By Shane Darnell
Without a funded marketing organization, have you done your part to help ensure our Morgan Horse industry is setup to recruit demand in the economies of tomorrow?
To borrow a phrase that was wisely “chosen” by the American Morgan Horse Association…;
“The Morgan Horse… The Horse That Chooses You”
If you’re lucky you’ll experience a heart felt, inspiring moment during your life, visibly evident by the unmistakable expression in your eyes at the point you realize, “you were chosen”.
This can only happen when your heart is full of love, and you’ve made a sacrifice for someone or something else. You may have experienced the emotion of “being chosen” at the birth of your child or the moment you were married. Those of us involved in showing Morgan horses occasionally see this experience unfold in the winners circle of the show ring, its generally after someone overcomes a life obstacle that warms our hearts.
Last year I was extremely lucky to experience the joy of “being chosen” more than once. Pictured above is young Cade Miner this year winning his championship at Mass Morgan. Cade and Wrangler (his horse & mentor) are not new to victory passes in fact over the last two years they’ve won multiple world titles. It’s what Cade had to overcome in his young life last year to accomplish this feat.
Cade is just 11 years old, and at the beginning of the show season his best friend at school committed suicide after being bullied. Professionals in the community and at Cade’s school involved in helping families through situations like this had conversations with Cade to ensure he had what he needed to navigate his emotions. Every professional made the same recommendation to Cade’s mother. “Allow Cade to see as much of his horse Wrangler as possible, it’s his passion in life which is growing his heart and offering something no human can.”
Wrangler has been Cade’s companion in the walk/jog division for the last three years. For reasons that we are just now beginning to understand… Wrangler requires that Cade exhibit the ability to communicate with his thoughts because he doesn’t tolerate direction or pressure from the bridle. Secondly, you need a calm and quiet mind with good intentions.
After winning two world titles over the last few seasons in walk/jog with Wrangler, Cade was insistent this year that he move up early to the lope division (slow gallop). Cade’s persuasion won over the staff at Taylor River Farm, and through last winter Kristen Logan the riding instructor worked with Cade and began loping lessons. Trainer Richard Boule, before Mass Morgan began fine tuning the lope with Cade and Wrangler. The challenge for Cade was figuring out how to keep Wrangler slow at the lope without pressure from the bridle. Cade did well in his lope qualifier against 10 other riders his senior, he and Wrangler proudly placed third.
Going into the championship the only advice we could give Cade was to communicate to Wrangler more strongly through his thoughts? It’s with two ears forward that Wrangler circled the show ring with an 11 year old kid on his back for which he was teaching one of life’s most important lessons…
It’s at this point that Cade learned how to communicate with his heart. And this is where we all experienced the expression in the eyes of an 11 year old boy after being “chosen” by the judge to win a heart felt championship.
It warmed Cade’s soul and filled many eyes with tears as he started his victory pass to a standing ovation along the rail where he cherished in the opportunity to make eye contact with several role models (pictured here; Daryl Hopson, Jolene Galvin, Ling Fu Wylie) from the Morgan Industry. Cade commented as he exited the ring, “with all the support along the rail this win felt like a World Title.” Still thinking with his heart, and to make it easier on his mother’s budget, Cade stepped aside this year so his brother Camden Miner could have his chance for a World Championship victory pass with the Roses.
A few weeks later, as final preparations were being made for the three week journey to the World Championships in OKC, Cade insisted that his mother take him to the barn. He wanted to make sure that Wrangler wasn’t going to be upset being left behind this year. Cade took the photo above from Mass Morgan and spent an hour in Wrangler’s stall thanking him for all that he does.
As I explained earlier, I experienced the joy of being “chosen by a Morgan Horse” several times last year. It was again at OKC, when Camden Miner achieved his dream and took home the Roses (pictured here during his victory pass).
My hope is that this will be a conversation starter, encourage role models, and those who can to reach out and sponsor a youth rider. Secondly, a temperature check to see if our Morgan community has sufficient; People, Process and Tools in place to; MARKET & HELP RECRUIT the youth of today. Involvement in the Morgan breed brings; Life Long Friends, Extended Family and Mentors which are essential for every individual’s growth and the success of our future Morgan breed is depending on it. It’s how we ensure our Tomorrow Readiness.
Those involved throughout your lives with the horse industry can probably trace the beginnings to some point in your youth. I am confident its at the point you were “chosen” by the Morgan horse which touched your soul, ignited your passion and has guaranteed an extended family with life long friends.