Winston Churchill’s famous quip—“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man”—seemed to resonate throughout the John Justin Arena on January 14, thanks to the inspiring Chisholm Challenge competition held in conjunction with the 2014 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Challenged riders saddled up their trusty mounts for a moment in the spotlight, and at the end of the day, a pair of Paint Horses helped carry their riders to top honors.
Boston Baldy Bar, a 1999 sorrel overo gelding by Peek A Boo Charlie and out of A Boston Cutie (QH), helped rider Sam Wolfe clinch the championship in the independent walk-trot-canter hunt-seat equitation class. A 26-year-old from Argyle, Texas, Sam rides with Born 2 Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Aubrey, Texas.
“Sam is a wonderful young man,” Born 2 Be Director Mary Gwinner said. “He has been involved in therapeutic riding since about the age of 5. The progress Sam has made is absolutely incredible, and the horse is a major contributor to his success. I am humbled by his accomplishments.”
Check out the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s video of Sam.
Another Born 2 Be team, Everett Pendleton and BR Miss Macho, also claimed first place in showmanship at the event. BR Miss Macho is a 1995 palomino overo mare by Barlink Macho Man and out of RHR Breathless.
More than a dozen therapeutic riding centers from across Texas gathered in Fort Worth to compete in the annual competition. The Chisholm Challenge offers a variety of classes for challenged riders, spanning English and Western events, driving competitions and even in-hand classes. Though all classes offer a special opportunity to the exhibitors, Mary says there’s a special sense of accomplishment when a rider is able to compete in the independent divisions.
“Year’s ago, Sam’s mom was watching him ride at Special Olympics Texas in an independent walk/trot class for the first time,” she said. “I sat next to her in the stands and watched as tears came down her face. She looked at me and said she didn’t care how he did in the class. The fact that he was doing it independently was ‘like falling into a feather bed.’ So many of the parents of our riders worry about what happens to their child when they are no longer able to be there for them. For their child to exhibit independence is such a milestone.”
APHA and the American Paint Horse Foundation recognize and support the role horses play in assisting those with special needs. The foundation presents scholarships annually to instructors seeking certification through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, more commonly known as PATH Intl., and the Wounded Warrior Project. To learn more about APHF and how you can help support these endeavors, visit aphfoundation.org or call (817) 834-2742.
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.