Equestrian Community Unites


By Joanne Morse

This article received an honorable mention in the 2020 GMO Newsletter Award for a general-interest/informational article for GMOs with 500 or more members. It originally appeared in Collected Remarks, the newsletter for Georgia Dressage & Combined Training Association Inc., January/February 2020.

Ask any equestrian and they would say that it would be easy to make a list of why we love our sport so much. They can go on about the amazing horses that they have had the pleasure of working with. They can reminisce about the places they traveled with their horses. They can remark on the wonderful people that they met along their many adventures in this horse crazy world of ours. This past December many of us had the opportunity to add another memory of a moment where not only horses but the crazy horse people that go with them touched our lives in a way that I know that I will never forget.

What started as a small idea that four women had to help a friend in need rapidly grew by leaps and bounds into an event that not only consumed our lives but also changed them forever. When word got out that a fundraiser was being organized for local trainer, Drew Olsen, the out pour of people wanting to help was overwhelming. Lisa Rusinyak, Shae Brannon Lane, Rebecca Bowman, and I took to the task at full speed ahead to do our best to make the event as successful as possible with a little under a month to pull it all together. The result was more than we could ever imagine.

Being a not just a well-known local trainer with much publicized success in the Mustang world brought in much support for Drew. Drew’s mother Leslie Olsen, a much-loved dressage trainer and judge, brought in supporters that had known Drew since he was a child. It was the outpour of support though from people that didn’t know either one personally though that blew me away the most. The fundraiser was scheduled for the Saturday after Christmas. We were not sure what kind of turnout there would be. The silent auction had been drawing a great amount of attention. A mini show was also scheduled for that day at the beautiful Chattahoochee Hills Eventing who graciously donated their facility for the event. There was something offered for everyone. As the morning started and the trailers kept hauling in I can say that we were all blown away by the volume of people that were drawn in that day. English and Western, Hunters, Jumpers, Eventers, Reiners, Dressage riders were all there to support our friend.

We were all so excited that Drew was able to attend that day and see the support that the community had for him in full swing. To say he was blown away would be an understatement. The appreciation was obvious and impossible to measure it was so great. Leslie,

Drew’s mother who was judging the dressage portion of the show, walked into the pavilion during her break, looked around and said, “aren’t horse people just the best!” The amount of thanks to all the people that helped make this event a success cannot be said enough. If I had to sum up the whole experience in just one sentence, I would have to say the exact same thing. Horse people are the best!

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