Updates & uplifting tales
Impact Article: Texas Star at Harmony
by Theresa O’Hare
In 2015, the Harmony Equine Center received 60 horses that had been seized from a neglectful owner in Conroe, Texas—a court case involving a total of more than 200 equines. Texas Star was one of those horses.
When Texas Star was brought to the Harmony Equine Center, she weighed only 895 lbs. and was given a body condition score of 1, meaning that her hips and ribs could be clearly seen from a distance. Little did she know she was about to go through a life-changing journey that would eventually end in her adoption.
Equine Admissions: When equines are brought to Harmony, staff members jump into action and work as quickly as possible to provide a full medical and behavioral evaluation to each of them so that we can quickly identify their individual needs and plan training and feeding programs that meet those needs. During her initial evaluation, our staff noted that she needed dental work and her hooves were in need of attention. Equines are kept at the Intake Barn, where they are free-fed grass hay and a grass-alfalfa mix until they gain a healthy amount of weight and receive medical treatment, at which point they’re moved to the Adoption Barn, where they continue to receive regular training and care.
Veterinary Services: Our dedicated veterinarian on call, Dr. Steve Cribley, provides medical care to all of the equines at Harmony. Dr. Cribley works alongside staff members during evaluations to identify medical issues and he continues to come to Harmony throughout an equine’s stay to provide follow-up care and treatment. For Texas Star, this meant having her teeth floated to decrease discomfort and pain.
Jay, the Harmony Equine Center’s farrier, also came out to attend to Texas Star’s hooves. They needed a considerable amount of maintenance, and in order to prevent further hoof issues developing in the future, Jay put horseshoes on her for her comfort.
Training: Harmony staff believed that Texas Star had never had human interaction before being brought to Harmony, so their training with her required a lot of understanding and compassion. Our trainers worked slowly and patiently so that she could feel comfortable with human interaction. Since Harmony staff members use only natural horsemanship and positive reinforcement when working with equines, the first session focused on letting Texas Star express herself and become comfortable doing so around human beings. After lots of patience and compassion, Texas Star was comfortable being haltered, then saddled, and eventually, in the spring of 2016, she had her first ride with Harmony staff.
Adoptions: After Texas Star could be haltered and led, she was moved to the Adoption Barn. While she was there, she was regularly socialized by volunteers and staff members and continued to receive behavioral training. On November 5, 2016, Texas Star was adopted. When she came in, she had never interacted with a human being before—and now, she’s running barrel formations in shows!