Horse brings hope to Haley Crandall
She was not allowed by her doctors to ride until they had surgically moved her pacemaker to her shoulder.
âNow she can wear the necessary equipment to protect her,â said her mother, Tricia.
So when Make-A-WishÂ® Minnesota contacted Haley in August 2020, she told them she wanted a horse.
âIf you want to take a trip, when it’s over you will only have pictures and memories, but with a horse you will have a friend who will be with you for a long time,â she says. âA horse is very therapeutic for me. I feel so happy and much calmer with the horses. I am very grateful that so many people wanted to help me. ”
Make-A-Wish calls children whose wishes they wish âWish Kidsâ.
âWhen I told Haley her wish for a horse would come true, she was so excited she jumped for joy,â Tricia said. âIt’s miraculous. Haley is blessed beyond our wildest dreams. I am so happy that this wish brings her hope after all that she has been through with doctors and hospitals.
With family and friends watching from the stands, Haley finally met Fancy. She was told not to take a look as her mother took her by the hand and led her to the middle of the arena as Fancy was brought from the boarding area.
Haley’s first words when she looked into her horse’s eyes and stroked his mane were a soft “I love you” as Fancy snuggled softly on his cheek.
âOh my God, the whole evening has been so touching, especially meeting the horse and seeing Haley’s smile and a tear coming out of her eye,â Tricia said. âIt made my heart happy. This little girl needed it so badly. It was so sweet to see how they bonded right away.
Haley is already making plans for the summer. âShe’s going to be at the ranch a lot,â Tricia said. âShe also wants to join a 4-H group so that she can participate in horse shows in the future. These are good goals and give him something to look forward to.
Tricia said the first step will be for Haley and Fancy to work with a ranch trainer.
âIt’s perfect the way they put it together,â she said. âHaley even has a place in the tack room to keep all of her gear. Two people who board their horses at the ranch said any family members who wish to ride with Haley can borrow their horses at any time. Everyone has been so nice.
Haley and Tricia first visited Straight Rail Ranch last year.
âWe went to see Kristine Walsh’s horse, who is boarding there,â said Tricia. âWhen Make-A-Wish contacted the ranch in August about Haley’s wish, they made it their mission to find the right horse for them.
Since Haley’s goal is to eventually be able to compete in the ring, they wanted to find a horse that was both good with children and capable of being trained for competitions.
After a nationwide search, with the help of National Cutting Horse Association trainer Greg Coalson, they found the 5-year-old quarter horse in Texas. The ranch owns Fancy and will pay her food, board, and vet bills, but she will be at Haley to ride every time she visits the ranch. She will also receive free riding lessons.
Working with Make-A-Wish and the ranch, many businesses and individuals in the area donated money to make sure Haley had everything she needed to make her dream come true, including a vest and a protective helmet, western boots, hats and jackets, etc. horse grooming equipment and accessories.
Haley took a shopping spree this winter to pick out some riding clothes and accessories.
âI was very shy at first,â she says. âAfter choosing my saddle, I got more and more excited as I realized my wish was coming true. I couldn’t believe I could get this much. It was so amazing!
Tricia said they were overwhelmed by all the support from the community.
âSo many donations from local people and businesses have helped make her dream come true,â she said. “This shopping spree was like a fairy tale.”
Haley enjoys dancing and swimming, but her heart problems limit her participation.
âShe was unable to dance anymore after she started suffering from heart failure last year,â Tricia said.
Since last March, Haley has been homeschooled due to COVID.
âIt’s been very lonely for her so having a horse will be an amazing experience,â said Tricia. âI hope she can meet other kids at the ranch. It will be outside and easier to move away, so it will be safer.
Haley will eventually need another surgery to completely replace three valves in her heart.
âHer cardiologist believes she is stable enough to wait for valve replacement until she gets a little older,â Tricia said.
For now, Haley can’t wait to spend some time with the horse that made her wish come true.