Overland Park, KS—April 6, 2009—On August 27, 2006 the Hunter-Jumper community lost one its most promising and beloved young trainers. Thomas Fahey was killed in the crash of Comair flight 5191 outbound from Lexington, KY. Lost with him was student Paige Winters whom Fahey had been assisting with the purchase of a new horse. In May family and friends will celebrate Fahey’s greatest love in life- horses, with the inaugural Thomas Fahey Charity Horse Show.
Perhaps Oscar Wilde said it best, Find expression for a sorrow, and it will become dear to you. Find expression for a joy, and you will intensify its ecstasy. This is exactly what Thomas Fahey’s parents, siblings, and closest friends have chosen to do. May 23rd and 24th the Longview Horse Park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri will host the first annual Thomas Fahey Charity Horse Show. “My motivation for putting this together is to honor Thomas’ memory by making a difference in the lives of others and to share his love and passion for the sport.” Allison Fahey Schorgl- Thomas’ sister said. Proceeds from this event are to benefit Heartland Therapeutic Riding, Inc of Stilwell, Kansas; a non-profit organization that assists mentally and physically challenged people through equine therapy. “Thomas was personally involved with Heartland.” Allison explained how the choice of charity came about.
Thomas Connell Fahey began his path to an equestrian career at the age of 8, having taken a trail ride in San Antonio, TX on a summer vacation. “He became passionate or obsessed about riding and began training with Carlie Biesel soon after. He loved horses and had to be around them constantly!” Allison recalled fondly of her brother. With a combination of natural talent and Biesel’s tutorage Thomas advanced quickly with first horse Bon Bon winning many local and upper level events. “Unfortunately he [Thomas] soon topped 6’2” and out grew his beloved horse.” Allison began, “Another door opened then and he began riding with Don and Linda Coutler on a new mount. The instruction he received was invaluable and he continued to excel at what he loved.” During this time frame Thomas was still attending Rockhurst High School, but the moment the 3 o’clock bell chimed he was headed straight to the barn for hours of a different type of homework-absorbing all things equine. Not surprising to anyone Fahey chose to attend William Woods University in Fulton, MO with a focus on equestrian matters. “He listened and learned intently.” Allison said. However, the drive to be out pursuing his passions over ruled the desire for a degree and Fahey left after a year to move to upstate New York. Hands on-practical experience was Thomas’ preferred mode of education. Over the following 3 years Fahey trained, rode, and work for elite barns from New York to the Netherlands to England learning how to be “the trainer people would respect and enjoy.” One can easily say Thomas graduated top of his class as a trainer. “He knew the importance of being both an excellent rider and of having fun while you pursue your passion. He was a true friend to all he worked and rode with. Thomas gave the gift of laughter and enjoyment to his friends and customers.” Allison said. Fahey returned in 2003 to his Kansas City roots where he opened Thomas Fahey Training at Winsrun Stables in Bucyrus, KS.
Allison and husband John Schorgl along with her parents Connie and Kevin Fahey, brother Andrew and his wife Courtney came together with the Great Plains Hunter Association to create The Thomas Fahey Charity Horse Show in the hopes of keeping Thomas’ passions on going through a charity horse show. “This year is a local schooling show, however our goal is make this an annual event and grow into being a USEF rated show. Thomas cared about his clients and wanted them to feel that same love and passion for horses that he had. He made it fun to ride. This horse show will provide an opportunity for riders to exhibit their talents, build character through their success and failures, and learn respect for the animals as well as their fellow riders.” Allison said in sharing the family’s intent to honor Thomas’ spirit. Volunteering for the role of show manager is Marcela Egea, who was a dear friend and mentor of Thomas’. “Marcela is such a huge part of this event. She’s juggled her daily duties as a trainer with all the fine details to make this event so special. We can’t thank her enough.” Allison said. The show will offer two hunter rings and one jumper ring with an array of classes for every level of competitor. They’re also pretty excited about the prizes up for grabs thanks in large part to caring friends who wish to remember Thomas’ joy of horse showing, with awards of saddles pads, coolers, fine leather bridles, and even a $500 cash prize for each day of the Hunter Classics and $1000 for both days of the Jumper Classics.
It was Thomas’ belief that animals, horses in particular, had the ability to heal and empower the soul that lead him to support the Heartland Therapeutic Riding facility. “After he [Thomas’] passed away, when asked about donations we suggested Heartland in his name and so many people did.” Allison said. She shared the family knew that act of giving would please Thomas and serve as a genuine example of her brother’s spirit. “Thomas was a quiet, gentle man. He respected and loved the people around him. He laughed and smiled frequently. He was a good man.” The Fahey family feels this Charity event is the perfect legacy for the son, brother, and friend who cherished bringing the love of horses to those around him.
To learn more about the Thomas Fahey Charity Horse show or how you can help please contact The Thomas Fahey Family Foundation at 913-387-3303. And to learn more about the Heartland Therapeutic Riding, Inc program visit their web site at http://www.heartlandthrapeuticriding.org
Photo Credit: Thomas Fahey and Lelouche ©Flashpoint Photography
* Photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release
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