Endurance

“Endurance” seems an appropriate topic today, in celebration of the 33 Chilean miners rescued, following their 69 days trapped underground.

In horse parlance, the Endurance discipline tests the stamina of horse and rider as they race to compete a long course; at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) it was a 100 mile course.   When my husband, Jaime, and I volunteered to support the WEG, we were pleased that our second assignment would be supporting the endurance competition.  We both had great interest in the sport and admiration for the athletes, even though we hadn’t participated in endurance riding – yet.   Hey, the senior member of the U.S. team, Jan Worthington, competed in the Games at age 70.  Talk about hope and endurance! [Read more…]

Wowed at the World Equestrian Games

I am one of those fortunate women whose husband also enjoys horses.  Okay – don’t hate me for that.   But because of this shared interest, we get to do a lot of things together that many of my other horse friends don’t share as couples.  When we found out the World Equestrian Games (WEG) would be held in the U.S. for the first time ever in Kentucky, it was an easy decision that we would attend.  I had to be a bit more convincing when I suggested we volunteer to support the Games.  After a year’s coordination with the volunteer staff, we received our assignments as Horse Inspection Stewards, scheduled to support Reining, Endurance, and Dressage.

As we approached the fourth place we had been told to park at 5:00 a.m. on Sep 24th, we decided our real mission as volunteers was to “work out the kinks in the system.”  A sense of humor always helps in these situations, and it was a warm, dark morning, with very few people in the Kentucky Horse Park.  We sported our Ariat-provided cobalt blue Competition Support Volunteer uniforms and credentials, which we had picked up on Day One, and looked as if we knew exactly where we were going.  We were scheduled to support Reining, which the WEG describes as “a Western sport that displays the precision and style of horse and rider.”   We wound our way to the Reining barns and met up with some other Competition Support Volunteers and the head Federation Equestre International (FEI) Reining Steward, Eric.  Success!  Eric politely informed us he didn’t need us for at least another hour, and to just relax.  So, we relaxed while observing the early morning routine of the grooms, trainers, and exquisite equine reining athletes, mostly American Quarter Horses.    [Read more…]

Reflections

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend Part 1 training for the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).   According to EAGALA’s Vision Statement, “EAGALA is committed to setting the standard of professional excellence in how horses and humans work together to improve the quality of life and mental health of individuals, families, and groups worldwide.”  (For more detailed information, please see www.EAGALA.org).  Significant differences between the EAGALA Model and other equine therapies include the team approach (a mental health professional, an equine specialist, and the horse), and the fact that NO riding is involved.  When asked why EAGALA conducts equine therapy on the ground versus on horseback, one of the instructors replied, “You can’t see yourself in the mirror when you are sitting on it.” One of the reasons EAGALA uses horses in therapy and learning is because the organization believes horses mirror what they are seeing and the situations they are presented. [Read more…]

A New Adventure

Greetings, all!  As some of you may be aware, I recently wrote my first novel, Believing In Horses, a story about a young girl committed to saving unwanted horses.  I’m fortunate to be working with a publisher, and anticipate publication in the next few months.  As a new author, and a new blogger, I look forward to finding out how much we all have in common.  Looking forward to the future and this new adventure….Sincerely, Valerie Ormond