March 20, 2015–A Home for Every Horse’s Equine Comeback Challenge highlighted the abilities of rescue horses on March 14, 2015 at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo with 11 rescue horses, showcasing their ability to defy all odds and become willing equine partners. Brittnee Woodward along with Forgotten Fortune(Fortune) walked away from the Equine Comeback Challenge as the winner of the event. Fortune was surrendered to the Colorado Horse Rescue Network as an unhandled four-year-old stallion and was gelded just one week before entering 90 days of training with Brittnee at Old Glory Equestrian changing his fate forever.
Following the Equine Comeback Challenge win, Woodward said “…it was a lot of hard work, but this competition is all about the rescue horses, and less about the trainers involved.” Woodward highlights that it is the training that adds value to a horse, not papers.
Woodward and Fortune shared their spotlight with the youngest Equine Comeback Challenge trainer, Tate Welch. Sixth generation cowboy Welch and his Equine Comeback Challenge rescue mare PollyAnna from Mountain Valley Equine Rescue were a big hit the day of the competition. At only 11 years old, Welch placed second at the Equine Comeback Challenge with his precise execution of the Ranch Horse Versatility Trail Pattern.
The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo provided the chance for each rescue horse to show off their ability to become willing equine partners. Each of the 11 trainers, including; Misty Arellano, Danny Benedict, Alisha Cottingham, Jessica Hutsell, Kim Leonard, Byron Light, Sara Light, Alex Schoen, Susan Shields, Tate Welch, and Brittnee Woodward provided the means for the 11 rescue horses—which were all previously listed as unwanted—to showcase their abilities at this one-of-a-kind competition. The trainers, who worked with their horses since mid-December, converged to compete in versatility trail class. Following the course, each trainer had an additional two minutes to showcase, in freestyle form, the work they’ve done with their horses. Many of the Equine Comeback Challenge horses have already been adopted to their new forever homes, a few of the rescue horses are still available to be adopted privately, through each trainer, to approved homes.
A Home for Every Horse was founded in 2011 as a way for Equine.com—the World’s Largest Equine Marketplace—to develop a lasting partnership with equine rescues all over the country and use their resources to help find forever homes for the more than 170,000 unwanted horses. At the beginning of 2014, Mariah Hammerschmidt, the Project Coordinator for A Home for Every Horse, realized there was a growing need to assist rescue organizations in their efforts.
After two successful events in 2014, the Equine Comeback Challenge returned to Denver; this time pairing 11 trainers with 11 horses. These 11 rescue horses were provided by regional rescues; Colorado Horse Rescue Network in partnership with Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue and Spring Creek Horse Rescue, Triple Acres Horse Rescue, Far View Horse Rescue, Mountain View Horse Rescue, CANTER Colorado and Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue. Rescues all over the country have adoptable horses just like those that will be participating in the Challenge event. Rescues all over the country have adoptable horses just like those that will be participating in the Challenge event.
A Home for Every Horse’s generous partners are on board to help with the Rocky Mountain Equine Comeback Challenge in a big way; Purina delivered four bags of grain to each trainer to help the horses achieve optimum performance condition, Tractor Supply Company provided gift cards to each trainer to assist in hay and other supplies, while Zoetis and WeatherBeeta will be providing donations to the forever home each horse finds after the competition. And special to the Equine Comeback Challenge, Cinch Jeans provided shirts for each of the trainers.