Sugarfoot Wood

(1988 – )
Owned by Theresa Wood
Inducted: 2018


"Sugarfoot came into our family as a tiny miracle on October 20, 1988," said owner Theresa Wood. His mother had been purchased for her 2nd birthday and to everyone's surprise, she was pregnant. With a normal birth and start to life, love and attention from day one, he broke his leg at six months old. Several of the vets said the only option was to put him down, however, the last vet saw the warrior strength in his eyes and agreed to treat him and try to save him.

Every two weeks the vet would come out to change his cast as he grew out of it quickly. He remained calm and continued to grow up gracefully in a 12x16 stall. The day he was finally released and turned out was a beautiful day! He had beat the odds and was running free again! He not only recovered, he went on to become a champion, competing in Eventing at the State and Regional levels.

Around the same time that Sugarfoot's show career ended after developing navicular issues, Carol (Theresa's Mom) became the Executive Director of Healing Strides of VA (HSVA). They needed horses, and Theresa knew that the super horse she had at home who would be perfect for this new career. "We knew then he was special, and far from retired," said Theresa.

As a therapy horse, Sugarfoot has given a sense of independence to more individuals than any other form of a man-made modality could ever do. He has worked with the blind, being their sight; worked with amputees, being their legs; worked with children of autism being their connection to the moment; worked with the elderly with dementia giving them their memories of childhood; worked with those in wheelchairs giving them the mobility that a wheelchair could not possibly do.

Sugarfoot has an uncanny ability to sense just what a person needs in that moment, always providing the appropriate response, never more, never less. Reliable and calm, honest and loyal, he is often the first ride or evaluation ride for many of our participants.

Sugarfoot has also helped to teach his fellow equines, demonstrating to young horses how to get on and off the trailer, doing complicated trail obstacles first, literally ponying young horses through obstacles, when necessary. He sets the tone for the herd. He can be the lead horse on the trail or the last.

Sugarfoot has also been the ultimate ambassador teaching children and adults at churches, schools, colleges, animal expos, parades, and even adult assisted living facilities.

He helps people who have not recognized their personal challenges or invisible wounds understand that embracing their vulnerability becomes the catalyst for their own personal healing journey. He has carried hundreds of riders through some of life's most difficult challenges, visible and invisible, physical and mental always comforting and empowering them with his own inner warrior strength.

Throughout the multiple roles he has played in his long successful life, Sugarfoot has always had an extremely kind soul and the fight of a great warrior. From the time of Sugarfoot Wood's birth to his retirement from Healing Strides of VA (HSVA) on December 20, 2017 he has empowered and inspired young and old alike with his athleticism, quiet strength and dignity. Bottom line, you leave Sugarfoot a better person than when you arrived.