At Glory Bound Rescue Ranch, miracles happen every day, and this is a tale that truly warms the heart. It all began when we rescued Cherry's mom, Sage, from the unforgiving grasp of a kill pen. Sage's story was one of hope, as she found her way to us just in time. But little did we know, we were about to be blessed with an unexpected surprise - Sage was pregnant.
This unexpected twist of fate brought forth the incredible journey of Ellie and Cherry. Ellie, an aspiring equestrian, had always dreamed of having a horse companion. Her heart was set on a rescue, even though conventional wisdom suggested starting with a well-trained horse for her first. Then, one fateful day, while casually browsing pet adoption listings, she stumbled upon a photo that would change her life forever - a picture of Cherry. There was something about Cherry that captured Ellie's heart like no other.
Read Ellie and Cherry's story
Written by Ellie Karrigan
I got into riding horses after my older sister started taking lessons. Being the younger sister, I had to do everything my older sister did. When Erika grew out of her horse phase, I never did. It became a thing where I’d browse the internet in my free time, looking at adoptable horses and horses for sale. I knew in my heart that I wanted a rescue, but I was also told that for my first horse, I should probably get a well-trained one. I remember browsing on Petfinder like I always did, not expecting much, and seeing a picture of Cherry. There was just something about her, but I couldn’t put it into words. I’ve seen so many amazing horses on Petfinder, but none stuck in my head like her. I let it go that night, not knowing she would be the first thought in my head the next morning. When I got home from school that afternoon, I mentioned it to my mom. After loads of convincing, she said we could go meet her, but we would not be adopting her.
We made the hour drive to Glory Bound Rescue Ranch on a very cold winter day. I remember
walking into the barn and just melting. It felt like I had found a missing piece; it was love at first sight. We got to see Cherry’s personality in the indoor arena, and I think that’s when it clicked for my mom. We decided to sign the papers. We set a day for the lovely ladies at Glory Bound to trailer Cherry two hours to Homer Glen. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep the next couple of days because I was so excited.
I remember vividly the red trailer, and Cherry turned around and jumped off the trailer. My mom gave me the “What did we just get ourselves into?” look. It was definitely a challenge at first. Even though I had taken riding lessons for years, I realized there was so much more to learn, and there always would be. I was there almost every day of the week, after school, and even sometimes at 6 am before school. I received some amazing help and advice from barn friends. The first year was all about the basics: groundwork, picking up her feet for the farrier, standing for baths, building trust, etc.
The day I got on Cherry for the first time ever was a moment I will never forget. I was just hand walking her in the arena when my friend at the barn said, “Are you going to get on her today?” I told her I wasn’t planning on it, but this time I thought, why not? I ran, yes, ran, to get my helmet. My friend held Cherry at the mounting block. I took a deep breath and swung my leg over her bareback. We took a few steps, led by my friend. It was when we stopped, and she sighed, that I broke down in tears of happiness. Getting a young, untrained rescue horse is something people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do. The amount of time, blood, sweat, and tears put in paid off. I remember going home and walking in to find my mom sitting on the couch. I don’t know how she knew. I was standing there, grinning from ear to ear with watery eyes. I didn’t say a word, but she said, “You did not...You did!? You got on her!!”
Now, Cherry and I love riding together, whether it’s a relaxed trail ride or practicing things in the arena. She loves to run, whether I’m on her or not. And let me just say, she is quite a speedy little girl. I started her on barrels just for fun, and we went to a show last summer. We participated in trot barrels, which was a huge achievement. But it’s not about the placement that day; it was really about all the fears we overcame and all the new things we experienced. That ribbon means so much more than “we got 3rd place.”
Cherry is my heart horse. She’s my happiness and my reason to keep going on the hard days. She is extremely smart and very eager to learn. She knows when I’m feeling overconfident and will test me sometimes. There is not a day that goes by that I regret adopting Cherry. Growing with her has been the most beautiful thing, both physically and mentally. Cherry is my best friend; she gives the best hugs when I’m down, she knows how to make me laugh when I need it, and no two days are the same, which is the best. She loves treats, neck scratches, and kisses! Oddly, she loves drinking from the hose too. Cherry never fails to make me smile and always reminds me how thankful I am that she came into my life.
In the end, Cherry's story isn't just about third-place ribbons or riding accomplishments; it's a testament to the transformative power of love, dedication, and the unbreakable bond between a girl and her rescue horse. Cherry, with her playful spirit and loving nature, is a reminder that sometimes, the best things in life come when we take a chance and believe in the extraordinary.