CONDITIONERS MAKE HHYF SUMMER PROGRAMS POSSIBLE
Conditioners Make HHYF Summer Programs Possible
As the Trottingbreds of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation prepare for their unprecedented 17-stop summer tour, they must get their work in, just like racehorses do. Since very early spring, several trainers across the country have volunteered their time to make sure the horses, derived from a cross between Standardbreds and ponies, are properly conditioned. These trainers take complete responsibility for the horses from feeding and daily care to making sure they get jogged daily, until they are picked up to head out "On Tour." For the complete tour schedule, go to http://www.hhyf.org/programs.asp.
In Springfield, Illinois, Trainer Nick Giberson, assisted by his wife Amy and their children Madeline and Ethan, has been preparing HHYF Diva Sweet Karen for her 2012 campaign. Now 16, the Facebook star did more than just jog while at the State Fairgrounds, hosting a week worth of school groups, who were introduced to harness racing close-up, many for the first time.
In Delaware, Ohio, Jo Sturgell Pollock, conditioning LR Trixie, has been assisted by her students at the Delaware Joint Vocational Program, which is one of the few high school equine programs offered anywhere in the nation. Rumor has it that nearly every Delaware-based trainer clamored for at least one trip around the storied oval behind the mare.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Chris Ryder, who has trained HHYF horses previously, was assigned stable newcomer Clypso Dust, who had been away from the track for several years. He was so impressed with her progress that he posted a YouTube video of the mare in action. You can check it out on the HHYF homepage, www.hhyf.org, or at www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3zFJFHrZYA.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation would not be able to undertake its extensive schedule, which extends well into the fall, without the help of all of its volunteer conditioners. In addition to Ryder, Sturgell and the Gibersons, HHYF conditioners this year include newcomers Tyler Butenschoen, the Jay Cross Stable. Janet and Eddie Davis, Eddie and Karen Dennis, and Kim Rinker again took on a Trottingbred this year, as they did in 2011. Patty Logan of Brittany Farms in Kentucky cares for the HHYF horses in the off-season.