20-year Young TWH and Junior Rider Tops in Nation
The plains of Kansas provide plenty of opportunities to move out in a gait. NATRC Kanopolis Canyon CTR, KS, 2016.
What would a trail ride be without water for the horses to drink and to cross? Obstacles found on NATRC trails are native and natural to the terrain. NATRC Kanopolis Canyon CTR, KS, 2016.
This accomplishment was not easy for the Ryan / Wiggles team. Their plans went south when Wiggles got sick a week before their first ride in April. “We nearly lost him!” exclaims Ryan.“It started out with what appeared to be colic, which our local vet treated. We all expected him to be just fine.”
He was not. Within thirty minutes, the family was hauling Wiggles to an equine specialist. They feared he was choking. The vet cleared the choke, but he still could not breathe and was launching reflux through his nose. The vet did an emergency tracheotomy. Wiggles spent the night under cameras with a tube down his nose because the reflux was still coming from his stomach.
The next morning the vet advised the family to haul Wiggles to Oklahoma State University (OSU), which has a veterinary school and teaching hospital. Rick spent eight days at OSU and developed pneumonia from inhaling the reflux. The vets took great care of him. Ryan’s mom, Liz, explains, “They fell in love with his personality and they were amazed at how great he looked for a 20-year old horse. OSU could not diagnose what happened to Wiggles.”
He had a remarkable recovery. Two months later, Ryan and Wiggles did their first ride for the year in Colorado. Whatever happen to him did not come back. In addition to the firsts in the nation, as a team, they were first in their region (which encompasses nine states), won the High Point 4-H Horse and Horsemanship award, the Tennessee Walking Horse Junior High Point Breed Award and Wiggles earned a National Championship.
Ryan, a high school sophomore, did all this while maintaining a straight A average, being active in 4-H and FFA, and winning the National Top Junior Handler in Obedience (junior competition) and Best in Agility III in open competition (mostly adults) at the United Kennel Club invitational show in Kalamazoo, MI.
NATRC competitive trail riding is a judged sport in which horse and rider teams cover a measured and marked long distance trail within a specified window of time. To learn more about NATRC and competitive trail riding, go to www.natrc.org.
Photo credit Andy Klamm for both photos.
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