A Fairytale Ending For Fiona

Brooke L.’s horse-crazy daughter, Riley, had been taking riding lessons for two years before the family decided to visit Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio. The four-day, April expo attracts thousands of equine enthusiasts for shopping, competitions and demonstrations. Riley was delighted by the event and begged her parents to visit the Breeds Barn so she could meet the exhibiting horses. The barn also contained the third annual Adoption Affaire, hosted by the ASPCA. The event brings together our Right Horse Partner organizations and adoptable horses to find new homes and educate the public about equine adoption. While wandering the Adoption Affaire aisles, Riley was drawn to a fluffy pinto pony named Fiona.

“We walked into the barn and the two locked eyes. It was love at first sight,” recalls Brooke of the first encounter between her daughter and the small pony. Riley spent nearly 30 minutes with the pony and Brooke recalls that Fiona “absolutely melted into Riley’s arms.” The family had not considered adopting a horse, but the bond that formed between Riley and Fiona was undeniable. The parents started talking about the possibility of adoption, only to be overheard by Riley.

“Riley heard us talking about maybe adopting Fiona for her birthday and was persistent for the rest of the day,” remembers Brooke. “She’d ask us repeatedly how likely we were to adopt, and what percentage chance she had of getting Fiona. First it was 20%, then half an hour later she’d ask again, and I’d say 50%. When we finally broke the news that we could adopt Fiona, Riley ran into Fiona’s stall crying and hugged her. She told us it was the best day of her life.”

The Adoption Affaire barn aisles were packed with other adopters meeting the horses when Fiona’s adoption was finalized with the West Virginia Horse Network. Crowds parted and applauded the new pair as they walked to a special area to take photos and ring the coveted adoption bell that celebrated each horse finding a home.

Only Best Days

Now that Fiona is home at Riley’s lesson barn, every day is a best day. The pair are inseparable, and Fiona has quickly become a favorite of all the kids in the barn. 

“Fiona sits with her head out of her stall, watching for visitors. Anybody can pet her, she just absolutely loves attention,” shares Brooke. Fiona is now boarded at the same barn where Riley has been taking lessons for the past two years.

Riley loves spending as much time as she can with Fiona and happily shares her new pony with a few of her barn friends. Riley has been lightly riding Fiona bareback while the pair waits for a special new saddle and saddle pad to arrive. She loves brushing Fiona and picking out her hooves. It’s clear that Fiona has fallen in love with her new little girl and is enjoying being the center of attention at her new barn.

“She’s the absolute best pony. She is the sweetest and the most patient with my daughter. Everyone who meets her absolutely loves her, and she loves all the attention.”

After bringing Fiona home, Riley came across information about positive reinforcement training techniques. She hopes to start training Fiona using a clicker. Riley and Fiona also have their sights set on an upcoming fun horse show and the highly anticipated costume class. Fiona has a large forelock, so the plan is to dress her up in 80s attire to take advantage of her fabulous hair.

The Adoption Option

Despite not having planned to adopt, Brooke is grateful that she connected with Fiona at the Adoption Affaire. She was able to ask many questions and received support and guidance during the adoption process. Riley even received grooming supplies and wraps for her new horse from the ASPCA.

“We’d like to thank the ASPCA and West Virginia Horse Network for being so supportive with the adoption,” enthuses Brooke. “This has been a very pleasant experience. Everyone made us feel very welcome and like we were part of a family.”

Feeling inspired and ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, gender, or discipline.

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