Texana – Growing up, Te’Lor Allen always collected figures of horses instead of dolls. Today, she rehabilitates horses in her spare time.
“A fun project of mine is to take in horses, rehabilitate them and give them a forever home,” she said.
Allen started taking care of horses when she was about 12 years old, and has even shown horses in competitions at Nora Starks Memorial Horse Arena in Ranger. Over the years, she has rehabilitated six or seven horses.
In December, she found a pregnant horse in a very small lot. She had no access to fresh grass or hay, and Allen thought the horse had been in this situation for a while.
“Upon getting to see the horse, I knew I couldn’t leave her there,” she said.
A family friend had some land with a barn that accommodated every need of the horse, now named Azula. Just a week ago, she took Azula to the veterinarian, who guessed she was eight or nine months pregnant.
Typically horses have a gestation period of 11 months, so Allen is expecting a foal to arrive in a couple months. It’s the first time she’s ever worked with a pregnant horse.
“It’s very exciting, but it also makes me very nervous,” Allen said.
She is doing all of this while continuing to pursue a degree in business analytics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She’s struggling through the hybrid learning setting, in which she only has in-person classes three days a week.
“It’s a little crazy with the back and forth,” Allen said.
Allen was always pretty recognizable in Texana, as her family has lived there “forever.” Her parents are Missy and Preston Allen, and her grandfather once owned a majority of the land there. Plus, she was always involved in many facets of the community.
In June, she started getting recognized wherever she went in Cherokee and surrounding counties. Allen, along with three of her former classmates from Murphy High School, organized a protest to show support for black lives and introduce “uncomfortable conversations” about racism in homes across the community.
She remembers the time being very exciting and frightening at the same time due to how polarizing the message was. She was excited to see the support from the community, as the property at the L&N Depot was filled with hundreds of people ready to march to the courthouse.
However, not all messages she saw were positive – a self-styled militia even threatened to bring guns. Allen worried that people would come to her home and harm her parents.
“My actions don’t only
affect me, but the people I love and care about,” she said.
The recognizing looks have dwindled in recent months, but Allen still runs into people who recognize her from the protest. She recently ran into someone she recognized as a person wearing Nazi symbols as they watched on a street corner and was relieved when nothing happened.
Back on campus, Allen “didn’t really take any heat” for her involvement with the protest. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., and her chapter was involved in a similar protest that same week.
The sorority is historically black but very diverse, Allen said. One of her sisters is an Asian American.
“Being in that certainly has been a welcoming ordeal,” she said. “It’s been an amazing learning experience.”
Allen is very involved in serving the community as part of the sorority, and was elected over the summer to serve on international board as International Second Grand Anti-Basileus. It is the highest rank an
underclassman can have in the sorority. Because of COVID, she hasn’t been doing all the traveling the position typically requires, and has been using video conferencing to meet with sisters around the globe.
She wants to continue to be a selfless leader for both Murphy and the world.
“When change is needed, and time calls, you need to step up,” Allen said.
She doesn’t know what the future holds for her, but knows she’ll continue to have some sort of home in the area after she graduates in 2022.
“I’ll definitely always have roots in Murphy,” Allen said.
She loves the community and family spirit of Texana.
“I feel like even today I can walk down to someone’s house and be welcomed,” Allen said.