American Saddlebred Versatility Association

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Saddlebreds Join the R.U. Teaching Herd


The Equine Studies Program is just one aspect of the event that draws thousands of people to the Rutgers University, G. H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey for the Annual Ag Field Day.  This is the second year that Saddlebred Rescue (SBR) sent two American Saddlebred horses to “school” on loan to the program.  There are eight horses of various breeds in the R.U. Teaching Herd (RUTH). Four that are owned by the University and four that are loaned to the program. This year SBR and the ASHA of NJ teamed up to take advantage of this unusual opportunity to promote the breed and each organization. Thanks go to Jen Moore, Val Farley, Joan Booth and Mark McCracken for manning the tables across from the “red barn”.  ASHA brochures, Jersey Classic Horse Show flyers and Saddlebred coloring posters were included in the hand-outs given to the attentive visitors, many of whom came to watch the in-hand horse show put on by the students in the program.   

ASHA of NJ donated $750 to sponsor one horse, known as Bunny, and member, Mary Elias, donated $750 to sponsor the second horse, known as Olaf for the 3-month session. During that time, notes were mailed to us from the student coordinator and handlers to thank us and to keep us abreast of their progress. It was especially gratifying to read all the complimentary remarks about “our” Saddlebreds!

Examples - March memo:  “Olaf is one of the sweetest horses I’ve  had the pleasure of working with. He thrives off of affection and praise...has a great attitude and is a super quick learner. He has already mastered his turn on the forehand and haunches, which is about a month earlier than most other foster horses!!  When I put him back in turnout...he will follow me around until I show him affection.  I expect nothing less than a perfect performance from him this semester!”  Fast forward to May 5th:   “The show started promptly at 10 am and attracted a lot of attention from the public passing by!  Olaf was 2nd in the grooming class and 1st in the showmanship class!  He was very antsy and sensitive...but his students handled him so well!  There is no way we can truly prepare the horses for the amount of distractions they will encounter on show day, but Olaf’s ever pleasing personality is what his students will always remember!” ~ Elena Rizzo, RUTH

Examples - April Memo:  “Bunny is so precious!  Although she can be nervous at times, she always knows what is expected of her...After a couple weeks of consistent work, taking things step-by-step, and plenty of reassurance, she has made a wonderful transformation.  She has been nothing less than perfect lately and I am excited to see her perform on Ag Field Day! “   Fast forward to May 5th:  “Bunny and her student were overall Champion in the Showmanship class!!  We were so proud of how well she maintained her composure despite all of the distractions.  Her success and ability to execute challenging patterns were a true testament of her transformation and how far she has come this semester!  Thank you again for your sponsorships.  The program and support of the fosters would not be possible without your generosity… “   ~ Elena Rizzo, RUTH

Our Saddlebreds Excelled! Olaf took the blue ribbon in the Showmanship class and Bunny (pictured here) and her student won the overall Championship!  All in all, it was a good day—sunny and pleasantly warm.  The consensus is that this is an event we should look forward to participating in again next year.  We were able to distribute information to the public, not only about the American Saddlebred but we also gave out information provided by our member’s training stables in New Jersey.  And we were the only breed group doing so!

                                                                                                                                                      ~ Joan Booth,                                                                                                                                                          ASHA of NJ