My name is Denise, I’m Tina’s mom. I would like to tell Tina and Junior’s story from my point of view because I've been there almost every minute with them watching their relationship grow. Tina started riding horses when she was 6 years, taking lessons almost every weekend. She never got bored with it, the interest kept growing. A couple of years ago we found out about Hope in the Valley and she started visiting. I think her favorite thing in the world was helping with Riverfest.! She wanted a horse of her own so bad, so I told her if that’s what she wanted, she would have to start saving her money, so she started saving birthday, report card and Christmas money.
She first saw Junior on the website, she thought he was very handsome. One day in June 2013 we were visiting Hope and Junior walked right up to the gate, as he was walking up Tina said “That’s Junior!! He’s beautiful!” The next time we went Ande said she could go get him out. When she walked out into the pasture he walked right up to her and started following her around. She was falling in love with him fast! She got to spend some time with him and ride too. I told her, “Tina, you should really consider him, he’s very sweet.” (She was looking at another horse at the time that a friend owned) The next day we went to see him again and she was really excited. When we got there Ande told me someone had just put an application on him. Tina was very sad. So, that was the beginning of July and we left for our summer vacation.
We got back about 2 weeks later and Tina wanted to go to Hope. She immediately went into the pasture. I held back to say “hi”to Joy. I said, “Is Junior gone?” And to my surprise she said “no”. I ran out into the pasture, Tina was already with him way down there. I was waving my arm “COME HERE!” and she thought I was waving “hi” (we still laugh about that) when I got closer I guess she could see the look on my face and she gave him the biggest hug around his neck and said “I’m getting him!” So she did! After that, Junior started giving her a really hard time during riding. He was spinning in circles, being very uncooperative. I thought, Is this the same horse? Ande and Dixie worked with Junior and Tina so much, actually letting us keep him there for over a month to see if this was really gonna work out. They determined that he was really barn sour, sounded like he hadn't been rode regularly in at least 2 years. I told Tina, “I really don't think this is going to work” and she said “Mom, I’m not giving up on him”.
Eventually, with a lot of help from Dixie, he began to settle down. In Sept. Dixie invited Tina to go to a fun show at Haysville. I was so nervous and Tina was too, she’d never been there before. I was amazed at how well they did! A couple of weeks later Tina and Junior rode in the Valley Center parade with Hope and gave rides, it went great! Shortly after that, we decided it was time for Junior to go to his new home in Goddard. I was so nervous because we were leaving the people that were helping her so much!
He’s now at an 80 acre farm with room to ride for miles! Junior is doing great, he still tries Tina from time to time, but it’s amazing how much HE’S actually teaching her! A few weeks back she was in the process of teaching him to back up when on Sat. 11-16, she was riding bareback, slipped off and broke her wrist. So she suffered a setback, will be in her cast until Dec. 27th, and hopefully then the Dr. will give her the ok to get back out riding....and BE CAREFUL! Tina loves Junior, she calls him her “teddy bear” . She’s looking forward to many years of love, friendship and riding.