Behind every aspiring champion there is always an unsung hero. The one who gets it done in the home, in the yard…. or in the feed. For over 30 years, Alltech has been the unsung hero behind many of the world’s top horse feeds and supplements. As the unrecognized experts in equine digestive health, we salute you all.
For Alltech the “Equine Hero” is the caring, hardworking, under-recognised horse lover, the individual who goes the extra mile to help their peers or family enjoy the fruits of their horsey endeavours – these heroes are all around us - the farrier who endures chronic backache to continue his craft; the mother who plaits and prepares show ponies at 6am; the yard rider who’s on the gallops at 5am rain, hail or shine; the father who gives up his Saturday afternoon to transport children to riding lessons; the rescue volunteer who provides comfort to neglected horses – and many others like them. Our goal is to identify and celebrate the Unsung Heroes of the Equine Community around the world.
Please nominate your own Equine Hero and show others in our community how much you appreciate their efforts.
As a young woman Therese Matthews learned to ride the Chilean Horse in Rodeo and Reining and was eager to sign up to ride in the official shows but the rules stated only men were allowed to compete in these classes – so for years she rode in informal shows. In 1995 she started the campaign to change that ruling. Her efforts paid-off. In 2002 the rules were altered and women were allowed to participate in Women's Chilean Reining and in 2010 the rule changed to permit women riders in the Rodeo also. Therese has since won several National Titles in two traditional Chilean Horse sports: Chilean Equestrian Games and Chilean Reining. In 2000 she was elected as President of the Reining Commission of the Chilean Equestrian Federation and in 2005 together with a group of riders formed the National Reined Horse Association of Chile.
For the last five years, Zoe has worked tirelessly to organize the Cowdray Hunt Pony Club senior camp for at least 50 children. She organises the rides, events, evening entertainment, sorts out problems, upsets and is on hand 24/7 during the 6 days to ensure everyone is having a fun time. Organising senior camp is a mammoth task and is physically and emotionally draining but without Zoe over 130 children would not have had the benefit of a fun week with their ponies and friends.
Kerri is the Team Leader of the Canadian Equestrian Team and is one of the very few people in the world to fulfil so complex and so senior a role, as an unpaid volunteer. She has overall responsibility for the common logistics of Canada's riders, horses, vets, grooms, and support staff, for all disciplines. She looks after everything from inspecting competition facilities a year before the games, to ensuring that the horses' stalls are full of shavings on the morning of their arrival. There is probably no one person who is owed more by Canada's equestrian teams, who is more in demand when problems arise, yet is more overlooked during the celebrations afterwards. Kerri will serve as Canada's Team Leader once again at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy.
For many years now, Jassi has worked for top German dressage rider Uta Gräf and she is the backbone of the yard. She is a vigilant observer and has an amazing relationship with each animal. During competitions she will sometimes stay at home to ensure everything runs smoothly and on other occasions she will drive the truck to shows, groom the horses, act as a companion and help throughout the day. Jassi is also responsible for the difficult task of taming the stallions and breaking in young horses. Regardless of her workload, she always remains calm and patient and her friendly attitude contributes to the great working atmosphere within the team and the yard.
The Cart Project is an initiative of students majoring in Medical Veterinary, Animal Science and Feed Engineering of USP (University of São Paulo). Once a month, on Saturday mornings, these unsung heroes dedicate their time to offer clinical treatment, diagnostic imaging, hoof trimming, and preventive services such as vaccines and awareness of parasites, all free of charge! The program receives support from companies who supply medicine for the treatments. Guided by the students, the cart workers are given hints on the well being and care of the horses. The project has also a telephone number on duty that the cart workers can call for any emergencies.
Jan spontaneously bought a pony for his daughter to ride when she was just 4 years old. He had never expected that 25 years later, she would still be riding. Jan has given 25 years of horse care and continues to be so committed to the horses and his daughter’s hobby. While his daughter was growing up, Jan took care of everything from mucking out stables to pasture maintenance to feeding and providing tack, to driving her to riding lessons and he still continues to drive her to competitions.
This month the Equine Hero prize has been awarded in memory of Mckenna Johnson from Tennessee, who recently passed away. Mckenna took part in eventing and was an active member of the Stones River Pony Club. Her horse Quincy was her pride and joy and Mckenna constantly worked hard to improve her riding and scores in competition. Mckenna had struggled with a rare disease all of her life, but not once did she complain. She smiled no matter what, even in the middle of her dressage test, she was truly happy at all times.
Felicity Wells from the UK has been recognised as an Equine Hero for her amazing work in supporting para-dressage rider Amanda Shirtcliffe. Amanda became disabled last year and was no longer able to ride or care for her own horses. But she then met Felicity, who selflessly helped her get back in the saddle through coaching, providing her with a horse to ride, driving her to shows, grooming for her and helping her to win national championships.
Colleen Gorman has been recognised as an Equine Hero; Colleen teaches horse riding lessons, but Colleen studied Equestrian Science at the University of Findley in Ohio, and she spends her days sharing her passion and love for horses through teaching horse riding lessons and managing barns in the Midwest and Florida. Nobody would know it but Colleen suffers from severe scoliosis and although the curve in her spine doesn’t warrant surgery, it does require daily pain management and sometimes prevents her from riding. She never complains and always gives 150% no matter how much pain she is in. She has an amazing attitude and is an inspiration to those around her.
We are delighted to announce Carrie Young from Ohana Rescue in Florida as an Equine Hero – her work at has truly impacted the lives of so many horses and people. Carrie and her team provide unwanted, neglected and abused horses with love, food, shelter, and appropriate medical attention. Ohana Horse Rescue gives horses in need a safe home to go to recover, rehabilitate or for just a little training! They also find new approved homes for horses and offer educational support to new owners on the needs and special care required by these animals.