Injured Woman Spends Her Second Chance At Life Rehabilitating Horses

by Rebecca Landman
Rebecca is a writer living the Los Angeles dream. She loves hiking, music, and crocheting on her couch to the background lull of Netflix. She believes our world is complex. By sharing and listening to each other’s stories, we unpack that complexity layer by layer, learning more about who we are and how we want to live our lives. She writes to keep learning.

In 1997, doctors removed a tumor from Theresa Batchelor’s neck before it nearly severed her spinal cord. Though the surgery went well, doctors told her she’d likely never walk again. Batchelor, however, chose to take that diagnosis as a suggested hypothesis rather than ultimate truth.

She plunged herself into physical therapy, and via miraculous willpower and unwavering support, regained use of her arms and legs. Her daily life was still riddled with pain and doctors warned her against partaking in activities that might jolt her neck out of place. Old favorites like rollerblading and horseback riding were now out of the question.

One day, though, while watching her children enjoy a horseback riding lesson, she felt compelled to get back on a horse. She risked paralysis for a chance at happiness — and that choice has completely changed the course of her life.

A few weeks later, she and her family adopted and rehabilitated Beauty, an abused mare. The experience slowly spiraled them into opening and operating their own animal rescue, Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue, four years later.

Scroll through our gallery to learn how one little horse completely transformed her new owners’ lives for the better.

[H/T: Ocala Style]

women and horse

Back in 1997, doctors removed a tumor from Theresa Batchelor’s neck that was threatening to sever her spine. While the surgery was successful, Batchelor’s doctors firmly believed she’d never walk again.

Batchelor, though, determined to prove them wrong, dove straight into physical therapy. After devoted work, she amazingly regained use of both her arms and legs.

However, she still had proprioception — a condition requiring that she look directly at her limbs to know where they were in relation to the rest of her body, as she had no feeling below her neck.

Moreover, doctors warned her against partaking in activities that might shift her spine around too much. Tragically, this meant she could no longer enjoy one of her all-time favorite pastimes — horseback riding.

woman with horse

So, Batchelor returned to her job as a Program Logistics Manager, part-time, hoping to regain some sense of normalcy.

However, she soon found herself suffering from unbearable neck pain all over again.

woman and horses

When doctor’s later found herniated disks in her spine, too trickily positioned to safely accommodate additional surgery, Batchelor was simply told to find some way to endure this new pain, indefinitely.

As the stress from her job began further exacerbating this constant pain, she quit, too desperate for a change to stay even a few more years and qualify for retirement benefits.

woman rides horse

One day soon after, while watching her children partake in horseback riding lessons, Batchelor felt compelled to ride again — even though that choice could potentially plunge her into paralysis.

As she told Ocala Style, “As soon as I saw them up on the horses, I knew I had to try to ride again.

“I asked the barn owner if there was an extra horse I could ride while the kids were taking their lessons. I just had to do it.

“As soon as I was on his back, I felt like my life was beginning again.”

sick horse

Over the next few weeks, Batchelor began hearing about an Arabian mare, named Beauty, who’d been neglected and abused.

Inspired by her life-changing ride, Batchelor adopted Beauty, telling Ocala Style, “I knew I needed that mare as much as she needed me.”

beauty horse

After diligent effort, Batchelor gained Beauty’s trust and began bringing her back to life.

Of the experience, Batchelor explained, “I always have to be very careful around the horses.

“A wrong tumble could put me in a wheelchair again. But Beauty is always so careful with me. She seems to know my limitations.”

horse acupuncture

Shortly after following her intuition and gifting Beauty with her new forever family, Batchelor and her husband leased a six-stall barn nearby, and began adopting and rescuing more horses.

At first, she said, “We didn’t think of ourselves as a rescue.

“We were simply helping out horses.”

Beauty horse

However, over the next few years, their rescue kept growing.

Four years later, completely inspired by Beauty and the other horses Batchelor and her family had since purchased and rescued, the family moved to the country full-time, applied for 5019(c)(3) non-profit status, and officially opened Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue.

Ten years since officially starting her rescue, Batchelor has helped save countless animals.

She guides each horse along its journey from terror and sickness toward leading a happy, loved life with a new forever family.

She told Ocala Style, “I feel very blessed. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”

horse healing

Batchelor embraced her second chance at life and now pays her good fortune forward — helping other wounded souls find solace.

Just as the sanctuary’s motto reads, Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue truly has been and continues to be a place “Where Lives Begin Again.”


Now, Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue is hard at work, raising more funds to sustain its rescues’ rehabilitation.

They’re currently competing for $10,000 from Pet Paradise’s Life is Short, Make a Splash contest.

horse hug

When all hope seemed lost, a gorgeous horse walked right into this woman’s life, leading her onto her fated path as healer and helper.

What do you think of Beauty’s rescue? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE this incredible journey with any animal lovers in your life!