Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gift Of The Horse

~ 500 words for The Wheelhorse newsletter (based in Wisconsin)
by Kim Logue

The Lead:
Chester Weber's #1 Fan explains how she won a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train in Combined Driving with the World's Best in Florida.

photo courtesy ofThe Biltmore Hat Factory 
in Guelph, and Ze'ev Gedalof
In the winning essay, Logue said "I would love love the opportunity to experience the sport, and Live Oak, and would even endeavour to dress the part of a driver, ha.!"
During the World Equestrian Games;
photo courtesy of ? Hat Shop in Lexington

When I am not getting enough actual horse time, I inevitably write around seeking some. That how the whole hoofbeats! (radio+) media club got started! And how, more recently, I won a social media popularity contest to spend some high quality horse time with Chester Weber in January 2012.

In the summer of 2011, The Gift of the Horse website created an initiative to support the American Youth Horse Council, an organization that impacts over 400,000 children in programs such as 4-H, National High School Rodeo, PonyClub and most Breed/Youth Organizations. Generous sponsorships and donations were obtained with the intended goal of 100,000 for the American Youth Horse Council to fund educational programs and materials, grants and scholarships, and much needed research studies. Through its Horse Coupon Book facebook team, a dozen of the world’s most recognized and admired trainers contributed phenomenal prize packages. Apparently hand picked for their biggest fan, the prizes ranged from books and DVD’s, to clinics, exclusive memberships and much, much more.

Entrants competed with essays demonstrating their interest in a particular trainer, in order to garner knowledge from their selected, especially esteemed horseperson. And won based on social networking success! I was so lucky that a prof at the University of Guelph (and hoofbeats! (radio+) media club supporter) took up the challenge of herding up facebook votes for my essay. I'm not sure if he suggested to his classes that they "like" my write up on facebook, but I am certain he sent out some specific emails and made a few phone calls encouraging the required series of on-line clicks. I am so grateful for all that support.

I pulled off the trip with lots of help, just like when I went to World Equestrian Games and saw Chester compete for the first time. As a Novice Adult Ex-Eventer and Equine Canada certified English Instructor, I have been dedicated to exploring human's relationship with the horse, through an all ages, all ability, all interest media club, since 2007. With a sincere interest in horse and human welfare, decided to report on WEG when I was gifted accommodation at the site. Without a media pass, stable pass or even a single event ticket, I hopped in a borrowed car and drove from Guelph, Ontario to Lexington Kentucky to take in the final week. I didn't want to miss the very first time the games were held on North American soil. And this was how I came for the first time to see Combined Driving!

In my essay asking for training with America's top driver, I stated “Even as his number 1 fan, I was impressed to see his calm, composure and patience for hot day delay after delay after delay for his turn for the cones phase at WEG 2010. Not to mention the team spirit shown in the way he cheered for his US team mates, ringside, smiling and fist in the air! I am his number 1 fan because of his approachable, friendly, down to earth nature. Also his willingness to support equine media and interest in sharing equine enthusiasm fans and fellow athletes alike."

In an upcoming article for The Whip, I will tell you in detail about the experience, including my preconceived notions and expectations brought to the experience and how the reality did and didn't conform!

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