Charlie was not a rescue in the traditional sense of the word, but he could have been if it were not for the instinct of a talented horsewoman. His story is the story of a sensitive, kind but challenging horse and the bond he formed with Sherri Barnes and her daughter Kasey, born in 1993 with Downs Syndrome.
When Charlie was only two years old, he caught the eye of Sherri Barnes. Sherri watched with interest as the cowboy riding him hit the ground with a resounding thud. But Sherri saw an extremely athletic horse that could fulfill her competitive aspirations and that all he lacked was confidence. It took two more years for Sherri to talk the owner into selling him to her.
But, in 2008, at the age of nine, Charlie was seriously injured during the start of a barrel run. Sherri, Kasey and the entire Barnes family took on the challenge to care for him. Remarkably, Charlie made a full recovery, but just as Sherri and Charlie started to rodeo again, Charlie’s career took another turn.
Kasey started barrel racing at the age of seven. ”She was on a horse as soon as she was strong enough to hold her head up”, said Sherri. By 2010, Kasey’s abilities wowed everyone who saw her ride. Already a champion barrel racer, Kasey had the opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics show - but she needed a horse. “I just decided to put her on Charlie”, said Sherri. “A lot of people looked at me like I was nuts”. But Sherri saw something in Charlie and Kasey that no one else could see.
Six weeks after Kasey and Charlie began their partnership they made their debut at their first Special Olympics show in Ponder Texas and dominated the competition earning medals in eight events. After that, Kasey and Charlie competed in National Barrel Horse Association events across the southwest against typical developing peers, winning week after week.
Charlie returned to the Special Olympics venue in 2011, 2012, and 2013 - not just with Kasey but also as the mount for other team members. Once considered too skittish for competition, Charlie emerged as a solid mature minded mount and a true all-around athlete faithfully caring for special needs riders of all abilities, happily accepting side-walkers and various horse handlers and always willing to showcase his riders’ abilities to the fullest.
Charlie's story is not just about a special horse and the special bond between a mother and a daughter, it’s a story for everyone about never giving up.
What does the EQUUS Foundation have in common with the American Humane Association, Earthwatch Institute, Jane Goodall Institute, National Wildlife Federation, Petfinder Foundation, and Villalobos Rescue Center? We are all deeply grateful to Animal Planet for selecting us as their charitable partners in their R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond) Matching Campaign hosted by GlobalGiving that ended on November 12. The results are in! Thanks to all our horse lovers, the EQUUS Foundation raised nearly $40,000, and earned the accolade of motivating the most people to respond to our cause - Rescue-Rehab-Retrain-Rehome Horses Healing People - at http://www.equusfoundation.org/ROAR! So Many Helped! We couldn't have done it without you! Thank you for making the world a better place for horses! Happy Holidays! Photo Caption: Rose Wilkerson, Kasey Barnes and Julie Coady from Blue Sky Therapeutic Riding & Respite in Aubrey, TX, at the PATH International Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, proudly displaying the Animal Planet ROAR Campaign Badge.
For 30 days starting today October 14 through November 12, horse lovers have the opportunity to prove that "Horses Have the Loudest ROAR" in the Animal Planet ROAR (Reach Out. Act. Respond) Campaign hosted by GlobalGiving. The campaign will benefit Animal Planet’s seven charitable partners. EQUUS Foundation is one of the seven and the only HORSE charity. There’s $100,000 in available matching gifts and another $40,000 in bonuses. We are deeply grateful for your past support of our Rescue-Rehab-Retrain-Rehome Horses Healing People project and hope you will support us in this campaign.Even if you are unable to donate. you can still make an impact by just clicking this link - www.equusfoundation.org/ROAR - EVERY DAY during the campaign to help reduce the unwanted horse population and enable more people to benefit from equine therapy. All it Takes is One Click. Will you help?
Meeting the Challenges Head On!
Over $275,000 in grants were awarded in 2013 to 75 charitable organizations in 26 states and the District of Columbia that work daily to reduce the number of unwanted horses in the U.S. and provide the opportunity for people to experience the extraordinary benefits of equine therapy.
Among those 75, seven were designated as Horse Whisperer Grant Recipients. Horse Whisperers is the EQUUS Foundation's named grant program for a special group of people and organizations with an extraordinary kinship with horses who wish to sustain the magical and powerful impact horses have on our lives.
Established in 2013 by the family of Daniel D. Barkan, a quiet philanthropist and gentleman, in memory of his life-long love of horses, the EQUUS Foundation awards two $5,000 Daniel D. Barkan Memorial Horse Whisperer grants annually to worthy equine organizations.
Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR)Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR) based in Lisbon, Maryland, was selected to receive a $5,000 Daniel D. Barkan Horse Whisperer Grant to help fulfill its mission of ensuring quality care and treatment of horses through intervention, education, and outreach.The grant will be used to support its Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Adoption Program for the horses at the farm now so space can be made available for those needing help in the future. The number of abused/neglected horses continues to escalate in Maryland and across the United States. Funding is critical to help rescue suffering horses and prevent animal cruelty. All horses that come to DEFHR suffer frommalnutrition, hoof disease/deformity, parasitic infestation, physical abuse and/or painful ailments. Through Days End's many varied and successful programs, horses are given a second chance at life with caring humans. People flourish and thrive as contributing members of a compassionate community. The bonds that are formed between horses and caregivers make the world a better place. DEFHR rescues, rehabilitates, trains and adopts horses. The farm houses 50-80 horses daily, accepts about 150 impounded horses yearly, has rehabilitated 1,834 horses since 1989, and adopted out an outstanding 94%. The farm has a trained staff and volunteers to provide critical and extended care, including round-the-clock care and monitoring.
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding CenterHigh Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center was selected to to receive a $5,000 Daniel D. Barkan Horse Whisperer Grant to support the involvement of children and adults with disabilities in its therapeutic riding programs. The grant will be used specifically for its Scholarship Program to ensure that financial barriers do not preclude participation for individuals in need. For individuals who cannot typically participate in group sports – for either physical or emotional reasons – the horse allows them to have a recreational experience in which they simultaneously accomplish individual and group goals. The horse is such a strong motivator that it allows participants to challenge themselves on a new level without feeling the stresses of keeping up with their peers. Since horseback riding is often a new skill for all participants it is a unique opportunity to participate in a recreational activity where everyone starts on the same level. High Hopes' therapeutic riding and equine-assisted programs are conducted in a peaceful, rural setting that provides sensory stimulation that cannot be duplicated in a gym, clinic or other standard rehabilitation setting. High Hopes programs are designed to foster independence, improve the individual's confidence, communication and problem-solving skills, and provide challenging individualized therapeutic and educational activities to a population with limited resources.
Learn more about the 2013 Horse Whisperer Grant Recipients at http://www.equusfoundation.org/news/news-release-126.html.
Tumbleweed (1982-2012) - The Pony with Nine Three Lives!
Tumbleweed was one of the 62 horses and ponies inducted in the Horse Stars Hall of Fame in March 2013, a joint program of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation to share the stories of amazing horses as athletes and humanitarians.
If Tumbleweed had retired after her show career in the small pony hunters, she would still be considered an accomplished show horse and patient teacher. Trained by the legendary Emerson Burr and owned by a family with two daughters, she was successful on the 'A' circuit and taught the sisters to ride and show. But Tumbles, as she was nicknamed, was not one to rest on her laurels. After the sisters outgrew her, they couldn't bear to sell her to a stranger. Instead, she entered the lesson program at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Connecticut, where she had been based during her show career.
Tumbles thrived as a school horse, helping many young students gain experience and confidence in the saddle. Burr, feeling that Tumbles' talent for teaching children and generous nature would make her perfectly suited to a career as a therapy horse, suggested that she be donated to the nearby Corgi Hollow chapter of the Pegasus therapeutic riding program. Her owners agreed, and so Tumbles moved to Corgi Hollow to begin the final - and most influential - part of her career.Her versatility, sense of responsibility, and enthusiasm for her job made Tumbles instantly successful in her new role. She easily adjusted to each different child who rode her, staying at a steady walk for beginner riders and picking up the pace for those who were more advanced. The Pegasus instructors knew they could trust Tumbles to take care of any rider, even those who were dealing with great physical challenges. Her riders, too, appreciated her kind nature and formed close connections with her.Tumbles' extensive background made the multi-talented pony a star in several aspects of the Pegasus program. She participated in beginner-level assisted lessons, advanced independent rides, driving, hippotherapy, and work on the ground. To stay fit while working as a therapy horse, she showed in the short stirrup divisions with the daughter of Betsy Medinger, founder and owner of Corgi Hollow. Tumbles also took part in driving competitions throughout Connecticut and Vermont, earning several championships.Even surgery for a strangulating tumor couldn't stop Tumbles. Once she recovered, she jumped back into work and even took on a new role as a public ambassador. She began visiting the community library for book readings with local children after Medinger wrote "Tumbles Goes to the Hospital," a chronicle of her experience with the surgery. The book helped children relate their own or their friends' health challenges to those Tumbles faced and overcame. Medinger wrote the book for Tumbles' riders, especially one who was fighting cancer and was in the hospital at the same time as Tumbles.When she earned the PATH International Horse of the Year award in 2002, Medinger reflected on the qualities that made her such a successful therapy horse. "Tumbleweed's all-knowing and gentle attitude has carried over to her work in Pegasus," said Medinger. "She has consistently been the choice pony for our physical therapist to use for our most disabled students. Her tolerance for developmental positioning, extra-tight abductors, extraneous movements and accidental kicks is unfailing. She can be counted on to stand quietly and safely while blind students safely explore her body. Because of her good nature, Tumble has become a fixture in the Pegasus annual horse show costume parade. She has delighted audiences as a French Chef's table, Unicorn, Mexican Burro, Eeyore, Blue's Clues, and a wedding cake."Between her lesson students at the Fairfield County Hunt Club, her therapeutic riding students at the Corgi Hollow Pegasus branch, and the many others who knew her and learned from her, Tumbles served thousands of children over her thirty-year life span. The lively, dependable pony who enjoyed and excelled in everything she did left a long-lasting mark on the hearts and minds of those who knew her.Read more about the extraordinary and magical power of horses at http://www.horsestarshalloffame.org.
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