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
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