Sundae’s Big Personality Was the Cherry On Top
Chip, a beautiful, tall American Quarter Horse with a white star on his forehead, always shared a pasture with other horses. As a herd animal, Chip enjoyed their company. When Chip’s companions moved away, his doting owner, Susan F., worried about how that would affect him. Sure enough, Chip showed signs that he was bored and lonely, and Susan knew he needed a friend.
She browsed Facebook for adoptable horses near Sonora, California, where she and her family live. Scrolling through her news feed one day, Susan halted at the words “available for adoption.” Beneath them was an image of an adorable buckskin paint pony named Victoria and a short bio that described her as opinionated, pushy and clever—she knew how to untie herself! While this might intimidate some adopters, Susan was excited.
“My horse, Chip, is the strong, silent type,” said Susan. “He’s quiet and calm, but firm about what he wants, and he always gets his way!” Victoria’s big personality could be the perfect match for Chip.
Victoria was being cared for by a local equine rescue group, and Susan visited with her daughter. “Victoria was eager to meet us and stuck her head between the rails of her paddock. I could have sworn I heard her whisper to me, ‘Let me go with you!’”
As they got acquainted, Susan learned that leading Victoria was a challenge; she had little respect for personal space and firm opinions about what she would and wouldn’t do. For example, she refused to pick up her feet. “At only 10 hands high, her will was far greater than her size!”, Susan remembers.
Susan visited Victoria once more, this time with her husband, Mark. Despite Victoria’s lack of manners, Susan and Mark fell in love with her. They knew that Victoria’s spunk would complement Chip’s quiet, dominant nature, and they saw her potential. Susan was confident she could help Victoria overcome her fears. They adopted Victoria and changed her name to Sundae for her vanilla, chocolate and caramel coat. Victoria was just too fancy a name for such a sassy personality!
Friends at First Sight
Susan slowly introduced the two equines by walking Sundae near Chip’s pasture. Chip would follow them along the pasture gate, seemingly curious and excited about the newcomer. Eventually, she brought them into the pasture together and Chip lit up! They were instant friends.
Almost two years have passed, and Chip and Sundae are inseparable. “Chip has become Sundae’s mentor, and Sundae is Chip’s emotional support animal,” Susan said with a laugh. While Sundae is still sassy and stubborn, she has learned a lot from her equally stubborn, but patient, friend Chip. After observing Chip’s hooves being cleaned, Sundae slowly became comfortable lifting her feet. The sound, smell and feel of fly spray used to alarm her, until Chip showed her it’s okay.
Sundae has also learned that being fast and scrappy pays off! She often uses these advantages to steal extra food from Chip.
Susan leaned on her experience with horses, and perhaps the patience she’s gained throughout her teaching career, to help Sundae navigate her next chapter and overcome some of the defensive behaviors that once dubbed her “pushy.” Instead of wrestling Sundae to do things she’s resistant to, Susan’s philosophy was to take it slow. “We shouldn’t treat ponies like they can be man-handled just because they’re small and cute. Ponies need to be treated with the same respect that you’d give larger horses. Sundae is incredibly smart!”
For those looking to add a horse to their family, Susan says, “You can literally save their lives, so whenever you can, adopt. These rescues need our support. If I weren’t working, I’d donate my time to a rescue or sanctuary because what they do is so important.”
Sundae makes everyone around her smile, and someday Susan thinks she might enjoy giving lead-line rides to young children. But if not, that’s okay, because she’s quite content hanging out with her buddy, Chip. They’re the perfect match.
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.