Surprise horse adoption — a dream come true

You might call it serendipity that adoptable horses Dixie and Kiwi were brought to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary from the same place and found matching happy endings. You could also say that it just goes to show how providing rescued horses with a good educational foundation and mixing in a little bit of kindness from strangers can completely change their lives for the better.

After being transported from a Best Friends Network partner organization in New Mexico, the young mares received excellent training that set them up for success in homes of their own. The icing on the cake is that they were adopted at the same time and now live in great homes only a short distance apart.

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One equine adoption leads to another

Kiwi’s adoption story began in October of 2017 when Sarah LaMay came to visit the Sanctuary to adopt a horse named Titan. While she was there, her husband pointed out Kiwi, who looked a lot like a very special horse that Sarah had tragically lost the year before.

Kiwi pulled strongly on Sarah’s heartstrings, but there was a problem: Sarah’s pasture was only big enough for two horses and she already had one at home (a senior pasture horse). Since Titan would be her second (and she’d already committed to adopting him), she returned home without Kiwi, but vowed to return for her if things changed.

After bringing Titan home, Sarah discovered how much she enjoyed working with him. “He is so sweet and tries so hard to do what I ask,” she says. “We have broken through some major barriers together.”

A year later, her other horse (who was in his 30s), passed away. “Titan and I were really depressed after that happened,” Sarah says. That’s when her husband began to hatch a plan. He knew how hard Sarah had fallen for Kiwi, who was still at the Sanctuary. Working with Sarah’s parents, he set up everything to adopt Kiwi as a surprise. The only trouble was how to get her home in secret. But luckily, another horse was about to get adopted into a great home not too far away. That would make the surprise possible.

Kiwi the horse was a surprise adoption for Sarah

Rancher finds the perfect riding partner

Bob Nott, who owns a ranch in northern Utah, was looking for a young, rideable horse to be his next great partner. And a friend, who had adopted three horses from the Sanctuary, told him about Best Friends. After searching adoptable horses online and talking with Horse Haven trainer Linda Alvey, Bob thought that Dixie might be his perfect match.

When Bob came to the Sanctuary to meet Dixie, everything went just as well as everyone hoped, so Bob arranged to take Dixie home. It was then that he learned about another horse adoption in the works (Kiwi), and he was more than happy to help by giving Kiwi a lift.

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Daisy the horse with her adopter Bob

Horse rescue adoption is a dream come true

Not only did it all work out logistically, but for Sarah it fulfilled a childhood dream: “I didn't grow up with my own horse,” she says, “and all I ever wanted was to come home from school and have my own horse standing there waiting for me.” That day, she came home to news that a package had arrived — Kiwi, of course.

The surprise made Sarah even more excited to finally have Kiwi. And the sweet horse is a good fit for her family and their little herd of two. “Kiwi has turned out to be so sweet and calm, and she'll be a perfect horse for my kids,” says Sarah. “She also gets along really well with Titan. I am super happy with my horses and really appreciate Best Friends and all the work they put into caring for all these animals and making sure they find good homes for them.”

Great horses + professional horsemanship = happy homes

Bob agrees: “Not a lot of people know that Best Friends has great horses who need homes, but I’m going to spread the word that it’s a great place to go if you’re looking for one. One of the things that make these horses so adoptable is the excellent handling they receive. From the moment I met Dixie, it was obvious to me she had been handled by true professionals in horsemanship.”

Sarah and her family are taking their time getting to know Kiwi and build a solid relationship with her before doing any riding. And with Dixie, Sarah and Bob are spending the winter doing training before starting their riding adventures this spring. “She is a great horse and I really like her,” says Bob. “I’m just tickled.”

These two horses couldn’t have landed in better homes. It just took a little luck, some expert help at Best Friends and a sprinkling of kindness to help them them get there.

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Bob with the horse Daisy, who he adopted

Photos by Sarah Ause Kichas