A Love That Survived a Hurricane

A woman hugging a brown horse named Sabrina
Rescue Story

After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, law enforcement from another county asked us to rescue 11 horses who had been pulled out belly-high water. Many people had seen them trapped in the flood but, in the wake of the catastrophe, it took several days for animal control to reach them.

The horses’ plight, however, didn’t begin with the hurricane. As they emerged, their emaciated bodies testified to their long-term neglect. We first met this malnourished group at an evacuation center. As we assessed their condition, one horse in particular seemed to reach out. She locked eyes with Rebecca Williams, our executive director, and then nudged her as Rebecca came to look at her thin frame.

Your new name is Sabrina, and you're coming back with me...

Each time Rebecca walked by to look at another horse, the mare gave her another nudge. And as other horses were loaded onto our trailers ahead of her, she tried again to catch Rebecca’s eye, as if to say, “Please don’t leave me behind.”

With the big trailers full, Rebecca led her to her own smaller unit. Rebecca locked eyes as she ran her hand along the mare’s pretty cheek and neck. “Your new name is Sabrina, and you’re coming back with me,” Rebecca said, and Sabrina gave another soft nudge. Sabrina stepped willingly onto the trailer, gratefully accepted the hay, and headed back to the ranch with Rebecca.

For the next few weeks, Sabrina greeted the horses every morning to check on their condition. As the other horses from that group bent their heads to the massive hay piles we offered them, Sabrina would step away as Rebecca approached. She laid her head on Rebecca’s shoulder as Rebecca assured her that there would be no more suffering.

Sabrina’s love has now been experienced by countless children

When a bond is formed between human and horse, it’s like nothing else. And it was difficult for Rebecca to imagine that she would ever let Sabrina go. But Habitat for Horses has a mission to find loving homes for the hundreds of horses in their care, and Sabrina deserved to live at the center of someone’s heart.

Just a few months later, when Sabrina was fully recovered, a woman came to Habitat for Horses looking for a horse to add to her child therapy program. She asked Rebecca if there was a gentle mare who had a truly loving spirit. Rebecca knew exactly who to suggest. Sabrina is fulfilling the destiny she was always meant to have as a sweet-tempered therapy horse."

POST DATE: 01/19/2023