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Senior Mikayla Herrera Shares her Silly Horse’s Tragic but Triumphant Life Story

Senior Mikayla Herrera’s horse, Chief, poses for a quick picture in the snow. Chief is one of Herrera’s very favorite horses that she has owned, with his pretty brown spots and striking white mane.
Mikayla Herrera
Senior Mikayla Herrera’s horse, Chief, poses for a quick picture in the snow. Chief is one of Herrera’s very favorite horses that she has owned, with his pretty brown spots and striking white mane.

Eagle High is home to many unique students and staff members from all walks of life. This, of course, also refers to the students and staff members’ families, who help shape them to become their unique self each and every day. For some, it’s their parents, for others, it’s their siblings. But the furry little friends they call family also provide a small peek into students’ lives including their interests and overall outlook on life. 

Senior Mikayla Herrera has many animals that she calls family, but it’s her Appaloosa horse, Chief, that truly lends a deep insight into who she is in the community. 

“He is so unique and has an awesome story. I’ve owned him for three years and I actually got him for free,” Herrera said. “He was rehabbed and relocated to Arizona, being rescued from a slaughterhouse in Texas.”  

Everyone knows those heartbreaking commercials of malnourished and homeless cats and dogs, but horses suffer the same fate just as much as tinier furry friends.  

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According to and, about one in four animal abuse cases involve horses, and many states do not currently protect horses and other animals considered “livestock” under their animal cruelty laws. Idaho is ranked among the five worst states when it comes to animal abuse laws, having weak legislation put into place to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.  

“My time with him has not been easy because of his past history full of abuse and hardship, making him very untrusting and skittish,” Herrera said. “We were able to get him trained, and my favorite memory was the first time I rode him. I was so scared that I couldn’t do it, but I felt safe the moment I sat on him.”  

Handling and training a formerly abused animal is not an easy task. Hard work went into her pet, Chief who finally was able to trust Herrera enough to the point where he’s shed his past life experiences. This shows her level of dedication to this horse. It lets others understand who she is as a person and how she’s helped Chief become the loving, silly horse that he is today. 

“He has a spirit for chasing cows and loves to try and eat them,” Herrera said. “His passion is herding, but he gets too passionate and will bite their bums if they don’t go fast enough for him.”

Senior Mikayla Herrera sits upon one of her horse, Reno, at her ranch in Eagle, Idaho. Herrera has owned many exciting pets including dogs, horses and even a donkey. (Mikayla Herrera)

It’s cliché to say that Herrera’s bond with her horse is special, but it’s a true statement. Her undeniable understanding of her pet has led to this horse living a comfortable and loving life. Chief was taught to unlearn all his past abuse, but Herrera is also a student. Chief has given her the inspiration needed to be a better version of herself, to lead her own life, as well as teaching her that life can “bounce back” after hardship.  

“Slowly, he’s learned to love, and he inspires me to step out of my comfort zone. He is incredibly curious and a sweet, silly pony,” Herrera said. “He loves to explore and absolutely adores riding in the foothills and leading the way.”

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About the Contributor
Cole McAdams
Cole McAdams, Copy Editor Team Leader
Hi! My name is Cole, and this is my second year in Newspaper! I am the Copy-Editor team leader this year and I love writing about everything and anything, but my home is in the Entertainment section. You will always catch me listening to Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo and I can't live without coffee!
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