Southwest Equine Photographer

Capturing the heart of your horse story.

19 Over 19: Chena

Meet Chena, a 20-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse mare with a story as captivating as her images. Owned by Serena, Chena’s life took an unexpected turn, transforming her from a neglected horse into a cherished companion.

Serena, Chena’s owner, is originally from Alaska and named her spirited mare after one of the rivers in her hometown. Serena discovered Chena in New Mexico in 2021. What began as an exciting venture into horse ownership turned into a challenging but rewarding experience. Advertised as an 11-year-old ranch horse, Chena turned out to be 18, and the journey started with her covered in sores and cuts. Despite the rocky beginning, Chena and her owner grew together, navigating cattle ranch life and embarking on unforgettable trail adventures.

Riding tackless became a surreal experience, galloping through pastures like a dream. Chena’s impact reached beyond the saddle as they delved into liberty work and leisurely walks, highlighting her diverse abilities and personality.

Chena’s past was marked by distrust, scars, and behavioral issues. Battling through mental and physical challenges, they overcame her fear of handling and riding. The road wasn’t easy, with incidents leaving Chena’s owner with a broken arm and a dented helmet. But their commitment to each other led to a remarkable transformation—Chena evolved into the best lesson horse, embracing hugs from her favorite little riders.

As her founder progressed, Chena gracefully transitioned into retirement, becoming a beloved pet. Her days now consist of leisurely walks, trail ponying, and the sheer joy of galloping around the pasture. Through it all, she remains a steady friend, Serena a level of freedom she never imagined.

When asked about what she would miss the most about Chena 30 years from now, Serena said, “You know your horse best and are the only one who can be their best advocate. Don’t let anyone tell you something is fine when you know it’s not. Your horse will sometimes only tell you.”

I still have a few openings left for the 19 Over 19 project! If you have a horse 19 years or older and want to tell their story, please apply at the link below.

February 8, 2024

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