San Angelo Says Goodbye to Sunny the Sonrisas Trails Miniature Horse


SAN ANGELO, TX — Sonrisas Trails is an important part of our community and recently they lost a special member of their family. Sunny, the ambassador for Sonrisas Trails, passed away last week and now San Angelo says goodbye to a beautiful soul who brought happiness and hope wherever she visited.

“Sunny was rescued unintentionally when a trailer full of horses arrived at the West Texas Boys Ranch,” said Mary Coffey, the Public Information Director for Sonrisas Trails. “She was obviously very malnourished and not taken care of.” When the West Texas Boys Ranch saw the miniature horse they knew that they needed to find a place for her and that place was Sonrisas Trails.

Sonrisas Trails is a nonprofit organization that provides therapy to persons with physical, emotional, and mental challenges through a carefully structured program of equine activities. Therapeutic riding involves teaching the rider the necessary skills and techniques required to ride a horse as independently as possible. This program has helped many people and miracles seem to happen when humans and horses come together.

Sunny was important even though she couldn’t be ridden. She is a miniature horse so, she shared the same anatomy as larger horses but she was just fun sized. Sunny was perfect to take when visiting schools, nursing homes, and many places around town. She got to try on pearls and jewels at Hollands Jewelry and even got fitted for her very own boots by J. L. Mercer.

Sunny was an important staple for the Sonrisas Trails organization, and she spent three amazing years doing what she loved, interacting with people and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. She loved to be brushed and pampered. “She became a little diva,” said Mary. “And we loved every second we got.”

“We saw miracles happen when Sunny came into a room,” said Mary. “She just knew what to do and who to give love to and that is something that can’t be taught.” Sunny made special connects with the people she encountered and those connections will last forever.

Sonrisas trails saw an amazing need for Sunny and the happiness she brought, so the organization will be getting a new miniature horse. The soon-to-be new member of the Sonrisas Trials family will have some big little shoes to fill, but Sunny’s legacy will live on.

This is the story of Sunny when she first arrived at Sonrisas Trials:

The Adventures of Sunny

Hi.  My name is Sunny.  I am 12 years old.  I am new to San Angelo and I just moved into a new home last month.  I now have new parents and 13 new brothers and sisters.  I was scared at first.  So many new faces and they all just stared at me.  You see, I am different.  I don’t look like my new parents or my new siblings.  I am very short, my hair is red and wiry and I have a really big overbite.  I’ve been called ugly and worthless.  I tried not to show how much it hurt my feelings when others made fun of me.  I heard them say that I was so ugly that I was cute.  What does that mean??  Yes – I am very different but I am also very special.  Deep down I know that – I have always known that.  I just needed someone to give me a chance.  I needed someone to tell me that they understand what it’s like to be different and to not just love me in spite of it, but to love me because of it.  I’m starting to believe in myself again.  They accept me here.  I can see it in their eyes.

My new forever home is Sonrisas Trails.  I am a miniature horse and the newest member of the Sonrisas Trails family.  My parents love me and they tell me and show me every day.  They also love and take care of my new brothers and sisters.  That makes me very happy to see them so loved and appreciated.  My parents told me the other day that they have big plans for me.  They said because I make them so happy and proud that they want me to try and make others happy too.  You see, Sonrisas Trails offers therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with special needs.  I think that is so cool.  My new brothers and sisters have told me how important therapeutic riding is to these people.  My brother, Peppy, told me that one little boy spoke his first words while riding him.  That made everyone so happy.  Peppy says his job is very important and he always puts his best hoof forward.

I had no idea I was going to be part of such a special family.  I prayed in my own way that I could find a purpose and be loved for who I am and not be ridiculed for the way I look.  I am home.  I can’t wait to meet new people and make new friends with the children.  I have a feeling we will see eye to eye.  I will keep you posted on my adventures with Sonrisas Trails.  My plans are to go visit schools that don’t come to Sonrisas Trails and go see some older friends at retirement centers.  It will be nice just to visit.  It feels so good to be accepted, loved and appreciated.  Everyone here at Sonrisas Trails is the same kind of different as me.  We’re called family.

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