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Continued: This Old Horse serves as sanctuary for retired and special-needs horses

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 29, 2014 - 3:00 PM

“I had room in my barn,” she said nonchalantly. “If you’re feeding 10, why not 12?”

A pivotal wishbone

Turner said she was volunteering with We Can Ride, a therapeutic riding program in Minnetonka, about three years ago when she came up with the “great idea” of starting a business that would provide a home for the horses after they age out of work. She was shot down immediately.

Still, she persisted, even drawing up a business plan. But the money just wasn’t there: Groups that use horses as tools can’t afford to feed two when only one is working, she said.

“I gave up, I put it away,” she remembered.

It was a wishbone in a rotisserie chicken that changed her mind.

“When you make a wish with a wishbone, you can’t do it by yourself,” she said. “That was so powerful to me. I said people will help. You look at it and it can’t work. But what if people helped?”

When Fiona arrived at the ranch with a horribly infected eye that required surgery, Turner said she had no idea how she was going to pay the vet bill. The same day the bill arrived, a large donation for almost the same amount arrived in the mail. What Turner calls other miracles followed.

“I think some people need a barn in their life the way some people need a church in their life,” she said. “It’s a community, a common goal. People love horses. The horses only have expectations that they’ll be kind — and feed them. It’s kind of magical here. It’s not fancy, but it has so much heart.”

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

  • related content

  • Peaches, a 35-year-old palomino quarter horse, is the oldest horse at Wishbone Ranch in Hastings. She used to be a lesson horse.

  • This Old Horse is holding a 5k on Saturday for Kentucky Derby Day. The Run for the Roses race will be held on the 43-acre ranch and will raise money for the nonprofit.

  • Run for the Roses 2014

    When: Saturday; check-in 8:30-10 a.m. Run starts at 10 a.m. Open house and silent auction 10:30 a.m. to noon.

    Where: This Old Horse Inc. at Wishbone Ranch, 19025 Coates Road, Hastings.

    Entry fees: $30 in advance/$25 per member for teams of four or more. Day of the run, $35. Ages 5 to 18, $15. Virtual runner or couch potato, $18. All participants receive a T-shirt and goody bag.

    More information:, or 612-667-8586.

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