Holly Jones loves nothing better than to run with her spunky miniature horse named Ian, who plays like a puppy.
She has raised the Shetland mixed-breed pony since he arrived in the world unexpectedly on Father’s Day 2018.
After working with Ian every day, he has stopped most of his “baby behavior” like trying to eat her hair, she said.
The Don Lugo High junior, who will compete in this year’s Chino Junior Fair, said she had dreamed of owning a horse since before she could speak. Her parents finally granted her wish last year and adopted Ginger, an older, gentle miniature horse.
Ginger had captured Holly’s heart at The Freedom Ranch and Rescue in Temecula, where the teen had spent most of her free time working as a volunteer
Ginger had been delivered from a hoarding situation in Houston, Texas.
The family was taken by surprise when shortly after they adopted her, a baby horse was discovered at the rescue ranch, with Ginger nearby.
Ginger had probably given birth this way before, without human assistance, judging from the hoarding conditions she had come from, Holly said.
Holly lives in San Dimas and at that time had been attending San Dimas High.
As she was exploring boarding options for the two miniature horses, she learned about the agriculture program at Don Lugo High in Chino.
Several horses are kept at the school on lease feed agreements during the school year.
Holly recalls that when she talked to principal Kim Cabrera about keeping her two horses there, Mrs. Cabrera said, “Let’s do this!”
Last year, Holly enrolled in Don Lugo, taking two classes on campus and other classes through the school district’s independent study program.
Holly said she experiences anxiety in some school situations, a carry-over from her previous school, but feels that the school climate at Don Lugo is more accepting.
Spending time outdoors and caring for her horses at the school helps to mitigate the social anxiety she still sometimes feels, she said.
“The world for kids with anxiety is a scary place,” she said.
Laura Jones said her 16-year-old daughter has always had a heart to serve others.
Holly said she likes to tell people what it’s like to raise a baby horse and to talk about horses in general.
She decided it would be a good idea to bring the ponies to the San Dimas market where they could visit with the community and took the initiative to do it.
She sees people who have physical and emotional disabilities, including kids with autism, form connections with the ponies.
Gentle Ginger and playful Ian each have unique personalities that people respond to, Holly said.
Horses can give people insight into their feelings and behavior, because they pick up on human emotions and react accordingly, she added.
Holly hopes to find a local arena where the ponies can work with trained therapists and their clients.
After high school she would like to start an animal rescue and therapy center.
The teen has received permission from the city of Chino to bring Ginger and Ian to Friday movie night activities on July 19 and 26 starting at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn at Chino City Hall, southwest corner of Central Avenue and D Street.