Training a horse for adoption is a long road. For a horse in Franktown, we mean that literally.

Back in September, a horse ran up and down E-470 near Parker. Cars had to stop in the highway. Eventually, South Metro Fire Rescue corralled the stray horse.

It's been a month since then, and no owner ever came forward. The Colorado Horse Rescue Network got ownership of the horse, and now she's at Harmony Equine Center.

Folks at Harmony call her "Peoria" in honor of the street she was galloping down. They say owners usually claim their lost horses, so dealing with this kind of stray is unusual.

Harmony will make sure Peoria is healthy and train her for life in a new home. It's a three-step process that can take 2-3 months: health screening, basic training and riding.

"If they don't know [something], they're going to let you know," said Harmony's director, Garret Leonard. "One thing about horses is they don't lie."

Health screening

Before any real training can happen, the center needs to make sure Peoria is healthy. They make sure she isn't carrying any disease and can do the things the training requires.

This takes about a week.

Courtesy Harmony Equine Center.

Basic training

Not everyone needs a horse they can ride. Horses can just be companions and friends. After a Peoria goes through two weeks of basic training, she could be adopted as a companion.

The first step is halter breaking. Trainers will try to get a halter on her so they can lead her around. If she's having none of that, they'll teach her to accept the halter.

Next, they'll try to pick up Peoria's feet. She needs to be comfortable with that so they clean out her feet, trim her hooves and potentially put shoes on her.

That won't be the last time some one picks up and checks out her feet. Whoever adopts Peoria, they'll like have a farrier work on her feet. And kicking can be a big issue here.

Courtesy Harmony Equine Center.

"You never know if a horse is going to kick. That's the one thing you just can't ever predict," Leonard said. "But we do what we can to make sure she's as safe as possible."


"That's what takes the most amount of time," said Leonard. "Most people are looking to adopt a horse that they can ride."

Trainers will ride Peoria for about two and a half months. Harmony says the process is different for every horse. Some are used to it, and some can't stand it. But they say the best shot at adoption is breaking in to riding.

"[Peoria] appears to be a very sweet, kind, easy-going horse," Leonard said.

She's currently in the health screening stage at Harmony. Her real training begins next week.