UHC Director Judges ‘Rags to Riches Rescue Competition’

Ten rescued horses and their riders competed against each other for top honors.

Organizations across the country are continuing to work hard to address the issues of unwanted horses. Equine care facilities are struggling and many of our nation’s rescues are either at capacity or near capacity. With this information at hand, Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) member, the Equine Extravaganza, has instituted a new program to promote rescue and adoption.

On Nov. 3, UHC Director Ericka Caslin went to Richmond, Va., to judge the inaugural ‘Rags to Riches Horse Rescue Competition’ at the Equine Extravaganza. Along with fellow judges Harry de Leyer, a successful show jumper and trainer in America; Elizabeth Letts, author of the book The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse that Inspired a Nation; and Elizabeth Shatner, philanthropist for the All Glory project; Caslin saw ten rescue horses over the course of the day. These ten finalists were chosen out of many entries, based on video submissions received since July. The breeds showcased included Quarter Horses, Paints, off-the-track Thoroughbreds, a Percheron/TB cross, and Appaloosas.

During the first part of the competition, the finalists presented their horses’ stories to the judges. "A few stories really stood out," said Caslin. "Some of these horses were on the brink of death, and to see that someone cared enough to give them a second chance at life is really incredible. What is even more amazing to me is that these horses are competing successfully in disciplines such as dressage and eventing. These stories were very heart-warming and emotional."

In this round, the horses and riders or handlers were judged on a scale from one to 10 on the passion and allure of the story behind the horse’s rescue, how far the horse has come since its rescue, and if the horse would be a good role model for the equine rescue

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