On Monday, September 18, Willa got cast in her paddock. She was stuck under the fence, and in her struggle to get free, she got very banged up. She seemed okay at first, but the swelling progressed overnight, and in the morning it was clear that she needed a vet. The vet quickly determined that Willa was suffering from neurological damage. By some miracle, we got her onto the trailer to the hospital. X-rays were taken and showed that nothing was broken, but they concluded that Willa has spinal cord trauma. At this point, it is unclear if the damage will be permanent, but every action is being taken to minimize the pain and swelling. Your donations will help with Willa's hospital bills and hopefully subsequent treatment, such as acupuncture.
I first met Willa shortly after she moved to my barn. She had just turned 5 and her owner, a dressage rider, wanted someone to continue her jumping training. I have always loved working with green horses, and Willa was much fancier than the horses I was used to riding. I happily obliged. I dreamed of what it would be like to own a horse like her. She was young, athletic, scopey. Everything that I wanted in a horse. Never did I imagine that she would one day be mine.
Fast forward a year and a half later:
Willa's owner was moving and trying to sell her. I thought she would be way out of my price range so I didn't even consider her, but her owner wanted me to have her and we were able to work it out. I felt like all of my hard work was finally paying off. I had my dream horse and my competitive future was looking brighter than ever. I knew it was going to be a lot of work as she was still very green and had a bit of an attiude, but that was alright with me.
10 months went by and I fell in love with Willa. I'd never known a horse who loved jumping so much. But it was never easy. She bucked me off a couple times and dragged me around the arena at our first show. It was a long, exhausting process, but as time went by, she became much easier to ride and handle. We were finally getting somewhere, and we connected on a deeper level than I have with any other horse. I think it was because of her spirit. I have never known any creature, human or animal, with more heart than she has. I've always been totally in awe of her courage.
Willa is my whole world, and losing her would be absolutely devastating. I don't know if she will make a full recovery, but I do know that if I don't do everything in my power to help her, I'll never forgive myself. I know there are so many other beneficial things you could spend your money on, but if you choose to donate to Willa and me, I would be extremely grateful, even if it's just $1.
Thank you for reading.
- Hunter Heilman
- Katie Frickel
- Cyndi Connolly
- Ruth G
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