An urgent message went out to all Kansas contacts. There was a horse at the kill pen whose bail was paid but her ride never showed. Scheduled to head to slaughter, she urgently needed a ride. Since we were located just a few hours from the Kansas kill pen, we volunteered to rescue her.

When we arrived, the facility staff pointed to one of the most pathetic horses I have ever rescued, and I have rescued quite a few. Skin and bones, yellow goop hanging from her nostrils, eyes wide with fear, she looked like she was trying to hide in between the crevices of the rock wall that surrounded her. Head hung low, body slumped, and tail pinned between her legs, her eyes reflected an expression of pain, fear, and hopeless defeat.

[READ MORE: Getting a Leg Up]
[READ MORE: Rescued Horses Rescue Youth at Charis Ranch]

On the ride home, we decided to name the little Arabian mare “Zita”. Pronounced Zeeta, her new name means Little Hope.

Zita has been part of our therapy program at Horses & Heroes for two years. No longer skinny or fearful, Zita connects profoundly with the military men and women who also have histories of feeling hopeless and discarded.

You see, she needed the same things we need to heal: time, trust, emotional and physical safety, and acceptance.

Zita is patient, calm, sensitive, and quiet. She shows us how to be better humans both at the farm and beyond the farm. —Julie B.

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