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Nurturer by nature

Taking life one canter, trot, and gallop at a time

With contributions by Julie Iverson, COT, ABOC, NCLEc

Some people say I grew up in a barn, which is only half true. I grew up in New Orleans, and my mother’s best friend had an actual barn near Audobon Park, LA, where she trained horses. I was at her barn all day, riding on a little pony before I could even walk on my own.

That began a life-long love of animals for me and is what eventually led me to opening up One Horse Rescue, located in Denver.

Zolly Kane riding and guiding horses at her One Horse Rescue in Denver.
IMAGES COURTESY ZOLLY KANE, COA, CST

My journey

I started my ophthalmic journey by studying pre-med at Tulane University, after which I went to Concorde’s surgical technician program. I moved to Colorado about 20 years ago, and in doing so I transitioned my career from general surgery to LASIK. I eventually received my ophthalmic tech certifications and landed, happily, in Denver’s Levinson Eye Clinic.

In addition to settling in professionally in the Denver area, I also re-discovered a passion in horses. Specifically, I met a woman who owned a horse rescue who introduced me to the process of buying horses in need of homes.

A labor of love

In the last 10 years, I have rescued between 50 and 60 horses, usually caring for two to three rescues at a time. The current residents of my barn include Snickers, Rex, Chica, and Cleo.

The horses I rescue have to be rideable, so I can find homes for them with riders. After I rescue one, I bring her to a vet to make sure her shots and medications are up to date. Then, it’s up to me to identify a horse’s style and temperament. For example, is she good to ride on trails, more suitable for beginner or expert riders, etc.

I work in the barn every evening after work, driving about 45 minutes from my clinic to my horse barn, and 45 minutes again for the drive back home. My oldest daughter, who recently started driving, helps me care for and feed the horses, as well as the goats and pigs I recently added. It’s harder in the winter when we deal with the cold, which makes tasks, such as making sure the animals’ water doesn’t freeze and acquiring hay, more challenging. Even with that, though, this is all a labor of love and I wouldn’t want to stop there.

Caring for others

I’ve always been a nurturer by nature, and my job at the clinic and passion for rescue animals both fulfill that. I see people and animals who are often going through some of the worst times of their lives, but that’s not how they are forever. It’s taught me to treat everybody equally, and to do my best to understand what is wrong with them. A lot of folks — whether human or not — just need the right care. OP