Rose’s Way Home: One Horse’s Journey from Cruelty to Family

July 19, 2018


Adopting a fourth horse to Grace and Tom H.’s hobby farm in Central Wisconsin was not a difficult decision.

“We all love animals,” Grace explains. “So a new horse made sense for us as a family.”

“My husband Tom and I are from large families,” adds Grace. 

The family had adopted 21-year-old gelding, Sunny Delight, in 2009 from an ASPCA response partner.  After deciding to adopt another horse, Grace and her daughter Jenny went back to the group’s web site and spotted Rose, a spunky, six-year-old Arabian mix.

“When I read her story my heart just sank,” Grace says.

Rose and Denny

Rosé with one of the family dogs, Denny.

Rose was one of 14 horses rescued by the ASPCA and the Forest County Sheriff’s Department in Crandon, Wisconsin, in March 2017, as part of a cruelty investigation that also involved 38 dogs. She was cared for by the ASPCA and later transported to a response partner with four other horses from the case.

Jenny and Rose

Jenny and Rosé.

Grace and Jenny, as well as Jenny’s sister Jessy, visited Rose three times—with Jenny and Jessy each riding Rose on the first two visits. On the third visit, they happily adopted her.

Rose, Jenny, Zellah

Jenny and Rosé with Jenny’s daughter, Zellah.

“Jenny said, ‘Mom, you have to see this horse,’” recalls Grace, who wanted a horse that was already trained. “Rose knew all the basic commands and loves people. She’s so trusting.” 

Rose gets along well with Sunny Delight and Pepsi, a 22-year-old Paint-mix who took Rose in “instantly.” Cola, a 38-year-old pony, also won her over.

“Sometimes old horses will pick at new ones, but our other horses were very accepting of Rose,” Grace explains. “There was no bucking, rearing or fighting. They all get along like they’ve been together forever.”

Jessy and Jenny walk Rose to her Stall

Jessy and Jenny walk Rosé to her stall.

Rose—now called Rosé, in keeping with the horses’ beverage-themed names—lives on a property surrounded by old dairy farms, and has access to flat farmland as well as 40 acres of woods. 

“We’re fortunate to have hundreds of acres at our disposal,” explains Grace, who purchased 10 acres next to her parents’ dairy farm when she and Tom married 29 years ago. Six acres of trees and a creek that runs through the property contribute to the bucolic setting.

Jenny riding Rose and Jessy riding Sunny Delight

Jenny and Rosé, left, and Jessy riding Sunny Delight.

Rosé fits in with the other animals on the family’s farm, which include two dogs, as well as rabbits, goats, ducks, cats and many chickens—for laying eggs only. 

Grace calls Rosé her “nuzzle bunny” for her habit of nosing and pulling on her coat pockets. 

“But when she’s out in the field and you watch her—with her tail straight up and nose flaring, acting sassy and throwing her head back--you think ‘Wow, what a wild horse!’” says Grace. “She’s breathtaking, but when she gets near us, she turns into a gentle horse. We’re lucky to have found such a great match.”

Jenny and Rose

Jenny with Rosé.

The family has had Rosé out to ride several times, including with their young granddaughters. Each time, she’s been “amazing,” Grace tells us. Grace and Tom also recently welcomed two new grandchildren into the family—making this expanding family bigger than ever!

Rose and her new family

Grace, far right, with daughters Jenny, left, and Jessy, right, and Rosé.

“We wanted Rosé to have a forever home with lots of people around,” says Grace. “And that’s just what she got!”