BARK RIVER - Two area horse farms are organizing a special event to encourage the training and adoption of neglected horses while also supporting an annual fund-raiser in Norway this month.
Two stables which care for rescued horses - FOOD 4 Our Horses in Bark River and Pipers Rescue Ranch, part of the DeYoung Zoo in Wallace - are joining forces this year to plan the "2nd Annual Trainers Challenge 4 Horses Without Homes."
Following 45 days of training, volunteer trainers will showcase how they've trained horses which have been rescued from neglectful environments. The trainers competition will be held Aug. 13 at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Norway.
"It is here before a panel of judges, a collection of trainers will demonstrate how they've taken a horse that no one wanted - a horse that came to them untrained and inexperienced - and with the right amount of time and investment in training, turned it into a horse who is now a willing companion," explained Jill McDermott, owner of FOOD 4 Our Horses which evolved at Flagship Farm. FOOD stands for Finding Options, Opportunities & Direction.
Trainers will be competing for a prize purse of at least $2,250 which will be split among first, second and third places, McDermott said. A live auction of the trained horses will be held at the conclusion of the contest. Proceeds from the sale will go to the trainers and the memorial fund-raiser also taking place that day.
The trainers challenge will be held at the fairgrounds in conjunction with "The Niles Hiltunen Memorial Family Support Fund." This fund-raiser initiates "random acts of kindness" to families with special needs individuals at home. There will be fun for the whole family with music, food, activities, and good will all day, according to organizers.
The trainer's contest will begin at noon and conclude at approximately 4 p.m. with the auction. Check out the trainer's challenge website at www.food4ourhorses.com to learn more about the event and to apply to pre-qualify to bid on the horses.
Donations are also being sought to help defray costs for the medical care and boarding costs of the horses as well as a night's lodging for the trainers who are primarily from Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula. For more information, go to the website above or call (906) 241-8540.