Joy is a wonderful, sweet Half-Arabian/Half-Appaloosa mare. She joined Bridget’s lesson program almost 3 years ago. Prior to that, Joy had been lightly used for beginner lessons; however, her primary job had been a broodmare. When Joy arrived, Bridget realized that she was not quite what she had expected. She had very little experience cantering under saddle, had only rarely worn a bit, and had never jumped. Joy was extremely over weight, which made her less happy about working. She was sweet and willing to do mostly what the kids asked her to do, but she was tough to keep on the rail. She has several conformational challenges that contribute to a very bouncy trot that scared some beginners. Bridget thought the senior mare was likely too old to make many changes and decided to put her up for sale, hoping to find a trail rider who needed a cute and reliable trail horse as Joy loves going on trail rides.
As always, life happens and Bridget had to move barns. Joy was the only lesson horse she had. As she attempted to restart her lesson program in a new place, Joy had to step into every roll. She taught lessons at every level from first time on a horse to teaching jumping. One longtime student, Hannah, has logged many hours teaching Joy how to canter under saddle, stay balanced, hold her leads, and come on the bit. Hannah and Joy have worked tirelessly to not only teach Joy to jump, but to overcome Joy's natural spookiness. At Hannah and Joy's first cross country schooling, they could barely jump the starter fences, and had countless refusals. If Joy didn't refuse because of the jump, you could bet she would stop anywhere the ground changed color.
All summer last year, Hannah and Joy worked their tails off getting ready for the recognized horse trials at Heritage Park. They worked hard on their jumping; nailing the right canter, the right take-off spot, and jumping scary fences. They toiled to develop a connection through the entire body and teach Joy to accept the bit, then to respond to it correctly.
After a year of hard work and dedication at the starter level, Hannah and Joy debuted at Beginner novice last fall at the Heritage Park horse trials. They had a rough dressage test where Joy decided she did not want to canter to the left and stopped dead. Hannah quietly and patiently pressed her forward and, finally, Joy trotted forward and stepped into the left lead canter! They finished on a high with no jumping penalties or time penalties in either of the remaining phases! Bridget was astounded, delighted, and overjoyed. Over two years of tough rides, falling off, tears, scrapes, and bruises, they have emerged triumphant!
Joy has taught Hannah and her other riders that if you truly believe, hard work really does pay off. Hannah and Joy are now successfully schooling novice level and some training level eventing.
Now, Joy has been diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma of the genetalia, and the best way to eliminate it is to do chemotherapy, which is estimated to cost $1000. Like many lesson programs, funds are short. We want to see Joy living happy and healthy. We want to let her continue in her new eventing career for as long as she is game for it! We don’t want to see this angel’s life cut short because of cancer.
Please consider donating to Joy’s treatment. If we can just get 100 people to offer $10, we can get Joy’s treatment started before the cancer spreads! Can you help us ‘Save the Joy’?