Heroes come in All Shapes and Sizes

It isn’t often that horses win over our egos.

It isn’t often they win over economics, either.

But this isn’t a story where a horse fails to win, thankfully.

This guy gets a different tale, thanks for people that put horsemanship and a little horse first,

Hero was born feral. He is about 5 years old. He had no real human interaction before coming to Kentucky Humane Society and being transferred to Heart of Phoenix apart from being castrated under sedation.

From the first, his little herd was more “feral” than most. Bolting, especially reactive, more leery and distrustful than most. . .


This didn’t come from abuse or previous bad interactions with people, it was just who they were.

When Hero was selected by Jessica Runkel of Smoke Rise Ranch for the Appalachian Trainer Face Off, we knew she was in for an incredible challenge. But we all were thankful, as we knew ego would not play a role in his training.

That ultimately was a lifesaver for him.

As weeks passed, he continued to be incredibly reactive, and really, in most hands, very dangerous. Jessica showed tremendous dedication day in and out. She had all the try in the world. She just needed a breakthrough.

Jessica then reached out and said what so MANY trainers and riders fail to say,

“I need some help.”

She had even tried sleeping outside his stall on and off over the last 60 days

She wanted help. . .not just for her. . .but for Hero. That is something one rarely finds. She knew with some guidance, she could get him to be a safe equine partner.

Effective help for horses like Hero isn’t easy to find. The issues were those that most horse people and trainers really would not address timely and well. . . let alone fairly.

Thankfully, Nelson Detweiler, just as he did last year for #HOPTEAMAngus and Bethany McNett, was willing, on his own time, to take several days in ten hours of round trip to come and work on and off with this team.


So from Tuesday through 3am on Thursday morning, he did what more horse people should do. . .helped another horse and horse person get where they needed to be. . .

And it wasn’t easy.


And it wasn’t done by telling, instead by showing and helping.


That is empowering. That is what the Appalachian Trainer Face Off is about. . .how far can you go and how much can you learn with and for the horse.


Heroes, folks. . . for the little horse a lot of people would have given up on. . .truly even I had my doubt when I arrived to document the process.


We can’t wait to see the next 40 days for them!


No one has all of the answers – you will always need help if you care to learn. Ask.

#heroesarepeopletoo #hopteamhero #heroescomeinallsizesandshapes

To see all the photos from this 2+ day training session, please click here

As Right Horse Partners, we are here to create a more compassionate, pragmatic support system for those doing right by people and by horses, so you can count on us to help! #RIGHTHORSE

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