We Ask The Industry: What is Your Most Memorable Random Act of Horse-Related Kindness
It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week, and GoHorseShow thought it would be fun and uplifting to ask people in the industry about a memory that stands out when they helped someone or vice-versa.
We asked competitors if they remember when someone treated them with kindness or encouragement at a horse show. Many of the memories involve mentors or idols that reached out and gave an encouraging word, suggestion and even picked them up off the side of the road.
Do you have a random acts of kindness story that pertains to the horse community? If so, we want to hear about it.
Kellie Hinely – It was 1995, and I was 16 at the youth world for the first time. I had my wallet in a tack trunk, and everything was stolen out of it. My parents weren’t able to come, and I was staying with a friend and her parents. I paid for all of my horse showing and travel at the time, and the cash in my wallet was just about all that I had. Jennifer Lisson went around and collected donations from parents. I will never forget her thoughtfulness and everyone’s generosity in giving me back the money that I had lost.
Meredith Landy – One day, I was driving, and my phone rang. It was my good friend and barn mate, Pam Heisinger. We had a little small talk, and then she told me the reason she was calling. She needed to take a year off showing to save some money and asked me if my daughter Ashlyn would like to show her multiple, multiple world champion mare, Sensational Cookie, for the 2018 show season. My answer, uh, yes! Of course, she would. I got a little misty-eyed at the time because I couldn’t think of a more extraordinary act of kindness shown to us in the horse world. Ashlyn had a fantastic year with Cookie and learned a lot about riding and work ethic, and caring for a lovely mare.
Jennifer D’Onofrio – My favorite random act of kindness is when my daughter won her Hunter Under Saddle class at the Congress, and my friend, Karmen Dorsey videoed me running into the arena to hug her and give her a high five. I’m so grateful she did that for me, completely unrequested. I will have it forever on video. I find horse show mom’s look out for one another…we all know how hard these kids work and how precious a win like that is.
Alyssa Casa – What comes to mind when I think of random horse-related kindness are those times when you’re in a warm-up arena, and someone’s tail falls out. We all know it happens at almost every show, and at that moment, it seems like everyone around is willing to lend a hand. Scrambling for bands, tape, zip ties, and whatever else they have to help get it back in. We’ve all been there before.
Jared Stack – I feel the most memorable act of kindness at a horse show is when a peer compliments your horse or pattern. As horse trainers, we are critical of ourselves and our horses, so when another trainer or exhibitor compliments them, it leaves a lasting impression. Also, we all love when someone lets you borrow their stool to mount your horse.
Ashley Dunbar-Clock – Back when I was first starting, I was on my way home from youth world, and my trailer broke down on the highway. I couldn’t get to the next exit. I was freaked out as I had four high-end horses, and it was hot, as it was the middle of summer. While calling around trying to figure out a towing situation, no one would tow the trailer with horses in it. Someone else was on their way home from the youth world and had seen I was broke down. They pulled up to see if they could help, and thank goodness they had room in their trailer that we unloaded my horses on the side of the highway and put them in their trailer, and they hauled them for me to a layover ranch I had found close by. My priority was to get my horses safe then deal with my trailer. I’ll never forget thinking there was kindness in our industry that day. I will never be able to thank them enough for the service they showed and all the help.
Andrea Stanhope – I think there is nothing better than a sincere compliment. I remember every time a fellow competitor has given an “atta girl” after a challenge overcome, and every time a judge has taken time to comment on the horse, my ride, my outfit. But I think my favorite comes from a few years back at a weekend show. I kept seeing this couple everywhere. They would wave at me while I was warming up and give thumbs up from the stands when in the lineup. For the life of me…I had NO idea who they were. At the end of the weekend, they approached. Pointing across the fairgrounds, they told me they are leaving now. ‘We live just over there. But we couldn’t go without telling you how much we have enjoyed watching you this weekend. You and your horse both look like you are having fun and that you love each other. We were rooting for you.’ Those words gave me more joy than any achievement reached that weekend for sure.
Kathy Tobin – Years ago, when only Amateur World existed. Before the renovations to the Oklahoma City fairgrounds, my hunter under saddle horse had a meltdown going into the chute to the arena. Deanna (Searles) grabbed the reins and, running along with his trot, led him to the arena gate. He was fine once in the arena, but I’ll never forget Deanna coming to my aid when I needed it.
Lauren Stanley – We were at a show, and Scott Reinhartz noticed a hard-working girl. Day in and day out, she was giving it her all. One day, Scott watched her show and thought she deserved a nice show pad to match her outfit and fit her horse. So, he went over to a vendor and bought her one. He didn’t know her, and he wanted nothing in return. He just saw how hard she worked and wanted her to feel great walking into that show pen. It was so lovely and something I will never forget. Good job, Scott.
Brad Ost – That one is easy for me. When I was involved in an accident, the horse community came together and did so many kind things, including donations and fundraisers. Even people I had never met helped out. It was very heartwarming.
Trista Born – Six years ago, my husband’s truck was having issues right before leaving for the AQHA L1 Championship show in Virginia with my horse. He called our friends Roger and Karla Johnson, and on short notice, they lent him their truck, no questions asked. Over 1,600 miles later, we were fortunate enough to make it there and back safely, and we even brought home a trophy.
Brister Shum – Traveling home from the Gold Coast show, hauling our fully-loaded living quarters, our truck completely broke down six hours from home. The truck was towed to the repair shop, but we had no idea how to get the trailer and horses home. A friend called a friend, and miraculously Manita McCool Defoor showed up. We barely knew her, but she drove to our rescue and handed us the keys to her truck. She never asked for anything. She just said, “You would do it for me.” She is genuinely what AQHA is all about.
Leigh Ann Griffith – Our lesson program is an excellent testimonial to the acts of kindness we have received in the horse industry. We are very blessed to have acquired numerous top former show horses through the generosity of professional horsemen like Chris Gray, Gretchen Mathes, and the Re-Ride program, to name a few, which supports our college and team accounts.
Many of these individuals can sell their expensive horses but instead, believe in giving back to the system. We would never have access to the level of horses in our program without these gifts. Some horses require rehabilitation, but several have become Congress Champions and Top 10 with our school students.
These horses have become highly successful, and it is immensely gratifying to make a difference in someone else’s life. Simple acts of kindness, like giving a show outfit or piece of equipment to a 4-H participant can make a massive difference to a family. Something that costs nothing is words of encouragement and advice to people just getting started or having difficulty. Always remember to pay it forward!
Has someone randomly helped you in the horse show industry, or have you helped someone else? Tell us your story in the comments.