill health and severely emaciated condition. Like most of the horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules at Harmony, Dash was removed from his owners by law enforcement authorities due to maltreatment. Fortunately for Dash, Harmony’s compassionate and nurturing environment was the perfect place to rest and recuperate before joining his new herd and family at Kiana Creek Equestrian Center in idyllic Sedalia, Colorado.  

Melissa, then part of the Harmony team, met Dash in 2017 during the emotional intake process. Dash had been so starved and terribly neglected that he initially required round-the-clock care. “Literally, it was us spending the night with Dash, making sure he was going to make it,” remembers Melissa. Thankfully, Dash not only made it through that harrowing first night but, after regaining his health, he went on to help Harmony staff train colts and even became an official “Ambassahorse.” In this capacity, Dash patiently gave children the opportunity to learn about equine behavior and well-being and served as an integral member of the League’s Humane Education programming.  

Five years after Dash arrived at Harmony, Andrea S., the owner of Kiana Creek Equestrian Center, was looking for a friendly horse to add to her herd – one who could be a good companion for her family and assist with the center’s educational programs. Melissa, now the manager at Kiana Creek, knew just the right horse for the job – her old pal, Dash. In March 2022, Harmony’s beloved, 30-year-old “mascot” was adopted and taken home to live with Andrea, her husband, and their four young daughters.  

Today, there’s a lot going on at Kiana Creek Equestrian Center, including clinics, trail-riding, horse boarding, grooming, and various learning experiences for school-age children through the Douglas County 4-H program. In his new role as Kiana’s elder statesman, Dash takes part in it all. Moved by his courage in the face of adversity, Andrea says, “Any horse who has been through what he’s been through deserves nothing but the best treatment … it just makes me so happy to make sure he’s comfortable.” His many friends, old and new, couldn’t be more pleased for this gentle giant, this absolute gem of a horse.  

Dash’s story is just one of the many heartwarming stories in our latest issue of Pet Tales, the League’s triannual publication for animal welfare advocates like you. Do you want happy tales like Dash’s delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up to receive Pet Tales electronically three times a year.