NSBA Heroes On Horses – A Tribute to Veterans
Yesterday was a day of remembrance on the 13th anniversary of 9/11. NSBA joins countless other organizations in their appreciation of the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made throughout the history of our country with the NSBA Foundation’s Heroes On Horses program.
On August 17, the NSBA World Show offered 21 disabled veterans the chance to compete in two special Heroes On Horses events: Ranch Horse Pleasure and Western Pleasure. Participants traveled from across the country to take part and had served Iraq, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Vietnam, and other stations the world over.
In 2010, the Heroes On Horses competition was founded by the NSBA Foundation to give disabled veterans the chance to partner with NSBA and other therapeutic riding programs for veterans and compete at the NSBA World Show. Gus Jolley, of Albuquerque, came up with the concept while participating in a therapeutic riding program for veterans affected by PTSD. Things came full circle in 2014 when Gus was able to take part in the 2014 NSBA World Show HOH competition!
The horse show world is often a new and exciting endeavor for these competitors which, in turn, received short coaching sessions the night before competition by horse industry greats like Wayne Holt, Gil Galyean, Denton DeBuhr, Charles Cannizaro, Blake Britton and Aaron Moses.
A big congratulations goes out to Quinn Sanders, 2014 NSBA Heroes On Horses Ranch Type Horse Champion, and Kurt Hughett, 2014 NSBA Heroes On Horses Western Pleasure Type Champion!
Other people and organizations also had a hand in making the competition a positive and memorable experience for the veterans.
A special thanks goes to Karen Rodrock for sponsoring a pizza social after the coaching sessions where veterans were able to meet each other and share their stories. Horses for Hope (of Kansas) and Partners for Progress (of Illinois) generously loaned horses to those competitors who were unable to bring their usual mounts with them to Tulsa. In addition, Larry and Karen Williams, who have been supporters of the Equestrians with Disabilities, not only provided their photography services but also a “photo of remembrance” for each competitor. Since the inception of the program, Succeed Digestive Conditioning has been a huge supporter in helping the program get to where it is today. As a tribute to our veterans, Shane Dowdy and It’s a Southern Thing provided the Presentation of the Colors during the National Anthem. Awards were donated by Clay Grant of Cowboy Bronze, Skyline Silversmiths LLC, and Tioga Territory. This event wouldn’t have been possible without these generous supporters among many others.