As a child, little Megan Hansford was shy to the point of being a bit of a loner. She tended to hang back from family gatherings, and well out of the limelight.
“She never had much self-confidence,” says her mother Tracey Hansford. “She was always a quiet one who’d come home from school, do her homework and pretty much kept to herself.”
But all that began to change last July, shortly after the sweet-natured 9-year-old accompanied her parents and older sister on a trip to look at a sale- horse, a retired racehorse named E Factor.
When the group bustled into the barn and presented themselves to the tall, dark bay, the animal lovingly gazed at the shy girl, and, from that point on, hasn’t taken his eyes off her.
“E Factor didn’t want my attention or my older daughter’s,” Hansford says. “He only wanted Megan’s. He started nuzzling her and pulling her hair; and Megan made it pretty clear that she wanted this horse.”
The Florida-bred gelding wasn’t a great performer on the racetrack, earning only approximately $24,000 before he was listed for sale by CANTER Kentucky. But it appears that Race name: E Factor
Sire: Forbidden Apple
Dam: Forgotten Secret
Foal date: March 16, 2005his true calling was as cheerleader and perhaps life coach to the young Ohioan who has simply blossomed since they met.
No longer a wallflower, Megan speaks her mind and stands up for herself, Hansford says. “It’s incredible. She’s opened up much more, and now she talks to everybody.”
Everyday after school when homework is complete, Hansford and her daughter drive eagerly to the nearby barn where Megan boards E Factor, and the pair then proceeds to just charm the heck out of each other.
“Megan has taught him to give kisses and hugs,” she says. “She’ll tap her shoulder and he’ll stretch his neck over the top of her shoulder, and pull her close to him.
“His personality is amazing. He’s just got a big heart, and the love he is showing Megan has pulled her out of her shell.”
Megan has been content to play with E Factor on the ground as he is retrained for 4H Showmanship and western pleasure horse; but, last week, she finally climbed into the saddle, and the 16-hand gelding took extra care with his special passenger.
“It was so cute. He turned his head and watched her as she got on,” Hansford says. “Then she clucked to him, and he slowly walked forward.”
They’ll take it easy at first, while Megan gets accustomed to riding an ex-racehorse.
Her world has already grown so much, and her confidence too, as the pair begin to shine bit by bit, and people notice them.
On the phone, Megan speaks confidently, happily: “I think he’s the most kind and generous horse!” she says.
He has given her what no other could: inner strength.
A horse who couldn’t battle to victory on the racetrack has somehow instilled in his young friend a backbone of steel. On the outside, the young girl looks unchanged; but everyone has noticed how a child once meek has learned to be strong.
“Everybody notices it!” her mother says. “She doesn’t care what anybody says about her anymore. She used to be so quiet. Now she stands up for herself. This horse has taught her that.”
E Factor and Megan, what a pair: look out world! Another young lady has grown strong loving a racehorse nobody else wanted.
11 responses to “Love from a racehorse helps a shy child blossom”
As Tracey, Megan’s mom is a friend of mine, reading this story touched me on such a deep level. As an avid supporter of rescuing race horses and finding them homes, I can’t express how much this story means to me. For bringing Megan out of her shell and for E. Factor who is getting the love he always wanted. Something very special happens between a horse and his human and this right here sums it up perfectly. It is a bond that grows daily beyond what words can express. Beautifully captured and written Susan. I look forward to sharing the story with others in the hopes to raise awareness on the breed as not to be over looked and in the hopes of inspiring those who are deep in the sport to remember why they got involved in the first place. Just a feel good story and a half!
Thank you, once again, for inspiring all of us. Our horses give us extraordinary love while also challenging us to be stronger and better humans. We are forever changed by them.
Thank you for sharing the heartwarming story of E Factor and Megan. May they share a long, happy life together.
I believe this. My horses have helped me in so many ways. Good for the 2 of them. There’s a love between horse and human that a lot of people don’t know.
This story is wonderful. I was moved to tears. I am so happy for Megan and E Factor. Thank goodness they found each other through all the important work people do to place retired racehorses in new careers. I love this story!
Another beautiful story of love reaching across the species. Thank you Susan for seeking out and sharing these wonderful stories! Sometimes the real winner in them comes out in a different arena!
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and touching story about Megan and E Factor! There is nothing quite like the love between a horse and his girl, but this story is extaordinary.
Such a touching story about Megan and E Factor! I know they will share wonderful adventures together. What a fantastic team.
I was 10 when Bridgette Belle came into my life. What a guardian angel she was!
Kids and horses are made for each other!
thank you for this wonderful and touching story.
“A horse who couldn’t battle to victory on the racetrack has somehow instilled in his young friend a backbone of steel.” – Great line Susan.
As you know, these horses are winners even if they are not fast enough to win on the track. Thanks for the inspirational story.
Ken Lian, DVM
What a nice comment, thank you. 🙂
This is SUCH a wonderful story, Sue. Time and again we see the healing power of horses, and your story showcases this reality in such a beautiful way. THANK you!
Sally, it’s so true! I don’t know how horses work their magic, but there’s nothing like the feeling you get when they’re soft muzzle finds your hand, and their warm earthy scent tickles your nose.