Tyler, TX - September 29, 2008 - At the Dallas Harvest Horse Show, a committee of dedicated individuals has committed their time and energies in an effort to give back to an organization that has done so much for the equine industry. The show, which will run November 5-9, 2008, will donate proceeds from fundraising events to Habitat for Horses; an equine organization that rescues horses and changes lives.
All money raised from the fundraisers held during several events, such as the $25,000 Dallas Harvest Grand Prix and several parties, dinners and exhibition events , will directly benefit Habitat for Horses. Habitat for Horses is an equine rescue organization that goes beyond saving, rehabilitating and finding new homes for horses. Habitat for Horses has also been instrumental in the creation of equine education programs. Programs include basic horsemanship for those adopting, and equine investigation to educate uninformed horse owners how to properly take care of their animals. Habitat is also involved with Equine-Assisted Activities, part of a national program that uses horses to help troubled teens.
This non-profit equine rescue organization has attracted stars such as Willie Nelson and Toby Keith. Both Toby Keith and Willie Nelson are active members of the Habitat for Horses Executive Board. Willie Nelson has adopted 27 Habitat horses.
Habitat for Horses was established in 1998. The founder and director of the program is Jerry Finch, who left his successful career to purchase a 27 acre ranch in pursuit of a new goal, saving horses. Habitat for Horses saves horses and other equine animals from slaughter and many other desperate situations. Sometimes, horses are found wandering the streets after people drop them off at the front gate and take off. Habitat for Horses is invested in rehabilitating and finding new homes, foster homes and sponsors for these needy animals.
Dallas Harvest Horse Show Event Chairperson Lori Motlagh is another individual who has been touched by Habitat for Horses. She has adopted several animals, and one of her horses has gone on to become a successful show horse.
"The first horse I adopted was a little Arabian named Darby. He had been abandoned in a field when the property owner sold the land and left him behind. The new owner called Habitat and said come get this horse or he is going to slaughter. We are not sure if Darby fell or got injured by another horse, but he was basically paralyzed," said Motlagh. "He could not lift his head or neck, and he couldn't eat. He had gotten so bad Habitat thought Darby was going to have to be put down. Habitat rehabilitated him, and I adopted him. Neither of us knew how to jump, and I learned to jump with Darby."
Motlagh had developed a close relationship with Jerry Finch, the Director of Habitat for Horses. When a thoroughbred stallion named Dancer that needed a lot of work came to Habitat for Horses, he asked her if she would be interested in adopting him. Habitat has all horses gelded prior to becoming adoptable; They do not promote or allow reproduction due to the abundant amount of horses that currently need homes.
After falling in love with Dancer and begging her husband, they adopted him. The day they picked him up, they came for Dancer and left with Dancer, two donkeys and three miniature horses. This created a need for land, and they bought a farm and aptly called it Full Circle Farm.
"It's kind of heart warming, since everything at the farm kind of came around full circle. I got out of horses got back into horses. The animals were facing a certain death and they ended up here. Everyone at the farm has come full circle. For all of us it means something special," said Motlagh.
When Dancer first arrived at Full Circle Farm, it was obvious he would need a lot of work. He was wild and came straight off the track. He most likely had been pumped full of drugs for the past few years and was still a stallion. He was rescued on a tip that five thoroughbreds were on their way to slaughter because they were not winning anymore.
"We pretty much brought him to farm and turned him out. We wanted to let him become a horse, be turned him out with other horses, and he became just sweet, sweet, sweet," said Motlagh.
Motlagh's research found that Dancer's race name was Quick Moment. He had twelve start during his racing career. Six of those being wins, second, third and forth place finishes. He also participated in a couple "claimer" races in the $50K range. He made over six figures during his career. After losing his last race, they decided to send him to slaughter.
After adopting all the animals, there was no money left for Motlagh to purchase a show horse. She decided to see if Dancer would fit the bill.
"I was in a situation where I didn't have a show horse. We made the horse work. There were a lot of hours where my friends-I was without a trainer at this point- said I was crazy, said Motlagh. "The horse would get it and the next day he would come out and pretend he didn't remember a thing. Yet I knew he was special. Due to his "forgetful" training attitude, his nickname was fondly chosen by Merrilee Bradley as 50 First Dates."
Dancer's show name is Carpe Diem Dancer, meaning "Seize the Day" Dancer. Motlagh and her husband, James big Lance Armstrong fans and "Carpe Diem" was one of his favorite sayings.
"If anyone has had major triumphs and tribulations in their life it would be Lance. We even named our baby Lance when he was born and the struggles we went through to have him and not lose him prematurely," said Motlagh.
Natalee Newton started to work with him at Bruson Equestrian Center, after Motlagh sold her farm and moved to Texas Rose Horse Park. This is when he started real training. Soon after Newton became ill and was unable to work with Dancer or Motlagh until she recooped. Since she did not know when she would recover, she contacted her friend Merrilee Braley, who was training with Peter Pletcher. They begged him to have someone help her with Dancer. Sandy Strack rose to the occasion and worked with them. This started last year.
A year ago was his first horse show debut. Dancer was champion. He was reserve at the next show. Since then, he has been either champion or reserve champion at every show. Dancer is always in the top ribbons and loves his new job. She was circuit Champion in Baby Greens at Patrick Rodes/Southbound Show Management Tyler Four this past Spring.
"It has been very rewarding. It really makes you appreciate what you do or do not have. It's a lot of work, it's not just something that's handed to you. I have always been a person who likes to nurture and care, so it was a good fit," said Motlagh. Even though I would have loved to go out and buy a big fancy trained horse, it wasn't in the cards for us. It has been so rewarding."
Motlagh has since become a volunteer Equine Investigator through one of Habitat's equine programs. She goes on calls to investigate property and the condition of animals. A big part of her job is education. Many of the horses are not cared for properly, usually out of ignorance. An employee at the feed store tells owners to give them a cup; owners literally give the horse one cup.
"I am a Certified Level 1 Equine Investigator, but have not utilized it much in the past couple years. I Found it too upsetting to deal with the abuse and neglect. So doing the fundraising and making people aware of Habitat for Horses is more of the role I like to play now to help them," said Motlagh.
Habitat relies on the donations and volunteer efforts of the public to stay in business. Without donations and help, Habitat cannot continue to save animals and find homes for them. The Dallas Harvest Horse Show believes in giving back to animals that do so much for equestrians. Exhibitors at the show not only get to compete at a hospitality-focused AA rated show, but they get to help a wonderful equine organization.
Habitat also works with several other companies that donate a portion of their proceeds to Habitat for Horses. They include Back In The Saddle, Nuzzle Perfume, and BettiGive, a website set up to work with several businesses that will donate portions to a charity of your choice.
All proceeds raised from the fundraiser events will directly benefit Habitat for Horses. Dallas Harvest Horse Show is an AA rated event, known for its hospitality, special events and top competition. A "From the Judge's Perspective" USJHA Judges Clinic will be held free of charge for exhibitors, a silent auction, a Hunter Derby Reception sponsored by Tyler Plastic Surgery, a "Team" Calcutta Exhibition Dinner, and a Sunday Grand Prix Brunch are also on the schedule. Classes include the $25,000 Dallas Harvest Grand Prix benefiting Habitat for Horses, the $15,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $5,000 Jumper Classic, the $3,000 Welcome Stake sponsored by Nordic Lights Farm & The Bruheim Family, and the $2,500 Children's/Adult Jumper Classic.
For more information on Habitat for Horses and to view adoptable animals, visit http://www.habitatforhorses.org/
Photo Credit: Lori Motlagh and her horse, Carpe Diem Dancer, whom she adopted through Habitat for Horses. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/dallas-harvest-fundraiser-horses-rescue-09-08.html">Dallas Harvest Horse Show to Donate Proceeds From Fundraiser to Habitat for Horses Horse Rescue Organization</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com