Herd Member | Sarah Pavone

Hi Herd!

My name is Sarah and I’m a 28 year old horse obsessed girl living in New York. I have 5 incredible horses; 3 OTTBS, 1 Oldenburg, and 1 very mischievous yet adorable mini. I ride and compete in the hunter/jumper world, and excel in retraining thoroughbreds that retire from the track. 

When I came across Herd Of Zebras, I was immediately curious. What’s this about? So, I explored. I found an amazing community with people just like me, that have gone through some rough times and still came out strong and individual. The Herd allows you to be you, scars and all, and accepts you for who you are. There’s just something so full about being involved in a community that shows you that it’s okay to be unique, it’s okay to be different, and that you’re enough. That’s why I’d like to share the story of one of my horses! She has a story that truly fits what this brand stands for. 

Serena is a 13 year old 17.1 hand chestnut Oldenburg mare. That’s right. CHESTNUT. MARE. Scary right? WRONG. Let me tell you why. I met Serena as she walked off the slaughter truck at a barn I was working at in 2017. I was asked to try her out to see if she’d somehow, maybe fit into the schoolie line before being sent away. When they walked her off the trailer, my jaw absolutely dropped to the floor. She was stunning, poised, and literally the horse I’d dreamt about my entire life, and I was going to ride her. She did everything I asked of her. Walk, trot, canter, and jumped without question. I got off her and knew she had to be a part of my family. I had to have her. 24hrs later, she was mine (thanks mom!). We spent the next few months figuring her out. I had no history on her so it was all a guessing game. The first issue started with her rotated pelvis. Fixed that. The next issue was the farrier. She was TERRIFIED of the farrier. She would rear and stomp and kick HARD. Serena is the type of horse that would hurt you first, before you could hurt her, which is why she most likely ended up where she was to begin with. I figured someone must have really hurt her for her to act like that. But what was interesting was that despite the hurt I saw as I got to know her, she was the sweetest and most caring horse I’ve ever handled. She was respectful and tried to do everything I asked. She had a huge heart. So, thanks to the best farrier on Long Island, we fixed her fear of having her feet done. 

Next issue: horrible attachment issues to my other horses. Turns out, she was a mommy. I later found out from someone who recognized her from photos I posted. Her babies were taken and sold and it was clear she didn’t take that lightly. She carried her hurt with her. In March 2019, after she had some time off, I went to get on her and she reared and flipped on me. Twice. I was at the point where I had given up. She had become unhappy, unruly, dangerous, and unrideable. I was toying with the idea of selling her to someone that had more time to figure her out. But my heart hurt for her. After speaking with some friends, I chose to keep her and dive into helping her heal. I reached out to Sonny Garguilo for help. Once he showed me how to help her, the rest is history. She’s now an extremely willing partner in crime. She’s the lead on trails, she jumps the moon, takes care of my students, and most importantly, feels confident in herself. 

Many people tried to convince me to sell her; that she was never going to be the horse I thought she could be. They labeled her as dangerous and untrained, and they said she was worthless. Well, they were dead wrong. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, no matter how broken your past is, or how low your confidence is, you can heal. You can heal from anything you go through. You can’t hold your past as the definition of who you are. Find your herd. Find the people that will help and support you along your journey. Find the people that will allow you to be yourself in your purest and truest form. There’s no greater feeling than being at peace with yourself. 

Serena is permanently a part of my herd, never to change hands again; which is exactly what she deserves. 

If you guys want to follow my horses and our adventures together, you can follow us on @ohmye_06 and @milestone_farms on Instagram! We love to chat, and have some friends, and send support to whoever needs it!