Many Thanks for Your Support in the 100-Day Trainer Challenge

Solar and TessI’ve received tremendous support during the Prodigious Fund’s 100-Day Trainer Challenge. I want to take a moment to thank you all for reading and following along. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your feedback, stories, and kindness during this process. And I look forward to staying connected.

Even though the majority of the work I did with Solar was between him and myself, the process truly felt like a team effort. So many folks graciously supported us and the positive energy surrounding our efforts was palpable. I’ve always been lucky to be a part of an amazing horse community, and it was neat to see that my work with Solar was something others could get behind.

A big thank you is in order for everyone who helped organize and run this event: the Prodigious Fund, Emerald Downs, the owners, the volunteers, the trainers, and of course the supportive followers! It was fun to see so many faces of people I know cheering for Solar and the other 100-Day Trainer Challenge horses at the final show and to meet new Thoroughbred enthusiasts. Thanks are in order as well to Stephanie Hodge Burns for her and her family’s care and post-track work with Solar, and their interest in entering him in this program. I’m glad I was able to pick and work with this nice horse!

A highlight for me was having my Grandma Barb join me for the finale. She was responsible for my first pony ride over 20 years ago and also was instrumental in the purchase of my first pony, Mikey. She’s been one of my biggest fans, and I’m glad that she was there to celebrate Solar’s success too!

Solar standing with three people

Barb and Cheryl, my “horse moms”

A special thank you goes out to Cheryl Smith, owner of Nayborly Farms, for her care of Solar during the 100-days. She also worked hard at the final show as a volunteer groom and even went above and beyond to help some of the other trainers set up for their performances. I appreciate each and every person at the show who stepped forward to share a kind word, polish boots, move jumps, bring water, etc.

My acknowledgements to the many who took beautiful pictures on the day of the show. Jo Arlow took stunning pictures (such as the top photo of my two good friends, Tess and Solar) at her first equestrian photo shoot! Thank you also to Connie Weishaar, Cheryl Smith, Kristy Batie, Diane Karl of Frogster Photos, Monica Bretherton of Horsebytes, Emily Wilmot, Linda Dupertuis, Heidi Behrends Cerniway, and Cadence Maddox for their photos.

Thank you too to the best significant other a horsegirl could ask for: Eric. During the 100-days he took video, set jumps, made trips to the feed store, organized song playlists, and tried his hand at horse platform carpentry. He also let me bog down his computer with hundreds of megabites of video (I promise to fix it!).

I feel extremely priviliged to have had Uckele Health & Nutrition sponsor Solar with an array of products for the duration of the 100-Day Trainer Challenge. I might be biased, but I thought Solar was one of the shiniest, healthiest looking horses presented at the show. He felt great and I thank Uckele for their role in this.

I have sincere appreciation for every person who donated funds, supplies, time, discounted entry fees, and more to Solar’s training process. This allowed me to give Solar as much exposure and experience as possible during a relatively short timeframe. Also a shout out to those who spread the word about the 100-Day Trainer Challenge and especially those of you who’ve made direct efforts to help ex-racehorses. There are many folks that I could list here, but I encourage you to check out all of my 100-Day Trainer Challenge supporters, here.

Additionally, I’d like to thank the other trainers who participated in this program during its pilot year: Meika Decher, Devin Robel, Mark Bolender, and Ruel Johnson with Tara Devlin. It was an honor to be able to showcase my work alongside these accomplished horsepeople, and it’s been an excellent learning opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to crossing paths again in the future!

Lastly, thank you to Sharon Knowlton for connecting her friend Mary with Solar, and many thanks to Mary for offering Solar such a bright future.

On a final note, the support Solar generated came in many forms. Perhaps my favorite tidbit of support came from my longtime equestrian friend, Jill. Jill was given a superhero trading card by chance. She modified the card ever so slightly and sent it over to me, explaining that she thought it was meant for me. The card is as follows:

Solar superhero card

Stay tuned at www.chesnaklimek.com for continued blog posts about riding, horsemanship, and the happenings with my own horses. I have an exciting three-year-old American Paint Horse, “Joey,” who will begin his show career in the spring of 2014. Pippin and I are also on a quest to further our dressage training at the FEI level. It’s a pleasure to have you be a part of my riding adventures!

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