On Saturday, September 17th, 2016, the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation held it’s 9th Annual Trainer’s Challenge of the Unwanted Horse at the Leatherdale Equine Center on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus.
Sixteen horses and one mule competed for over $10,000 in cash and prizes. To the delight of the crowd of over 300 spectators, Rosebud the mule and her trainer Morgan Sexe took home the top prize! The Grand Championship prize of $5000 was sponsored by Hay Chix, a company with a long history of supporting MHARF and other equine welfare organizations.
The Reserve Championship prize of $3000, which was sponsored by a generous donation from Nutrena, went to Aubreanne Dockter and a little gelding named Poco who is blind in one eye.
Third Overall Highpoint ($1500 sponsored in part by an anonymous donation on honor of the 2016 Challenge trainers) was awarded to Wiki, a Morgan/paint cross gelding and his trainer Jamie Moeller.
The Highpoint Awards were again extended this year to cover the top 6 with the Appaloosa mare Marigold and trainer Lauren Novak coming in 4th, the warmblood gelding Patriot with trainer Andrea Keacher and the paint/pony cross gelding Ranger with trainer Tiahna Flemming tying for 5th, and 6th also a tie between the quarter horse mare Hope with trainer Marirose Berner and the Friesian/Arab cross gelding Newton with trainers from the Wrisky Ranch Team.
The $500 Eric Crabtree Memorial Award for Good Horsemanship/Good Sportsmanship went to Jamie Moeller, the “Best Facebook Page” award went to the Wrisky Ranch Team, and the two awards voted on by the audience—People’s Choice ($100 sponsored by an anonymous donation in honor of MHARF Volunteers) and Best Groomed (a gift basket from Espana Silk All Natural Grooming Products) were both awarded to Patriot and Andrea Keacher.
The Challenge consisted of 5 classes: Halter/Condition (sponsored by Espana Silk All Natural Grooming Products), Pleasure (sponsored by an anonymous donation in honor of 3 adopted Challenge alumni-Valentina, Black Magic, and Raayna), Trail/Obstacle (sponsored by an anonymous donation in honor of Sasha and Derek Kohlhase of Dart Ranch), Freestyle (sponsored by Horse Crazy Market) and Veterinarian/Farrier (sponsored by Animal Humane Society of MN). Mary Elizabeth Photography was the official event photographer and additional sponsors included Thrivent Financial (printing/program sponsor), St. Croix Saddlery (trainer gift bag sponsor), and the Valley Equestrian News.
Event judges for 2016 were Judy Jensen, Bob Johnson, and Dan Grunewald. At the end of the event eight of the seventeen available horses were adopted into pre-approved homes. The Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation will begin accepting applications for the 2017 Challenge in January. For complete information on the applying for, adopting from, or attending the Challenge please visit www.mnhoovedanimalrescue.org.