Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy
Gordon H. of El Reno, Oklahoma, has always been a cowboy at heart. But as often happens, responsibilities took priority, and he went to work with a career in the oil industry. He had nearly forgotten his love of horses until meeting Venus, who would soon become his wife.
Venus’s love of horses rekindled a familiar spark in Gordon’s heart. The two bought a small farm and began their equine adventures as a couple. Gordon found joy in supporting Venus by attending her horse shows while he cared for and maintained their herd. Venus’s dream was for Gordon to one day show horses with her. She went so far as to buy several horses for him, and while he loved them and enjoyed trail rides and driving his horse in a buggy, he still wasn’t energized by the idea of showing. Sadly, in 2022 his driving horse crossed the rainbow bridge. As Gordon’s heart began to heal from the loss, he started to casually look for another horse to pull his buggy. Little did he know that his horse-journey trajectory was about radically change course.
Connecting Good People to Good Horses
“I was scrolling through Craigslist when I saw Cherry,” Gordon recalls. “The listing said something about her being available for adoption. I had never seen an adoptable horse on Craigslist. There was a link to myrighthorse.org where I could get all her information, see more photos and a video, and submit a formal inquiry about adoption. I liked how she looked, how she was being ridden and how she carried herself.”
Cherry was available for adoption from the ASPCA’s Equine Transition and Adoption Center (ETAC). In part, the program develops innovative marketing solutions for equines who’ve traditionally had a hard time finding an adoptive home. Since many horse owners aren’t yet aware that equine adoption is a great way of acquiring a horse, promotions on Craigslist and on social media help engage new adopters and find wonderful homes for horses like Cherry.
Gordon and Venus were surprised to realize ETAC is right in their town and were impressed by the program when they went to meet Cherry.
“We didn’t know there was an equine adoption organization so close to us. The facility was awesome, and so were the people that we met, including the volunteers. We were just amazed that we had this so close to our home and that we could utilize it to find our next horse.”
The Cherry on Top
Venus vividly remembers seeing Cherry for the first time. “I wasn’t hip on looking for a replacement buggy horse right away, but Gordon kept on looking. When he showed me Cherry’s video, I thought ‘She’s beautiful, but she’s not a buggy horse.’ However, he couldn’t be swayed away from her. In all the years that we’ve had horses, he’s never gotten to pick one for himself. That's one thing that really got to me: he really thought she was something special.”
Even after falling in love with Cherry, the couple had many factors to consider.
“I read that she had an injury and would need a few months to recover,” Gordon remembers. “At first, I was nervous about it, but then I learned that the staff at ETAC had gone the extra mile with their veterinarian to give her the care to recover. Yes, I’ll need to wait to ride, but she’s the perfect horse for me!”
Gordon couldn’t get Cherry off his mind and decided to move forward with the adoption. “The transition process is going smoothly,” says Venus. “We are getting her used to all the sounds and sights of her new home. She’s definitely a daddy’s girl. Wherever daddy is, she’s okay. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She’s a real sweetheart and just needs to learn with practice, time and patience.”
Cherry is already inspiring Gordon to take on new adventures. “He promised me that once she was healed, he would start working with her and would try showing, because now he had his own horse that he chose to work with,” Venus happily recounted. “That made me feel good because I don’t have anybody to show with, so this will become even more of a family thing. We made the decision to get out of the buggy business and go to shows together.”
Their excitement goes beyond adopting their dream horse. Now, both Gordon and Venus are advocates for equine welfare and adoption.
“To have access to a top-notch facility helping horses and horse owners is so exciting. It helped give us confidence in the adoption process and the support we would receive as adopters. We hope that the word can get out to everyone about this amazing program, and we will help spread the word in our horse communities.”
Feeling inspired and ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender or discipline.