Knotty horse Rescues


Athena is the inspiration that preceded the rescue efforts for other horses in need. She was the first Knotty Horse rescue and had the most critical timing to be saved from slaughter. Nicole came across a short video of a frantic and terrified 6-month-old filly scheduled to ship the following day. Nicole started a fundraiser with less than 24 hours to save the filly and ensure her care for the next 12 months. Through the kindness of several patrons, her safety was secured. Athena’s bail was posted with only 4 hours to spare before she was to be loaded onto a trailer departing for Mexico. Athena was instead transported to safety and lived the first 2 ½ years of her life growing up in a large pasture in Texas. Nicole was moved by the collaborative effort that quickly came together for the filly’s rescue and decided on the warrior name “Athena” for how she persevered in her young life. Nicole flew to TX to meet Athena as a yearling and it was love at first sight. She came to the Knotty Horse Ranch at the age of 3 and has been in training with Nicole since her arrival. Athena blossomed into a beautiful blue roan Azteca with a unicorn-worthy mane and tail. She is now a permanent family member at the ranch and enjoys lots of attention and trail riding. She is proving to be a talented young horse in the Cowboy Dressage and obstacles arena and the once slaughter-bound mare is now Nicole’s proud show partner. It was Athena’s successful rescue that inspired Nicole to donate a portion of all Knotty Horse product sales to other horses in need.


Dublin’s story is a unique one. This pony was purchased by Nicole’s late son, Everett. While watching a horse auction online, Nicole was getting her toddler ready for naptime. Everett tapped eagerly on the laptop keys on accident before being carried to his room for a nap. Nicole received a phone call the next day from the auction house requesting pick up of her new gelding! Everett’s aim on the right keys at the right time secured him as the winning bidder of a pony and caused a great deal of laughs. Dublin came out west and began his rehab at the Knotty Horse Ranch. He arrived in need of worming, dental work and antibiotics but settled right in. He proved to be a quiet and sweet pony and eventually found his forever home on a 500-acre ranch where he is loved by a family with several children and enjoys trails on the beach. 


Nicole received a phone call about a Clydesdale in poor condition that had been dropped off for auction. He was in such bad shape that the auction would not consign him. For fear of being purchased directly by a kill buyer, Nicole agreed to buy him. He was too thin and weak to make the trip out west and was not hauled home for 6 weeks. When he arrived at 12:30 AM after a long trailer ride, Nicole learned he was not halter broke as he stepped off the trailer, reared up and took off round the block. It took nearly 2 hours of jogging alongside him on the end of his lead rope before he decided not to flee and could gently be coaxed and walked onto the property walk. For several days, he could not be touched or handled. But with patience and a little determination, he was soon able to be examined by a vet and was given a body score of 1 due to his emaciated state. His ribs and spine protruded and his energy was low. He had been badly treated and had trepidation to let anyone near him. With a special diet and round the clock care, Guinness made a comeback and eventually learned to lead with Nicole, to pick up his feet and even enjoy neck scratches. He is truly a gentle giant. His tail was a 5-foot matted dreadlock and he eventually became confident enough to let Nicole detangle it for him. He enjoyed what may have been his first ever spa day and his winter coat was clipped and within 30 days, Guinness was looking like a new horse. Guinness finished his rehab at a local sanctuary where he now seeks out attention from the volunteers for affection and has put on over 300 pounds! He is looking mighty handsome and healthy these days and we are so grateful by our customer’s purchases that we were able to save this horse’s life in time and grant him a second lease on life.


River was saved from auction and though he arrived in decent physical condition and very handsome markings, the emotional scarring ran deep for this Appaloosa gelding. River required the longest length of time before he could be handled in comparison to some of our other rescue horses and time is what he was given. He required sedation to be handled for his veterinary examination and during his dental work, his tongue revealed deep scarring, suggesting a harsh wire was used in his mouth. But even after all he had endured, his eyes remained kind and he is an old soul. River was not forgetful of his past or his distrust in humans. After a month, he accepted forehead scratches from behind the safety of his grain bucket although nothing besides his bucket could be carried into his pasture or he ran in fear. After nearly 3 months and a deeper sense of trust with Nicole, River was successful in his join up work and the two were bonded. River began to seek out attention and follow Nicole around the property. He is now enjoying grooming time and hand walks and will eventually begin ground work and further under saddle training. Upon completion of his rehabilitation program, he will be available for adoption upon finding his perfect match and forever home.

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help us rescue horses in need.