How Beauty's Haven
The Batchelor Family
Theresa had to
undergo surgery some years ago to remove a tumor that was
slowly growing inside her spinal cord. She had been
treated for over a year before the surgery for a viral
infection of the spine. But her symptoms got worse, and
an MRI revealed a tumor was almost severing her spinal cord
-- so she underwent surgery. The tumor was removed but not
without doing permanent nerve damage.
Life for the
Batchelor family changed dramatically. Theresa was
left quadriplegic and was told she'd never walk again.
But with much determination, physical therapy, and faith,
she did regain use of her limbs. However, Theresa has no
feeling or proprioception below her neck - she is what is
called an "incomplete quadriplegic." She has
no idea where her arms and legs are unless she is looking at
them. She was advised not to do many of the activities
she enjoyed before her injury, such as horseback
Theresa returned to her job as a Program
Logistics Manager with the Federal Government. A
couple of years later, she experienced more health problems
and had to retire on disability -- only three months short
of 20 years.
An MRI showed that Theresa had three herniated disks at the
same location along her spine where the tumor had been
removed. Surgeons refused to do anything due to the high
risk that she could end up quadriplegic again, and Theresa was told
to learn to live with the pain. Not long after, Theresa
and Bob started sending their kids for riding lessons.
While the kids had their lesson, longing to be back on a horse
again, Theresa started riding an Arabian gelding. A few
weeks later, she received a call about a young Arabian mare
that had been seized by the county due to neglect/abuse.
Theresa knew she needed the mare as much as the mare needed
The mare, now named Beauty, had been
traumatized and didn't like people (especially men). She was
young, knew very little, and had to be trained from the ground up.
Theresa spent a lot of time each day working with Beauty. Over the
course of a few months, Theresa taught the mare to work off voice commands in
order to help her from being confused with Theresa's arms, hands, and
legs that would sometimes tremble due to nerve damage. Beauty
seems to somehow sense Theresa is "different" and takes good care of
Theresa and Beauty developed a beautiful and trusting relationship and
Beauty will be with her always. It took Beauty four years, but she
has even come to let Bob touch her! Theresa feels very blessed
that Beauty chose her to be her human.
Theresa wants to eventually
establish a therapy program for people with challenges such as hers.
Horses are the best therapy for her -- physically and mentally.
People ask how, with no feeling or proprioception, she manages to stay
on a horse and she tells them -- she has no idea -- it must be angels
keeping her up there! Theresa feels very blessed to have a family that has helped her in her dream of
helping horses. And it seems that the horses that need help the most,
the ones that many humans would give up on, find their way to Beauty's
After Theresa's surgery, the doctors explained how fortunate she was be
alive, and suddenly everything in life took on a different meaning to
her. Words from the Tim McGraw song, "Live Like You Are Dying,"
have a special meaning to Theresa: she wants to help all needy horses
like there is no tomorrow. They all deserve a chance. The
young and the old -- and breed doesn't matter. And to watch a horse
that has arrived battered, depressed, and "lost" recover, grow
strong ,and regain its pride -- this is a feeling that is overwhelming.
They are all a wonderful gift from God and deserve to be treated with
dignity and respect.
P.O. Box 53
Morriston, FL 32668