By Bill Hudson


ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) — Shaylor Alley is a horse trainer who’s putting the reins on recovery.

“Just like people they want to feel a purpose,” Alley said.

He’s one of several foster farms across Minnesota who help bring horses, like Luta, back from the brink.

“She’s putting on weight pretty well, she’s probably put on 150 to 200 pounds,” he said.

He’s comparing the 3-year-old mare’s weight from what it was back in March. That’s when her ribs protruded, and she was suffering from starvation and overall neglect.

“Her feet had been neglected and they were affecting her joints, they were splayed out,” Alley points out.

The caramel-colored quarter horse is among the seven horses removed from a Fillmore County farm last spring. Two other horses were found dead on the property and one more later died.

After the animals were seized by sheriff’s deputies, they were turned over to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation.

The foundation’s director, Drew Fitzpatrick says the group’s mission is “to find homes for previously unwanted horses.”

That mission is about to be fulfilled when Luta, and other rescued and rehabilitated horses from across the state get to strut their stuff. They will participate in a friendly competition of sorts at the 12th Annual Trainer’s Challenge.

It will be held at the Leatherdale Equine Center at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus on Saturday, Sept. 7.

“They’ve all had training they need and are ready to go to new homes, vetted and dental and shots, they’re ready for a new life,” Fitzpatrick said.

Besides the different horse events there will be silent auctions for art and bidding by pre-approved adoptees for the rehabilitated horses.

And for trainers like Alley, who have put in so much care and attention for the horses it will be a little bitter sweet.

“It’s a good opportunity to give her a good future,” Alley said.

Because for an animal that only months ago was a sad and pathetic sight, Luta is again under saddle and prancing with pride.

“Giving her a chance to kind of have a forever home and not to experience the trauma she’s been through,” added Alley.

A horse this beautiful deserves nothing less.

For details and information on the 12th Annual Trainer’s Challenge, click here.

Bill Hudson

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