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Holistic Horse Rides to the Rescue With Goodwill Campaign for Young Mongolian Riders

February 2009—Holistic Horse is accustomed to letters from its readers, but a plea for help from halfway around the world has spurred the magazine to take horse and rider care to a groundbreaking new level.

Horseback riding has been integral to Mongolian culture for centuries, including an annual summer festival each August known as Nadaam, when thousands participate in feats of archery, wrestling, and horse racing. Erika Stolle contacted Holistic Horse, on behalf of a friend stationed with the Peace Corps in Mongolia, to recount how jockeys riding in Nadaam races are traditionally children only seven or eight years old. Some are as young as four. “Unfortunately none of the kids wear protective head gear when riding. As a result, every Nadaam, hundreds of children ride and many suffer severe injuries and even death. Although the Mongolian government has begun to view this as a problem, there are no actions being taken to solve the situation in the near future, and most families do not have the financial means to afford protective gear for their children.” The diminutive size of the riders reflects a larger concern among such families: malnutrition. “The youth development agency my friend works for in Baruun-Urt, is trying to ensure that every child during Nadaam races on a durable saddle but, due to a lack of funding, cannot also ensure they all wear helmets.”

Holistic Horse will respond to Stolle’s appeal by leading a national goodwill campaign, launched with its April/May issue, to encourage readers and riders to donate outgrown, or safe (undamaged) secondhand children’s helmets. These will be sent to Mongolia and distributed among young riders. “We believe in a whole approach to nurturing not only our horses, but our horse community,” say publishers Stacey Small and Karen Tappenden. “It is an honor to try to help these children, and send a message of compassion and understanding that can be appreciated by horse lovers of any age or culture. We will be turning to our readers, in our April/May print issue, and online at http://www.HolisticHorse.com, to join us in saying yes, we can help these kids, and safely preserve an incredible chapter in the world’s horse culture and history.”

“During my friend's first month at work,” Stolle said, “she attended a small horse race hosted by the zinc mine near her town and said that it was almost painful to watch all the kids riding on horses while the adults are in cars chasing and yelling after them to ride faster. She witnessed several of the kids fall off during the process but fortunately none were badly injured that day. Ever since, she's been trying to obtain funds and donations toward riding helmets.”

For more information on the Holistic Horse helmet campaign for young Mongolian riders, contact Karen Tappenden, Karen@holistichorse.com, Photographs available upon request. We will be collecting the helmets at our office: Holistic Horse 84 Irish Meeting House Road, Perkasie, PA 18944

 

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