Far too often people look down on rescue horses, seeing them as ‘used up’, ‘unwanted’ or ‘useless’. However, the volunteers of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (Bluebonnet) in Texas know better. Through their dedication to their horses, volunteer foster families understand that rescue horses are simply the equine victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment, and once they’re rehabilitated rescue horses can do anything!
The Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge (the Challenge) is a training competition open to anyone willing to become an approved foster home for Bluebonnet. Professional trainers are also encouraged to enter the competition and show off their training skills. Contestants spend three months working with a horse from the rescue and then show off the horse’s skills at the Bluebonnet Horse Expo on October 20, 2012 at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas. Anyone wishing to participate who isn’t currently an approved foster home can apply to foster at the same time they apply for the Challenge.
The Challenge includes four divisions of competitions: professional trainers, youth handlers, foster homes showing their horses under saddle, and foster homes showing their horses in hand. Each horse/trainer combination will be scored on improvement from initial assessment, current condition of horse, obstacle course, and presentation/freestyle. Division champions, division reserve champions, the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champions all receive cash prizes.
“When we launched the Challenge in 2009, we just hoped to help make our horses more adoptable. But the Challenge has been a bigger success than we imagined. The public comes to watch the horses show off, and often horses end up adopted at the end of the day. The foster homes also get a chance to demonstrate how much work they’ve put into their horses. And the horses get a chance to shine. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!” says the organization’s Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Williams,
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society is accepting applications for participants until July 1 for the 2012 Rescue Horse Training Challenge. The organization is also seeking sponsors in order to offer even more competitive awards to participants. Sponsorship benefits include complimentary admission, advertising privileges, vendor space and more.
Anyone wishing to participate in or sponsor the Challenge can get more information at www.bluebonnethorseexpo.com under “Challenge” or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 542 5163 for more information.