By Caitlyn Bennett
Photos by Sophia Lewis Photography
This article won the 2018 GMO Newsletter Award in general interest for GMOs with 500 or more members. It first appeared in the August 2018 “Collected Remarks” Newsletter, Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association.
On Friday, July 6th, I attended the Ticket to Ride event. The competition is a hunter/jumper show that benefits the Mustang and Wild Horse Rescue of Georgia (MWHR). Last year at this event, I rode my mustang Hocus Pocus in a dressage demo, but this year I attended to support other ambassadors who exhibited their horses in an array of disciplines.
A few trainers brought their mustangs to the competition and demonstrated the versatility of the breed. GDCTA member, June Brewer, showed off the breed’s capabilities in the dressage ring. Her horse, RU Marley (Roo), has competed to Fourth Level and was June’s equine partner that helped her earn her USDF Bronze Medal. Roo completed his pattern at Ticket to Ride with natural finesse and submission. Together, they looked elegant.
Erica Eades brought Basil, a four-year-old mustang mare with whom she completed the 2016 Junior Mustang Makeover. Erica exhibited Basil on the long line, maneuvering her through cones and over jumps. Afterward, she displayed Basil’s favorite trick of lying down on command, and she allowed us to share in watching Basil’s sixth ride under saddle. Basil demonstrated the easy personality of the breed and its trainability. The demonstration brought a light-hearted, fun feel to the event, drawing in lots of spectators.
Later, Sophie Clark demonstrated liberty work with one of MWHR’s adoptable horses, Seger. The executive director of the rescue, Elizabeth Montgomery, explained that Seger lost a lot of confidence when he was brought in; however, through work with Sophie, he has come out of his shell and now excels through in-hand liberty work. Sophie plans to have Seger under saddle by the end of the year. It was amazing to watch the two together, working off of each other’s cues.
Along with the demonstrations, MWHR hosted a tack sale and silent auction, each benefiting the rescue. I shopped around the sale, picking up some items for my horses and supporting the great cause. My horses got fly masks and bell boots, which allowed a horse at MWHR to receive the care and comfort they need.
But that is not all, Ticket to Ride also hosted a series of fun games that all supported the rescue. In Ride-A-Buck, riders rode their horses through hard transitions while attempting to keep a twenty dollar bill between their leg and the horse. Also, there were bouncy horses. Riders raced on the “horses” bouncing their way over jumps. I enjoyed every moment of my time at Ticket to Ride. There was much to be learned from the experience. Each demo was different, demonstrating the versatility of the wild horse.
Every event played its own role in helping MWHR, but it all adds up in the end. It was an amazing fundraiser for a very worthwhile cause. Every little bit helps the Mustang and Wild Horse Rescue of Georgia change lives for more horses in need and continue to spread the word about mustangs. For more information about MWHR, visit their website www.mwhr.org.