While every MSSPA horse is well-loved, some horses feel truly special to the lucky staff members, volunteers, and visitors who have the opportunity to get to know them during their time at the shelter. Rita, a sweet and gentle Arabian mare well known for her wide-eyed looks, is just such a horse. Rita first arrived at MSSPA several years ago alongside another mare named Ruby, both with weeks-old foals by their side. With her affectionate and sensitive temperament, Rita quickly became a barn favorite. She welcomed attention from all comers and was happy to get along with most any horse or human. When greeting groups of young students on educational field trips to MSSPA, Rita would always give a wide-eyed look of total surprise before getting up the courage to come say hello. Soon, though, she would be found happily receiving all of the pets and scratches that small hands could offer!
When Sheila Alexander first met Rita, she immediately felt the same attraction that drew so many volunteers and visitors to Rita’s paddock. Sheila has a particular affinity for Arabian horses, which started when she worked at a farm that raised Arabs in her youth. Since that time she has owned several Arabians, including her now-retired riding horse Rohanna, who was foaled on the property and has lived there for thirty-three years. When Sheila’s oldest horse passed away in 2018, thirty-five years after she was foaled on the property, Sheila came to MSSPA to find a new companion for Rohanna. With Sheila’s current Anglo Arab riding horse, Rosie, heading to a boarding facility for the winter, Rohanna would have been by herself on the property, which is no kind of retirement for a horse! As a life-long horsewoman, Sheila knew she had to find a companion to keep Rohanna company over the winter. After fostering Rita for a couple of winter seasons, Sheila made the decision to formally and permanently adopt her this year. Sheila says that every morning Rita gives her signature wide-eyed look that seems to say, “Oh, what are we going to do today?”. During a winter when there was not always much to laugh about, Rita made Sheila laugh every single day.
All of us who know Rita are happy to see that she is spreading happiness and laughter beyond the MSSPA’s barn doors. Thank you to Sheila Alexander for fostering and now adopting a truly special horse, giving Rita a stall, a paddock, and a family to call her own.
Do you have room in your heart and your barn for a rescued horse? Please click the button to view the MSSPA horses available for adoption!