You don’t have to tell Colleen Kramer how special her 23 year-old Half Arabian/Half Saddlebred gelding, Akceptional IA+ is, but she’s grateful that Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals saw it too when they chose her new National Champion in HA Sport Horse Geldings In Hand Dressage Type for the Omega Alpha Healthy Horse Award at the 2018 AHA Sport Horse Nationals, September 18-22, in Nampa, Idaho.
“We were truly honored when he was recognized with the Healthy Horse Award. We know he is special. We are touched that others noticed too,” she said while accepting the neck sash and supply of award-winning Omega Alpha horse health products. “It was thrilling to have him selected among all the amazing horses at Nationals.”
Because the story of ‘Nal, as Colleen calls her equine friend, could be a script to the next great horse movie (including a happy ending): "Once upon a time, Nal was a main ring halter and hunter pleasure horse. He was then purchased for a girl who showed him before getting busy with life: growing up, university, marriage, starting a family, etc. So Nal was living a retired life on her parents' farm for ten years.” They recognized that the former show horse seemed bored with life, so when Colleen’s friend, Robin Viel, offered a home that would include light work and trail riding, his owners agreed.
In 2017, at age 22, Nal proved to be anything but a senior citizen: “After six months of conditioning, we realized he was still very much an athlete and loved the attention of regular work, and being groomed and fussed over.’ So they chose to listen to the horse and enter a few shows. “Including,” Colleen said, “the Region 4 Sport Horse Championships, where he did very well and amazed us with his in-hand scores for his age.”
A good script has an element of high drama. Nal and Colleen found theirs in 2018. It started when plans for another show were curtailed after Nal was injured during a bad storm at his barn. “He sustained a serious cut on his leg when he became entangled in wire. He recovered well (though sporting a fresh scar at Nationals) and had resumed work only to be sidelined in July because the smoke from local forest fires was too severe to ask any horse to work in it.”
Nal had qualified for the AHA Sport Horse Nationals in Training Level Dressage, but Colleen and Robin felt he “had not had enough riding time to be fair to him, so we chose to only enter in-hand classes.” What Akceptional IA+ did each time he entered another large class in that National arena was exceptional: Top 10’s in Half Arabian Sport Horse Geldings In Hand Hunter Type Open, Hunter Type Amateur to Handle, and Dressage Type Open. They were “thrilled” when he took National Champion in Half Arabian Sport Horse Geldings In-Hand Dressage Type Amateur to Handle.
But the best part of this story about a one-time star shining brightly again took place outside the spotlight and it’s why Omega Alpha named Akceptional IA+ its Healthy Horse Award winner: “Due to unusually early cold nights in our area before the show (we live in Southeast British Columbia), we had to make a decision whether or not to body clip him. As this would have needed to be done in August, we were concerned that, even with a blanket, it may not be the best for him, as Nal lives outdoors year-round. We chose not to.
“So,” Colleen grinned, “we may have had one of the fuzziest and oldest horses, but everyone that saw him stopped and complemented on his metallic gold buckskin coat and striking dapples. Those are his ‘fall colors’ and wouldn't have been there if we had chosen to clip!”
Toronto-based Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals has been in a leader in all-natural, botanically-based formulations for enhancing equine health and performance since 1992. Learn more at omegaalphainc.com or call toll-free (800) 651-3172.