Harrisburg, PA - Kelsey Parisi, 25, of Norristown, PA and Indian Rain Dance took top honors in A Home for Every Horse's Equine Comeback Challenge at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Tuesday evening. The pair may have been declared the victors but all eight horses in the competition could be considered winners since these former racehorses now have a chance at a new forever home.
"I am really, really proud of him," said Parisi. "He's a great minded horse and he tries really hard. I couldn't be happier with him."
This is the second year for the Equine Comeback Challenge. In order to participate, trainers were paired with their rescue horses in mid-July in preparation for the versatility trail class. Parisi chose Indian Rain Dance because he had raced at Saratoga, where she was an assistant trainer for two years. Coincidentally, Indian Rain Dance was stabled only two barns away, but she had no idea he was so close until she chose him for the Challenge.
"I thought that if a horse raced at Saratoga he had to be a quality horse," said Parisi. "So when we were given the list and I saw that he had raced there I picked him. Then I found out that he was only two barns away while I was working there. I was not disappointed with my choice."
Seven Thoroughbreds and one Standardbred were put through their paces on the simulated trail course and then they were given an additional three minutes to showcase their education. Some of the demonstrations included bareback riding, roping, pulling a wagon, riding with a flag, and dressage patterns. Parisi and Indian Rain Dance played baseball. Parisi hit the ball on a "T" aboard the 5 year old gelding and then ran the bases, after stealing second base they got caught in a "rundown", but the Thoroughbred demonstrated his agility by turning on his haunches several times in an attempt to beat the ball, which he did and was able to make it home.
Following the competition, all the horses will be sold by the trainers to approved homes and each will be listed as available rescue horses on Equine.com. The PNHS Foundation partnered with A Home for Every Horse (AHFEH), a division of Equine.com that provides a unique search engine platform to feature rescue horses in need of forever homes. Parisi believes Indian Rain Dance will make a wonderful addition to any stable. He has already participated at Hunter/Jumper shows as well as Team Penning and has a wonderful personality.
"He's very affectionate, very willing and always trying to please," said Parisi. "He's really athletic starting to improve drastically."
Recognized as a premier equestrian event, The Pennsylvania National Horse Show runs October 8-17 and has been held indoors at the State Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, PA since its inception in 1945
For more information visit www.panational.org