Last week I shared an interview with the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. One of the questions I always ask is for the organization to share a story about a horse. Their story was so remarkable, I deemed it worthy of it own post. Without any more delay, here’s the story of Bella.
Tooralaurabella was brought to us in June 2021 with a bowed tendon that we thought had set, making her ready to start her next career. Upon her arrival we were told that she did not load well and needed to be blindfolded and pushed on backwards. She arrived at the adoption barn facing backwards in the trailer. Bella instantly proved herself to be a sweetheart but had some trust issues. She did not like the halter to be pushed over her ears and preferred it to be unbuckled, she was spooky and unsure of new things. We found her an older mare as a buddy in turnout, which helped her learn to settle and not be so reactive.
In October we had a case of strangles break out (the first and only since opening in 2006). Bella was the only one to have the true and full symptoms and needed medical care. We had to soak the abscess on her jaw with a warm compress twice a day as well as give her meds orally. She had to have her temp taken twice a day as well. It was through all this that Bella realized we were here to HELP her. She grew a very strong bond with us and started to relax more. After our quarantine was lifted, Bella was able to start back into her training program.
She had her first ride here just a few weeks later. Bella began to build confidence in us and herself with obstacles. She could push the ball, walk over a tarp and even in and out of a kiddie pool. This was all in preparation to get her to load on a trailer in a relaxed and confident demeanor. In a month’s time Bella was walking quietly across the wooden bridge on her own. By January 2022 we were able to use the program director’s trailer and practice our loading. Bella loaded right on in about 15 minutes with lots of patience and trust. It was then that we knew Bella was truly ready to find her forever home.
Bella’s first potential adopter instantly fell in love after playing with her in our indoor arena over some obstacles and bonding scratches. It was a beautiful sight, and many happy tears were shed. The adopter had a pre-purchase vetting done to ensure the bow was set and would hold up for the career she had intended for Bella. It was then that we found out that the bow was not fully set. Bella was so strong and wanted nothing more than to please us, so she hid her injury. Not once did she take a bad step here, but through an ultrasound it was clear that the bow was not fully healed, and she had kept that from us all along. So unfortunately, that adopter decided it was not a good fit due to the injury but gave us full access to the images taken that day.
A forever home and friend
Just a week later another potential adopter coming to look at a gelding but fell in love with Bella’s big, sweet face sticking out over her stall door. After playing with her in the arena lightly, they fell in love before even knowing her name. Later on, we found out that the name Bella had a huge meaning in the adopter’s life, and it was fate that they take TooralauraBella home. After discussing Bella’s injury and what rehab would entail, they decided to adopt Bella with no rush to become competitive any time soon.
The day Bella finally loaded on her trailer to go to her new home was bittersweet. We were all so proud of this mare who had grown so much and matured with us in less than a year’s time. Bella is enjoying life with her forever family and two other FTLAP grads that share her large grass pasture. They have started lightly riding on the trails and will continue to slowly introduce her to more as she is comfortable.
To learn more about FLTAP, please visit their website.