From living on garbage to belle of the barn

Whenever Susie Martell feels dispirited, she looks to her off track Thoroughbred Crowning Glory for inspiration. Two years after adopting the badly starved OTTB, her beautiful mare is better and stronger than ever.

Whenever Susie Martell feels dispirited, she looks to her off track Thoroughbred Crowning Glory for inspiration. Two years after adopting the badly starved OTTB, her beautiful mare is stronger and better than ever.

Two years having passed since Susie Martell adopted a horse who once subsisted on dumpster garbage, the kind-hearted kindergarten teacher stood back and beheld her now-beautiful Thoroughbred.

Crowning Glory’s dappled coat glistened in the late day Florida sun, her round body showing not a hint of the ravages of hunger, her perfect head held proudly.

“Sometimes I just stand back in awe. She has come so far in two years,” says Martell, who adopted the OTTB from the South Florida SPCA following a dramatic rescue effort. “Whenever I feel like I just want to give up on something, I take a look at her, and at her rescue pictures, and I’m inspired all over again. Her will to survive, and her ability to remain sweet and trusting, despite what she endured, is incredible.”

Crowning Glory
New name: Hopefully Mine
Sire: Caller I.D.
Dam: Crown and Sceptre, by Affirmed
Foal date: March 5, 1996
So after a dramatic rescue effort in June 2014 that saved six Thoroughbreds from the Miami-Dade region of Florida, and spotlighted Crowning Glory—the most emaciated and least likely to live—Martell quietly rang in her two-year anniversary of owning the horse she renamed Hope. On Aug. 7, Martell lugged “a ton of carrots” out to her beloved horse, and lavished her with a spa day. “We did a little riding, she got a bath, and she grazed,” says Martell, who notes that the day she passed papers and adopted Hope has been a “life changer” for her.

“In the two years I’ve had her, I’ve learned so much about horses and I’m just in awe of her,” says Martell, admitting she has taken upwards of 500 pictures of her mare. “My phone is always with me, and I keep my camera in the car. Sometimes I’ll just be walking her from the barn to the arena to ride, and she’ll stop, look around, and I just have to take her picture.”

Martell plans to explore the possibility of showing her amazing OTTB, Hope.

Martell plans to explore the possibility of showing her amazing OTTB, Hope.

Hope has gone from wretched throwaway to a horse so beautiful she looks far younger than her 20 years.

Rehabbed on a feed regimen of 10 pounds of Triple Crown Low Starch feed, fish oil, and five to six flakes of hay a day, and worked under saddle to build her topline, Martell is so proud of her SPCA cover girl horse, whose before/after photos grace their literature, that she is considering finding a coach and training for a horse show. And as she decides their next steps, she is just soaking in the glory of being Hope’s owner and caretaker.

“I took her off the property on a trail ride for the first time and she was really, really good. I ride her five out of seven days a week, heading out early evening when the heat of the day cools. Thinking back on those early days together, and the heartache of the mare’s struggle, to where they’ve come on their journey, words like grateful and lucky bubble up as Martell describes their anniversary day. “I still can’t believe it. Sometimes I just stand back in awe of all that we’ve been through, and how far she’s come in two years,” she says. “Hope is a huge success story, and an inspiration to me and everyone who knows her. She really is the belle of the barn.”

Please read about Hope’s rescue here:

13 responses to “From living on garbage to belle of the barn”

  1. Debra Mccray

    What a amazing and beautiful story! With everything going on in the world today this really bought a lot of happiness to my day. I am so happy for the both of you as the pictures show clearly how much joy the two of you bring to each other. Hope is absolutely stunning.

  2. Tonya LaFarr

    Some day I hope to be able to help an OTTB this story gives
    Me hope of doing just that. The mare looks absolutely stunning.

    1. Susie Martell

      Thank you Tonya! This was the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I love this horse more than words can say. She brings me great joy! I do hope you find that joy someday as well.

      1. Tonya LaFarr

        I really hope so Susie. I’ve followed thoroughbred stories for as long as I can remember. My fiancé Ryan and I have talked about it a lot and he’s agreed to help me find the perfect OTTB he lives in Indiana and his local sale barn for livestock always has horses sold so he said I can choose 2 horses to make into riding horses and since he has 500 Holsteins on 30 acres that I can get the OTTB’S and turn them into western riding horses. He is downsizing his milk cows to bring in beef cattle. We are also bringing his vet to the sale so any potential horse can be checked over. I’m excited to be able to help give a OTTB a wonderful loving life. Hugs to Hope 🙂

    2. Nan

      I hope you do!
      There are so many programs ( ours is Florida TRA C) we have 200 OTTB ‘s just waiting for a home !
      Check out our website and contact me if you’re in the area

  3. Mary McLeod

    Susie, the deep bond you and Hope share is very evident in your photo. You have both made a difference in each other’s life. Thank you for making the world better, Mary in Boone

    1. Susie Martell

      Thank you for your kind words Mary! We do share an incredible bond and it grows stronger every day. I often wonder who rescued who!

  4. Susan Friedland-Smith

    What a heartwarming story. Older horses are such loves!

    1. Susie Martell

      Yes Susan they are! She is amazing in every way and age is just a number for her. I often have talks with Hope when I am riding her and ask her to act like a 20 yr old once in awhile! Lol😊 Very glad she doesn’t act her age but I would adore her no matter what.

  5. colmel

    What a wonderful story! I often wonder how those poor animals who were saved by the So. FL SPCA are doing. Obviously, Hope is thriving (both the horse and the sentiment). Brings tears to my eyes!

    1. Susie Martell

      Thank you Colmel! Hope is thriving and many of our adopted rescues are as well. I appreciate your kind words. I am often emotional when I reflect upon our journey together. Love her dearly!

  6. Cheri

    What a wonderful pair.

    1. Susie

      Thank you Cheri😊

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