Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Apache’s Story

A college drop-out with two DUIs, Krystal Kortz was galloping headlong down a bad path when a special horse entered her life and turned it around.

From Krystal:

After 10 years of being horse free, I didn’t know what else to do. My life had taken so many wrong turns since I quit riding at the age of 18. I dropped out of college, started hanging out with bad influences and eventually ended up with two DUIs and loss of my license for three years. It seemed I was drifting through life with no purpose.

I was having reoccurring dreams about riding and realized it was my heart trying to tell me what to do. I ended up back on the farm where I grew up, my second home. At that point in time I didn’t have a particular horse to call my therapist. It was just being around them and their beauty that helped more than anything. I manged to stay out of trouble for two years and everything seemed to be falling in place. I was happier than I’d been in a long time — I actually felt like life was worth living again.

I moved out of town and started riding for a friend of mine. My first “job” was to take care of this little appaloosa after he was gelded. I instantly fell in love with him and three months later he was mine. He was the sweetest, most laid back horse I’d seen. He had such a personalty; he always knew how to make me smile. Life was good.


Four months later he started losing weight fast. The vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong so we took him to University of Tennessee vet school for an ultrasound. They found an abscess on his spleen but wasn’t sure what caused it. They told me the surgery would cost $3,000 to $5,000 and I almost passed out. I gave them the $2,000 I had saved to get my license back because I would rather save his life then be able to drive.

The vet school decided to go ahead and do the full surgery as a teaching experience. No one knew his chance of survival but that didn’t matter to me. They did x-rays and found a small piece of wire he must of swallowed. I was in shock when they told me. During the surgery they realized the abscess was much bigger than they thought, and they couldn’t remove the wire.

He came through like a trooper and was home within a week. I had to flush and drain this gigantic abscess on his belly twice a day and give him antibiotics three times a day. I was blessed with good friends who helped me get to the barn to take care of him. He was the best patient I could have asked for, never complained and always greeted me with love.


He seemed to be improving tremendously when I took him back two months later for a check-up. They did another ultrasound and opened him up again to check his progress. I still remember the look on the vet’s face when he told me it wouldn’t be fair to him to keep going. The abscess was much larger than they thought. The wire was trying to exit his body and took a devastating path through his organs, causing the abscess. I left the vet school alone, without my sweet Apache boy.

He showed me how to live life no matter what might be going on inside. I didn’t give up on horses after that, even though I wanted to. I just purchased a very handsome quarter horse/Arab cross whom I’m falling for more and more every day. He will never replace the majestic Apache, but he will help me continue my much needed equine therapy.



Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *