College of Veterinary Medicine

Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience

Striker named "Equine of the Year"

Striker, one of the beloved horses used by the PATH program, was named Equine of the Year at the November 2010 national NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) conference in Denver.

"Sadly I could not be there to accept his award," stated Sue Jacobson, People-Pet Partnership Coordinator for WSU's College of Medicine. "I had to work."

Striker was first named Region 9 Equine of the Year, and then he beat out all the other regional winners to be named the national Equine of the Year.

Prior to becoming a part of the WSU program, Striker was a seasoned and successful youth show horse. His role as a therapy horse actually began before WSU acquired him. His teenaged owner was in a serious car accident, which left her in a coma, with multiple broken bones and a severe head injury. She kept her horse’s picture by her bed and because of her desire to be with him and ride him again, he became her incentive to recover. She gradually regained her ability to walk and was determined to walk without her walker, because she didn’t want to scare her horse. Four months after her accident she showed him in a halter class and despite her difficulty in walking, he didn’t falter and they won first place. Seven months after the accident she rode him for the first time on a longe line.

“He was just an amazing horse. He gave so much. He would just keep going, no matter what,” she said.

When he was diagnosed with navicular at age 17, his owner made the difficult decision to donate him to a navicular research study where he could contribute to helping other horses. Because of his exceptional disposition and his training, the researchers felt that he would be a good candidate for the WSU program. He was sound enough for light work, so when they no longer needed him for the study, they donated Striker to the PATH program.

This NARHA honor helps to recognize the wonderful work done not only by the human participants in the PATH program, but by the dedicated four-legged service animals, as well. (See also NARHA story:
Last Edited: Apr 09, 2013 9:29 AM   

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