Green Chimneys Becomes Temporary Home for Family’s Beloved Horse

August 8, 2017

In February, Yonkers, New York residents Mario and Amy Basantes were enjoying a trip to New Orleans when the unexpected happened while watching a parade: a drunk driver careened into a group of onlookers, hitting more than 30 people. Mario was one of several seriously hurt in the accident; his injuries were extensive including fractures, lacerations and internal injuries resulting in near constant pain. The Basantes were forced to stay in New Orleans for months while Mario began a long road to recovery.

One very special member of the Basantes family was still in New York: their beloved Montana, a 14-year-old Quarter horse gelding. They couple loves introducing friends and family to horses through meeting and/or riding Montana. When their farrier Tom Nolan, who also happens to be Green Chimneys’ equine hoof care provider, discovered the Basantes were in need of a temporary home for Montana, he knew who to call.

“Being able to help a family in need while also providing our students the opportunity to learn from a wonderful equine – it’s a great lesson for our students in a number of ways,” explains Michael Kaufmann, Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Director. The students and staff of Green Chimneys welcomed Montana as a temporary resident in March and he quickly became a favorite.

“Montana’s an awesome part of the equine program, especially for riding classes. Students help care for him and enjoy his mellow personality. Montana really seems to enjoy working with the kids as well — he totally melts when surrounded by a group of kids as they groom or bathe him,” says Green Chimneys Barn Manager Samantha Arevalo.

To Amy and Mario, human interaction for Montana is as important as the quality of care. “I couldn’t imagine a better place for him to be than Green Chimneys,” Amy explains.

For the first time in over 5 months, the Basantes were reunited with Montana at Green Chimneys. Mario immediately greeted Montana with a hug. For the Basantes, knowing that Montana is providing therapy for children while Mario receives therapy of his own is a great comfort. Mario’s goal is to be well enough to ride Montana again. And while the family continues to recover from the accident, both physically and financially, Montana will remain a a popular — and loved — guest of Green Chimneys.

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