Sanna + Ace + Dewey
Age 7 and 14
As the founder of Dream Catcher Stables Inc, I teach horsemanship to people with disabilities. As a retired Special Educator my focus is helping youth understand why school is important, how to survive at school and what kinds of careers to look for as they grow to adulthood. As a Special Olympics Coach, past event manager, past trainer and 1995 Texas Equestrian World Games Coach, I’ve had the opportunity to “take it on the road”.
Back in 2001 my program needed more horses. One of my volunteers learned of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the rest is history. She contacted them, they contacted us, and one very warm August day two marvelous horses debarked a horse transport to stand in stalls in Houston, TX. Affirmeds Ace had a 12 year racing career with most of his races ending in the money. Yes, he was the grandson of Triple Crown Winner Affirmed. Deweycheatemandhow had a much shorter racing career because his knees became arthritic. Both horses loved working with our riders with disabilities. Each had favorites and our riders also had favorites.
Affirmeds Ace’s first real test of his new job came when we went to the area Special Olympics meet. Excited, yes. A handful to lead, yes. We needed him for showmanship, halter and relay. Ace just needed to see what was expected of him, then he did it. Showmanship he did just fine, standing quietly. In the relay class he had to go around a purple barrel in a noisy area. I was his horse handler at the time and the instructions given me were “don’t let him see the barrel” to which I said “oh thanks” because we had to make a left turn around that barrel and head for home. To Ace’s credit, we started our leg of the walk only four lengths behind. His walk was huge and luckily so was mine. Rounding the barrel without incident we crossed the finish line four lengths ahead of the other team taking first place.
Deweycheatemandhow, on the other hand was very laid back. Mr. personality plus he loved everyone and everyone loved him. There came a time when he just could not walk sound and we put him out to pasture on a Texas ranch where he lived out his days teaching other horses how to behave.
When it is my time to leave this earth I look forward to greeting these two fabulous race horse and riding free with them in that great sky.
What #RightHorse means to me
Affirmeds Ace and Deweycheatemandhow were fine examples of the racing Thoroughbred. That their race owners sought to give them life after racing is commendable. They recognized their capabilities and personalities which truly fit with Dream Catcher Stables Inc program. People often say that horses aren’t very smart. Those people are mistaken. Ace and Dewey understood the needs of children with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and more. When I needed the horses most I had two thoroughbreds that needed me too. Coming from Chicago I grew up with thoroughbreds and knew them to be very versatile. In Texas, I would be Ace and Dewey’s last owner and they would fit right in with the western discipline as well.