Our Horse n' Hound Team
Kaitlyn "Kait" Cruz
In 2016, Kait's life was turned inside out after the loss of her grandfather from cancer. In her mourning, her love of horses blossomed into a faith-filled purpose of rescue, healing, and education. After rescuing Autumn in October of 2016, Kait began to share their journey of struggle and growth with her little online following. Just as steadily as her story's following grew, so did her interest in training, rehabilitating, and rescuing horses. Eventually, Kait decided to formally rescue an abused, ex-racehorse named Norman. Shortly after, she pulled Lila from a rescue, post-bail from a kill-pen in Louisiana. Thus, in the summer heat, The HNH Sanctuary was born.
Through developing her methods of natural horsemanship, Kait has learned how to rehabilitate the mind, body, and soul of high risk abuse and neglect cases. Her media and pursuit of being a pastor has created the perfect platform to educate the public about both spiritual and animal welfare. Accolades in the horse world have never been important, however, her experience as a Hunter/Jumper, and now taking on formal German Dressage, has now opened the possibilities of showing the world that "rescued" doesn't mean "worthless".
In a similar fashion, Kait aims to do the same with medium to large, and severe neglect dog cases. Through rehabilitating a dog's mind, body, and soul, any dog can be transformed and healed, becoming an ideal companion for willing families and needing individuals.
Each horse didn't just touch Kait's life and change her for the best, but their stories also inspired those whom heard it. The HNH Sanctuary's purpose came to fruition, a sanctuary for the broken to heal with the rescued. With a heart for animal rights and mental health awareness, this (soon to be) non-profit, is in aim of a community where brokenness is welcomed and healing is found, for all creatures.
Liberty and ground work
Autumn aka "Autumn The Filly"
Autumn was not a "first choice" horse. When Kait found her, Autumn's owner at the time was going through a divorce, not allowing Autumn to have the time and attention she needed. Eventually, money ran out and in came Kait. They weren't the best match. Autumn was feral, skinny, dangerous, and would eventually fall very ill due to parasites and phenomena. Kait was green, a first time horse owner, and wanted something "better". But, fates intertwined and Autumn came home in October of 2016. Thus began the trial by fire and a love earned through patience, empathy, and discipline. Through many ups and downs in health and locationally for boarding, the journey was tumultuous but, their bond only grew stronger in the process. Now, Autumn is healthy, happy, and living at home with her two sanctuary friends. Autumn was the missing piece that changed Kait's life forever.
- Born: July 9th, 2015
- Rescued: October 10th, 2016
- Job: to be an example of the power of patience and building trust, liberty/desensitization clinic horse
- Likes: scratches, being groomed, teething on everything, training with mom, playing with Norman, bucking in the turn out, eating everything possible
- Dislikes: being told "no", rain, empty food bins
- Therapy Pal
- Clinic Example
- Advanced obstacle work
- Already under saddle, Autumn is going into dressage in the summer of 2018 to build up strength in her hocks and prepare her for the hunter ring in 2020.
- Basic liberty: turn on hunches, turn on forehand, spacing, following, infinity patterns
- Desensitization master
- Working on: under saddle basics, building strength, lunging, bow to lay down
DRESSAGE AND HUNTER JUMPERS
Norman aka "Coffee In Carmel" and "Storm Bid"
Norman came home in June of 2017 when Kait and Autumn moved with their family to horse property. He was an Off-The-Track-Thoroughbred, or OTTB, found on CANTER USA through a trainer add. The rehoming non-profit that was in charge of getting him a new home, wasn't the party that owned him but, knew his whole story. After coming of the track once, he fell into abusive hands. He then went back on the track, came back off, and landed in hands that starved and abused him further. Norman then started training English riding but, was left in a field, partly-barefoot and in need of a makeover. Norman's feet caught up to him and fell lame for four months in the fall of 2017 to the start of winter in 2018. During this time, Kait took the opportunity to build trust with him. From a horse that would tremble at the raise of a hand to pet him, to the big, cuddly teddy bear, he has come leaps and bounds from the start. In January of 2018, he began walking pain free due to proper nutrition, barefoot trimming, and 18/7 turnout. He is currently gaining weight, muscle, and confidence while training in level one dressage in order to hop into the hunter ring later this year.
- Born: April 23, 2010
- Rescued: June 2, 2017
- Last Race: February 12, 2016
- Job: an example of the transferable power of courage: from abuse to success; dressage/hunter jumper
- Likes: making messes for mom to clean, pooping where he will walk in it, playing with Autumn, snuggling with mom, being brushed, lunging, "going fast", eating all day, making mom proud
- Dislikes: not having his food bucket first, wind, trail riding alone
- Professional racehorse
- Level one dressage
- Working on being a hunter
- Free lunging master
- Working on: not being a scaredy cat in desensitization, basic liberty
- Therapy Pal
- An example in the show world that "rescued" doesn't mean broken
- Level two dressage
- Showing in hunters
Lila aka "Little Lila The Pony"
Lila's story is the most devastating of them all, thus far. In June of 2017, she and fourteen others were rescued by Baker's Ranch Miniature Rescue in Ramona, CA from a "kill pen" in Louisiana. These controversial locations see many broken and dishearten horses, looking at the end of their days. Luckily, Lila was saved. Unfortunately, the large mini didn't get along with any of the other ponies on the property. So, Bakers Ranch reached out to Kait and, of course, she couldn't say no. Lila came home on July 2, 2017, still incredibly skinny, terrified, covered in sores with auction tags intact. It became clear, very quickly that Lila most-likely had limited exposure to other horses and been handled very little in her short life, at that point. After major TLC, a load of vet visits, and a mass amount of patience, Lila has been able to show her true colors and trust the people that love her dearly. From flipping over out of fear to gently taking carrots from two-year-olds, Lila has show HNH that her purpose in life is not only to inspire people with her story, but also to love all little humans that come into her life.
- Born: Unknown, probably 2010
- Rescued: July 2, 2017
- Job: to travel with Kait and Sammy to churches and schools to do mini meet and greets
- Likes: tormenting her larger sanctuary family members, claiming mom as hers, neck scratches, baby carrots, calling to everyone that walks by, throwing hay all over her stall, going on walks with mom
- Dislikes: being alone in the arena, being with the big horses in the arena, not being fed first, being cold
- Therapy Pal
- Public desensitization
- Advanced public outings
- Start liberty and obstacle training
- Stage/trick training
- Public walking
- Basic groundwork
- Neck-rope leading
- "Gentleness" training
- Working on: advanced desensitization
Service and Therapy
Sammy Davis aka "That Pup Sammy"
Sammy joined the family in November of 2017 as a surprise to Kait for her 21st birthday. He was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Taft as an "unwanted" puppy with his two other siblings. All three "bully/english bull dog mixes" were brought down to a local shop for adoption, where they quickly left the store with new families. Sammy was the last of them to be adopted and to Kait's surprise, the most ready to take the next step forward in his life. Once home, it became immediately clear that Sammy was the perfect level of medium to low submissive energy to do service and therapy work. Kait had long awaited the opportunity to train her own service dog and bring that same love, comfort, and companionship to others. Sammy, luckily, already seems to love that idea. He is the first to say hello and the quickest to go belly up for any willing hand.
- Born: August 11, 2017
- Rescued: Nov 11th, 2017
- Job: personal service dog to Kait, therapy dog
- Likes: playing barn dog in the sanctuary, running around with dad, cuddling, bath time, training, going on walks, playing at the dog park, playing keep away, eating all the food in five seconds, "zoomies"
- Dislikes: not being able to cuddle when mom or dad are on the floor, pokey bushes with thorns, not being able to eat the horse poop
- Basic protection training
- "Search and Clear" training
- Therapy Training
- Training Certificate
- Advanced Service Work
- Loose lead walking
- Level 1: Basic puppy training
- Potty trained
- Boundary training with horses
- Working on: Puppy Level 2, calm greeting, vest asssociations
President: Kaitlyn Cruz
VP: Ryan Davis
Treasure: Kim Cruz
Secretary: Alex Harris
Director: Kendall Baker