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Theresa Batchelor is a courageous and compassionate woman who has overcome many obstacles during her lifetime. She was a very active wife and mother of two children who worked full time when she began experiencing neurological issues. A tumor was discovered inside her spinal cord which was nearly severed. Surgery to remove the tumor resulted in nerve damage that left her quadriplegic and although her doctors stated that she would never walk again, through sheer will, determination, faith and an intense physical therapy program, she regained use of her limbs. Theresa remains an incomplete quadriplegic, however, with no feeling or awareness below her neck.

After having worked for the United States government for almost twenty years, Theresa had to retire on disability and thus began a very dark period in her life as she learned to adjust to her physical limitations. She met an abused Arabian filly that was petrified and untrusting of humans, humans who had starved and repeatedly beaten her. A connection was immediately forged and it became abundantly clear that the filly, now lovingly called Beauty, needed Theresa as much as Theresa needed the filly. This unwavering bond coupled with the fruits of their relationship, led to the creation of Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue, Inc.

Theresa’s physical challenges have made her stronger - she refuses to give up but rather, finds ways to work around her limitations. She believes that regaining the use of her limbs was due to divine intervention which enabled her to live her dream of helping horses and humans. Beauty was the inspiration that she needed to establish and manage a successful equine rescue, rehabilitation, re-homing, and sanctuary organization where horses find peace, love, care and protection, a place where they can heal both mentally and physically.

Volunteers and visitors, some of whom have PTSD or other special needs, are also welcome at the rescue where they can interact with horses. Horses are intuitive and can connect with people on a higher level without the judgment or biases most often associated with human beings. Horses inspire people to overcome fears, to believe in themselves and to believe that they can overcome, just as Beauty has helped Theresa. These magnificent, powerful equines intuitively realize that Theresa is 'different' and if you ask her, she will tell you, that the horses are the heroes. She has a natural, unspoken connection with equines which fosters a great amount of respect and trust.

Theresa lovingly accepts equines that other rescue organizations oftentimes refuse due to the time consuming and/or immense costs of rehabilitation - she believes they all deserve a chance. With support from her husband, Theresa has helped more than 350 equines with various issues including birth defects, broken bones, mutilations, cancer, blindness, traumatic injuries, Leishmaniasis and Big Head Disease.

When holistic and traditional treatments and supportive care can no longer keep an equine comfortable, or the equine clearly communicates that their time has come, they are humanely assisted by the vet, across Rainbow Bridge. Theresa is always present and she gently whispers to each that they are loved beyond measure. Every time a treasured equine leaves, they take a piece of Theresa’s heart with them and whilst they may be gone, they are never forgotten.

There are countless stories that could be told about the remarkable work that Theresa does, but there is one that particularly, exemplifies true courage, dedication, inspiration, and heroism by both humans and an equine. It represents the essence of Beauty’s Haven. It is the story of Betsy Rose, a pony who was found on the ground, discarded like trash, nearing death. Betsy’s odds for survival were next to zero and although the vet had recommended that she be euthanized, Theresa sensed that Betsy had strong determination and a powerful will to survive. Theresa opted to give her a chance as she promised to make all of Betsy Rose’s tomorrows everything her past should have been. Betsy was too weak to stand and required 24/7 hands-on care while she lived in a sling that became her lifeline. Her heart rate, temperature, breathing, appetite, waste elimination, and overall demeanor were constantly monitored and her care protocol was adjusted, accordingly. Bedsores were treated and when ready, Betsy began an intense physical therapy program to build strength and muscle so she could walk again. It took two months for her to be able to function outside of the sling without assistance. Her determination and love for life inspires people from around the world to believe and to never give up. She defied all odds and today, she is a happy pony with a big fan club that loves her very much!

Theresa receives no salary; her reward is watching equines recover from the horrors inflicted upon them by mankind and seeing smiles on the faces of humans as they interact with these magnificent animals. She has high standards but manages on a small budget which operates solely, from donations and fundraisers. Theresa is recognized and respected throughout the rescue community for her hard work, determination, strong beliefs, integrity, transparency and dedication.

Theresa believes that humans oftentimes tend to underestimate the body’s ability to heal, a belief which stems from her own injury, a belief that has not only helped her to accomplish the impossible but has resulted in the saving of numerous equines. Her knowledge, experience, excellence in care, and commitment to making the quality of life for each equine the best that it can be, is truly commendable. Theresa’s own story is nothing short of a miracle. The depth of her determination to overcome is rare. She is an inspiration and a hero, to those who have met her both personally and through social media. I am truly honored to nominate Theresa Batchelor for the Living a Rare Life Award for Heroism.
To learn more about Theresa, please log onto her blog at www.bhfer.org.

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