(OnFocus) The Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation in Pittsville entered six horses into the 2nd Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge which took place in Madison on Oct. 19.
MHWF co-directors Scott and Karen Bayerl are board members of Wisconsin Horse Alliance, which organizes the event.
“I cannot think of anything better than a competitive event where everyone wins!” said Karen. “A trainers challenge not only helps showcase the amazing talent of trainers who are out there, but it also showcases the amazing horses that are available through adoption in horse rescues throughout the state.”
Through the dedicated efforts of trainers, which volunteer to work with the horses for 90 days, the event greatly increases the chance that the rescue horses will have a bright future in a good home.
“Many people may not give a ‘rescue’ horse a second look, and a trainers challenge is a great way to show people that just because a horse winds up in a transition in their life, they are no less wonderful of a horse than any horse out there,” said Karen. “A trainers challenge helps rescues tremendously by helping the horses become more adoptable by a wider range of people because of the additional training they receive, and showing people how talented and versatile the horses in rescue really are.”
Fourteen horses and trainer teams participated in the challenge. Other organizations which entered horses included the Hooved Animal Humane Society of Illinois and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
Throughout the process, the trainers for the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation horses provided updates via dedicated team Facebook pages.
Five of the six horses the foundation entered were from an untrained herd it had rescued in June 2018, referred to as the “Lucky 13.” Three of those horses were adopted this past weekend: Hope, Serenity, and Riley.
Hope, a 17-year-old Pintabian mare, was adopted by trainer Paul Miller’s family as a surprise for his niece, Kendall.
“We kept the adoption a surprise for Kendall and she didn’t know until it was announced at the event,” said Karen. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a little girl so happy and excited!”
Serenity, 7-year-old Quarter Horse-type mare, was adopted by her trainer, Ann Nelson. “Ann did such a fabulous job training Serenity and the two formed a bond over the course of training that was amazing to see,” Karen said. “Ann could not part with Serenity, and I’m sure Serenity feels the same way.”
Riley, 7 year-old gelding, was adopted by a woman, Shayna, who had watched the horse’s progress throughout the challenge. “Riley’s trainer, Rachel Szydlowski, did a magnificent job with Riley, and Shayna is thrilled to call Riley her own!” Karen said.
The other three horses, Glory, Alex, and ElsieDoll, are still available for adoption. Alex and ElsieDoll are available at MHWF, while Glory will continue training. Learn more by visiting www.equineadoption.com.
More information on the event can be found at MidwestRescueHorseTrainersChallenge.com.
Competing MHWF horses:
Team ElsieDoll, trainer Serenity Hackl:
“Elsie Doll is a 19 year-old Pintabian mare who was part of a humane case in a neighboring county that MHWF was asked to help with. She is a strikingly beautiful horse who has loads of potential. While she found herself in a bad situation and suffered from severe neglect, she bounced back 100% and is ready to find her person. The training that the Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge offers is going to be another important building block on Elsie’s journey to a great home. Elsie is looking forward to showing everyone that age is just a number, and she’s got loads of great years ahead of her.”
Team Glory, trainer Emily Lundquist
Glory is a 14-year-old Paint mare, part of the Lucky 13. “Glory was basically unhandled at the time and knew nothing. She learned the basics of being handled, leading, and being good for vet and farrier work, and was ready for the next step to training and finding a great home.”
Team Hope, trainer Paul Miller:
Hope is a 17-year-old Pintabian mare of the Lucky 13. “Hope remained at MHWF since June 2018, where she was getting her regular veterinary and farrier care, learned about halter training and the basics. Hope was now ready and willing to begin training. Hope is as sweet as they come and someone will be very lucky to have her join their family. Everyone who has met Hope is very excited at this opportunity for her to finally get trained, become everything she can be, and find a great home.”
Team Serenity, trainer Ann Nelson:
Serenity is a 7-year-old Quarter Horse-type mare. “Serenity is one of the Lucky 13 horses and she had zero training and was completely unhandled. Serenity has learned some of the basics of halter training and being handled. Serenity is a lot more shy and untrusting than the other horses and needs a special trainer who understands this. The trainers challenge is the perfect opportunity to help Serenity find a great home. “
Team Riley, trainer Rachel Szydlowski:
Riley is a sweet 7 year-old gelding Paint cross gelding of the Lucky 13. “Riley had zero training and very minimal handling in his life. Riley was in a wonderful foster home learning the basics of halter training and being handled and learning the basics.”
Team Alex, trainer Amber Clark:
Alex, a super sweet and beautiful 11 year-old gelding, is part of the Lucky 13 who found himself with nowhere to go. Alex had no training and minimal handling in his life.