One look at Peppermint Pattie on the "A Home for Every Horse" website, and Shelley Laurich fell in love with the chocolate-colored Shetland pony mare. So she adopted her on January 22, 2012, from Rugby Creek Animal Rescue in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.
Though Shelley has since renamed her rescue "Ellie," the pony is just as cute as ever.
"She was just what I needed," the proud new owner says. "My gelding Cesar died suddenly, while I was leading him, of an aortic aneurysm rupture...he was only 7. He was a big part of what got me through my cerebral aneurysm surgery and recovery from the brain surgery."
Cesar's pasture mate, Bryson, had also taken the loss hard, Shelley recalls. "I hoped that getting a friend for him would cheer him up; I had NO idea how much it would help me!" she notes. "I was reading an EQUUS magazine one night and I saw an ad for ?A Home for Every Horse.' Ellie is precious and she had so many needs that I was able to meet and get her healthy. Now her VERY high pitched whinny when you walk to the barn puts a smile on everyone's face--and Bryson loves her, too!"
While Shelley and her husband get settled in their new home in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Shelley's friend and trainer Becky Rose is working with Ellie using natural horsemanship methods. "I am planning for Ellie and [me] to volunteer with a therapy organization up here, so I need to be sure she remembers all the things Becky and I have taught her since I took her home," Shelley says. "I want to be sure she is safe around children and wheelchairs, etc. She is doing great because she is fearless and also very smart."
Ellie's cleverness was evident on the day that Shelley picked her up. "I was worried about how she would load on the trailer," she says. "I opened it all up and prepared to lead her on. Then she walked right on--and right out the escape door!
"It was so funny. I hadn't even thought about how she could go under the dividers and fit through that door. So, we closed the door and tried again. She hopped right back on. She really is the bravest little pony in the world! And when you see her very puffy forelock blowing in the wind, it makes you laugh out loud every time."