The Therapy Horse of the Year contest is a national contest hosted by Hope in the Saddle, along with sponsors Nutrena Feed, a division of Cargill, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company, to recognize the special talents, selfless work and invaluable contributions of therapy horses. The contest required entrants to nominate a horse who has made a significant, positive difference in someone’s life.
Selected from 430 entries, Ella was chosen as the grand-prize winner. Ella (along with her human friend, Jessica Warns, Equine Director of Leg Up Farm), will receive more than 1,000 pounds of Nutrena® Equine Feed, a $250 Tractor Supply Company gift card, Hope in the Saddle jackets and more.
Ella, a 16-year-old Quarter Pony, is the most veteran therapy horse at Leg Up Farm. In her nine years there, she has helped dozens of riders with special needs reach new heights of independence. Recently, she has developed a special bond with an individual with autism spectrum disorder.
“For the past few months, [this individual] has started to learn to post the trot and is even able to ride Ella independently when doing so,” explains Warns in her nomination essay. “Sometimes he gets very excited when he gets to do this. He will vocalize loudly and bounce up and down on her back. Ella always remains calm and just continues to trot at whatever pace they were already going. In just the past few weeks, we have been able to introduce the canter. … Ella always takes care of him and does as he asks. For someone who relies on others for everything in his life, the independence he gets to experience with Ella makes her a hero in our eyes.”
The Therapy Horse of the Year contest also recognized three runners-up: Buddie, a therapy horse at Faith, Hope and Horses, nominated by Kelsey Burgoyne; Glory, a therapy horse at Horse SenseAbility, nominated by Polly Kornblith; and Rolex, a therapy horse at Horses for Healing, Inc., nominated by Claire Ann Johnson. Each runner-up will receive five free bags of Nutrena® Equine Feed as well as a Hope in the Saddle jacket.
“Going through the Therapy Horse of the Year nominations just might be the best part of my job,” says Hope in the Saddle program manager Lauren Feldman. “Reading about all the incredible people, horses and therapeutic riding programs out there is inspiring. Therapy horses are changing people’s lives, and the goal of this contest is to shine a light on some of those horse heroes.”
Read the nomination essays for the Therapy Horse of the Year winner and finalists at hopeinthesaddle.com/stories-of-hope/2020-therapy-horse-of-the-year-winner-ella.
About Equine Network LLC’s Hope in the SaddleEquine Network LLC is the world’s premier horse enthusiast group, with events, memberships, marketing and media that span the globe. With our longstanding, award-winning brands, as well as some of the largest events in the horse industry, we strive to stay the best in our field, continually evolving and expanding our horizons. Equine Network owns and operates three of the world’s largest, most prestigious Western horse sport competitions: the U.S. Team Roping Championships, National Team Roping and the World Series of Team Roping. Through our membership services, we provide roadside assistance to more than 40,000 horse trailer owners and members, as well as online learning opportunities to thousands of subscribers. Equine Network also offers a valuable channel for marketing solutions through well-known equine industry information platforms—including Hope in the Saddle—that reach more than 3 million individuals and 600-plus leading companies. Learn more at equinetwork.com
The mission of Hope in the Saddle is to share some of the most meaningful and important stories to emerge from the equestrian world—stories of how our relationships with horses can help us overcome life’s toughest challenges. These stories come from all corners of the horse community—from therapeutic riding centers to show rings and competitive equestrians to backyard owners. Through engaging articles, videos and social media communities, Hope in the Saddle is proud to bring these stories to you. If you’d like to share your story, visit HopeInTheSaddle.com.
About CargillCargill’s 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 153 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.
About Tractor Supply CompanyTractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, has been passionate about serving its unique niche, as a one-stop shop for recreational farmers, ranchers and all those who enjoy living the rural lifestyle, for more than 80 years. Tractor Supply offers an extensive mix of products necessary to care for home, land, pets and animals with a focus on product localization, exclusive brands and legendary customer service that addresses the needs of the Out Here lifestyle. With more than 42,000 Team Members, the Company leverages its physical store assets with digital capabilities to offer customers the convenience of purchasing products they need anytime, anywhere and any way they choose at the everyday low prices they deserve. At December 26, 2020, the Company operated 1,923 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.TractorSupply.com.
Tractor Supply Company also owns and operates Petsense, a small-box pet specialty supply retailer focused on meeting the needs of pet owners, primarily in small and mid-size communities, and offering a variety of pet products and services. At December 26, 2020, the Company operated 182 Petsense stores in 25 states. For more information on Petsense, visit www.Petsense.com.