Pet Connections

Saved by an Angel

Kim Lenz started looking into riding after a friend got a foster horse. “They were a love of mine since I was kid, but I couldn’t have one because my dad was allergic,” she explains. “I found someplace that would let me ride their horses so I didn’t need to have my own.” She took riding lessons for about 8 months then started leasing a quarter horse named Harley, which allows for partial responsibilities of the horse and unlimited riding. Kim took care of things like his feet and vetting, while the owners covered feed and housing. “I tried to buy him,” she laments, “but the owners loved him just as much.”

One day her friend Julie called her about a horse she was showing to another riding client, and Kim drove out to meet the horse. “She wasn’t technically pretty in the way horse buyers like to see but to me, she was beautiful,” Kim remembers. Angel, as she came to be known, showed almost no interest in the woman that was there to see her and instead began following Kim around. She came out of the barn and went straight to Kim. At the time, Lenz had only gone to look at the horse and wasn’t able to purchaser her because of the price, but the owner saw the spark between them and worked with Kim to make sure they were paired, and Angel became the love of her life.

“Just being around horses started to bring me out of my shell, but I felt an immediate and incredible bond with Angel. She gave me a lot of confidence to believe in myself.” As with so many of us, a difficult early life and insecurities had led her to feel smaller and quieter than she would have liked. Angel became the catalyst for her to move forward and blossom. Spending time at the barn brought her into a circle of people she had something in common with and her social wheels started turning. “I never thought I could do the things I’ve done looking back without Angel by my side.”

Angel and Kim were together for 9 years until a terrible accident. The owner of the barn Angel was kept at was unclear about the weather one night and left the horses out in a thunderstorm with the electric fence turned on. A bolt of lightning hit the fence and traveled to Angel, who was standing next to it. The next morning as Kim drove to the barn to greet her, she saw her beloved horse collapsed in the corral. “I saw her on the ground and my stomach went to my throat. Finding her like that was heartbreaking,” she shares.

The day after, she thought she would never recover. Her friends urged her to come back to the barn and continue to work around the other horses to keep her going. So did, and as one day turned into the next, she started to heal and 3 months later she found her current horse, Luna. “That brought me to a point where I finally was ready for another horse. Working around the barn and not having my own horse was too hard.” She smiles and a small light comes to her eyes. Her bond with Luna is a little different, she explains. “Angel was an in your face horse, with a lot of emotion. We had an instant connection. Luna took some time.” The later had been trained as a workhorse by a man and wasn’t as outgoing as her other horse was right away. But they worked at it, and after about 3 months of constant love and patience she came around. “She was well taken care of, but not loved on, or petted and shown a ton of affection so all that was new to her.” Kim has owned Luna for 4 yeas now, and now loves to follow Kim around. “The first time I saw her, she was tied to a post but pulled toward me a little; that was the first indication that there was something deeper in her we could work towards.”

Kim recommends that anyone interested in horses find a riding barn, where they can take introductory lessons to learn more about English or Western riding or just learn to be around horses. And kids may be interested in 4H where they can be around a great variety of animals. “Horses are very therapeutic; they can read emotions very well. So for anyone struggling or grieving, being around them can help,” she says, noting her own experiences. She suggests googling therapeutic barns in your area, noting she visited one specifically for veterans. She described how comforting Angel was to her when one day a family tragedy struck. “I went to the barn and she immediately rested her head on my back and gave me a giant horse hug.” And who wouldn’t benefit from that.

While horses can be expensive and time consuming, Kim believes it’s all worth it. “I could never be where I am today without one in my life.”


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023