US Equestrian and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have announced a joint contest between the two organizations, centered around US Equestrian’s “I Am US Equestrian” campaign, which challenges the perceptions of who equestrians are and what it means to be an equestrian. Meet two of the entrants below: Deborah Cox and Lori Elrod.
The contest will give away a John Deere TS Gator™ to one lucky winner. The contest closes Oct. 15, 2021, and the winner will be revealed by Oct. 25, 2021.
The “I Am US Equestrian” Gator Giveaway allows USEF members in good standing to submit one photo and a 250-word description of what it means to be a US Equestrian, highlighting adversities or challenges they’ve overcome to achieve their individual goals or ambitions in horse sports. The “I Am US Equestrian” campaign was created to uplift underrepresented voices with within the sport and highlight what makes equestrians unique, yet still connected through the shared love of horses.
Montour Falls, N.Y.
I am a 72-year-old US Equestrian riding a 5-year-old Thoroughbred/Dutch Warmblood cross mare named Paris, who is in training to be an eventer. In my teens, I showed in Junior and Working Hunters over outside courses, a thing of the past. As an adult, I have shown in Adult Amateur Hunters and, working with a professional, shown Welsh Cob Section Ds in Pleasure, In Hand, Ridden Welsh, and Hunters. I also own a retired Quarter Horse and a draft cross mule that have been my trail partners.
Real equestrians do it all: grooming, feeding, stall mucking, braiding, hoof trimming, maintenance/medical treatment, as well as the "icing on the cake”: riding. Through 68 years of riding and 60 years of owning horses, I have faced many challenges, including broken bones, balancing family and riding, financial limitations, and the loss of two exceptional horses to EPM [equine protozoal myeloencephalitis]. My passion for horses has been my driving force. They feed my soul and keep me young.
I have competed in dressage and eventing my entire life. I recently competed in the United States Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships.
But what I am passionate about is caring for retired horses. My husband and I have recently built a new barn to expand our ability to care for older horses that have been retired by their owners. We opened the doors and moved horses in in August. Our retirees come in all shapes and sizes, from a 10-hand Shetland pony to an 18-hand Holsteiner. Our boarders come from all walks of life: pleasure riding, hunter/jumpers, eventing, and polo. This work is not always easy. There are medications and treatments needed in the middle of the night, and inevitably the ultimate decision must be made. We work closely with the owners in making hospice and end-of-life decisions and provide all care 24/7.
This is a calling for me—a labor of love. We work very hard to keep costs to owners as low as possible so they can continue to support their retirees until the end. There is nothing we love more than knowing these old guys are happy, well-loved, and living the best lives possible.
A John Deere Gator is on our list of items we need—winter is fast approaching, and this is something we need to provide care in the snow and ice.