Lucky Vaquero Legacy

Photo courtesy of Debra DeHoff
(1990 – )
Owned by Debra DeHoff
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of Debra DeHoff
Photo courtesy of Debra DeHoff
Photo courtesy of Debra DeHoff
Photo courtesy of Debra DeHoff
Not all horses who have had a career in sport have transitioned into equine therapy with as much ease as Lucky Vaquero Legacy. For eight years he competed in cutting, as well as team penning, performing at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress and Ohio Cutting Association competitions. Cutting requires an athletic, agile and willing horse possessing the ability to respond quickly and turn sharply to keep a cow from returning to the herd "“ not exactly the traits you would seek for a therapy horse.

But, at the age of 11 in 2001, Lucky transitioned to a new life in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and therapeutic riding to help Debra DeHoff found Serenity Farm Equestrian Center in Luckey, Ohio. EAP is a specialized form of psychotherapy using the horse as a therapeutic tool to address self-esteem and personal confidence, communication and interpersonal effectiveness, trust, boundaries and limit-setting, and group cohesion.

Said Founder Debra DeHoff, "The farm has been blessed in so many ways from supportive community members, dedicated volunteers and loving parents, but most of all, from the innate ability of horses to connect with people in ways that no other animal can "“ and in some cases, where horses are able to form a bond with people who cannot or will not connect to other people."

Since that time Lucky has never slowed down or lost the enthusiasm for his work as a therapy horse. Always willing, he does all that is asked of him and more. Lucky comes when called, is sensitive to all those around him, seeks attention from kind people, loves children, and is a great teacher to many. He has worked with children, teens, adults and families that are connected with cerebral palsy, autism, learning delays, anger management, low self "“esteem, victims of abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

The role Lucky was made for, though, was to transform the life of Miss Kamryn. At age 2, her parents were told that because of her cerebral palsy, Kamryn would never walk. They did not accept this dire prognosis and, instead, sought alternative therapies that would be aggressive in treatment.

For three years, Lucky's careful steps ensured that Kamryn's body would learn to move as it should. She went from being carried into the barn/arena space, to standing at the rail, holding on with assistance, (as she watching the horses), to now walking into the barn, right up to the pony she rides for 60 minutes! She was so tiny then, but Lucky's careful steps remained steady, and only moving when asked by his professional team. He never took a wrong step!

She still does not use her hands, and does not talk, but her mother is so proud of all that her daughter has accomplished at the farm. Together, Kamryn and Lucky made for a huge impact on all who worked together with them. Kamryn's mom always takes time to pet Lucky, with tears in her own eyes when she does. They have a special connection that will always be in their hearts to share.

When Lucky works in the psychotherapy program at the farm, his sensitive side understands and helps communicate solutions to troubled teens in a way that humans cannot. He earns their trust, keeps it, and builds for them a path to a better future. He gives hope and inspiration, and for that we are truly lucky to know him.