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Carrots, peppermint snacks and love

Falcon was seized by law enforcement for neglect and came to the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center with several other horses. The Tennessee Walking Horse arrived underweight, and he also had no handling and was not halter broke. Falcon was also very unsure and nervous around people. But, the jumpy horse had potential, and now that he was at the Harmony Equine Center, he could receive the care and rehabilitation he needed to thrive.

While at the Harmony Equine Center, Falcon received necessary deworming, vaccinations, farrier and dental work and gained more than 100 pounds within his first three months. Harmony trainers worked with Falcon, and he learned to be caught, lead, pick up his feet, be saddled and eventually ridden before catching his new adopters’ eye.

Maria and Pete are both teachers in Denver public schools. One of the fundraisers Maria had for her students was to collect supplies for the Dumb Friends League, and in the process of becoming familiar with the League, she learned about the Harmony Equine Center. “My husband was a wrangler for many years and would come back and forth from Ohio to Estes Park to work with horses,” said Maria. “We moved to Colorado in 2018 and had the mindset that someday we might adopt a horse. We looked at where we would keep a horse since we live in a condo. Once we located a stable, I started looking on the website for horses.”

When Maria and Pete went to Harmony, they had three horses in mind to view. As Maria passed by a stall, she saw Falcon, whose name coincidentally connected to a family name. “I said, ‘Look at this beautiful horse and his name. It must be fate,’” said Maria. “We did still look at two other horses, but I had my heart set on Falcon from the first time I laid my eyes on him. His eyes warmed my soul.”

The couple visited Falcon at Harmony for about six weeks before adopting him. During that time, Pete was able to ride Falcon, show his skills and knowledge of horses, and become familiar with the horse who would become part of their family.

The transition from Harmony to a new location set Falcon back quite a bit. Maria reported that it took about a year for Pete to get on him. “My husband has spent countless hours with Falcon,” said Maria. “Pete nurtures him and has the patience of a saint. My husband is the kindest and most gentle man I’ve ever met, and he treats animals in the same manner. He has never forced Falcon to do anything frightening or uncomfortable. Pete has definitely pushed Falcon’s limits but in a nurturing way that has allowed for Falcon to blossom into an amazing animal.”

Falcon has become a trusting and loving horse with Maria and Pete. He lives at a stable close to the couple’s home, in his own run with horses on either side, and Falcon even has a best friend, Kayenne. Falcon’s favorite things include being spoiled by Maria with treats of carrots and peppermint snacks, receiving deep scratching on the side of his neck and drinking from the water hose. The workers at the stables brag that they can now pet him. Falcon knows the sound of Maria’s voice the minute she walks on the property, and the duo goes for walks to bond and connect. Falcon is living his best life!

When asked what Falcon has added to their lives, Maria said, “I’m a city girl through-and-through. Adopting Falcon has given me a deeper appreciation for the great outdoors. It’s also helped my husband and I connect in a way that allows us to share this incredible animal together. We don’t have children of our own together, and Falcon has become our ‘baby.’”

Falcon is bringing joy to people beyond Maria, Pete and those that work at the stable. Pete began an equine program at his high school, and Falcon is part of the education he provides to his students. No one rides Falcon, but Pete uses Falcon to show grooming and other aspects of horses.

“It’s hard to imagine our life before Falcon, and he truly has been a blessing for us in so many ways. Keep up the good work, and thank you Harmony staff for an amazing job you do every single day!”

Visit to learn more about the facility, including horses for adoption.

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