Riding

Hearts of Gold

The three finalists for the 2008 MD Barns Silver Spur Award have had a special impact on the lives of those around them.

The MD Barns Silver Spur Award honors American Quarter Horses who have made a significant impact on the lives of others or who have been cast into the public spotlight through prominent accomplishments to help create a favorable perception of the breed.

The three finalists for the 2008 MD Barns Silver Spur Award, in alphabetical order, are:

Docacoo, owned by Skip Gentry of West Salem, Ohio

Called “Ohio’s Feel-Good Horse,” and “Big-Hearted Quarter Horse” in articles and books, Docacoo is known to his owners as the horse who never says “I can’t.”

The 34-year-old horse has been an inspiration to those facing difficult medical conditions, including his owner’s mother-in-law, who suffered a fractured hip while battling terminal leukemia, and a teenager diagnosed with epilepsy and recovering from brain surgery.

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“Doc” has been a teacher in the cutting pen and helps raise money for hospice through his fan club annual birthday parties. Docacoo exemplifies the joy and inspiration American Quarter Horses bring to the world.

Monas Little Guy, owned by Carolyn M. Richens of Pittsfield, Maine

Monas Little Guy helps his owner focus more on riding and less on her multiple sclerosis. Competing in barrel racing and pole bending, Carolyn set a goal of competing at the 2002 All American Quarter Horse Congress.

“Galloping through open fields, closed eyes, arms outstretched, we’d fly away to the heavens leaving MS behind and my dream ahead,” owner Carolyn says. Making a clean run and finishing in the top 10 at Congress made those dreams come true.

Carolyn defeated the “MS Monster” that day and every time she flies through the fields with “Moses” – and watching the taped run makes the bad days better. Carolyn shares her story as an MS ambassador, and Moses helps encourage others to fight MS by pursuing dreams.

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My Rockin Ryon, owned by Calvin and Suanne Stenger of Worden, Montana

Running barrels with My Rockin Ryon has helped 10-year-old Bailee Stenger fight epilepsy. Though normally excited and ready to run through the gate, Rocky walked into the arena with Bailee and loped a slow pattern on their first day of competition.

Diagnosed with epilepsy at 3, Bailee began having up to 30 seizures a day. Once while bridling Rocky, Bailee had a seizure, and before her mom could get to her, Rocky stood quietly with no bridle or halter as the little girl jerked around between his front legs.

Bailee’s family realized a special bond existed between the horse and girl. Rocky and Bailee don’t let epilepsy slow them down any more and have earned many buckles to prove it.

This year’s award presentation will take place March 8 at the 2009 AQHA Convention in San Antonio. Stay tuned to read more about the winner of the 2008 AQHA-MD Barns Silver Spur Award.