2021 Platinum Performance
Horse Welfare Award Recipients

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2021 Honorable Mention

Official Name: Sebastian
Birth Year: 2004 Gender: Gelding. Breed: Belgian Draft


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High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
Sebastian joined our herd in June of 2018. This unassuming 16.1 hand Canadian Warmblood gelding did not come with an impressive resume - just your average "family horse". While he was dearly loved by his family, his asthma had become a problem for their high activity level and they needed to find him a job where'd he be active but not overworked.

Being younger than our average intake (14 years old) and sound made him an attractive candidate for our therapeutic riding programs. We are experienced at managing horses with equine asthma (24/7 turnout, feed tailored to minimize dust and medical intervention as needed), so that was not a deterrent for us. Sebastian's asthma has a seasonal component, so managing his allergies is key.

Luckily, not only is Sebastian's asthma fairly mild and easily controlled with management including supplements but he has turned out to be a huge asset to our programs.
Being of good bone and weight carrying ability, while not overly tall, he has become the "go to" horse for our larger adult riders who need more significant physical support from staff and volunteers on the ground. Many of these riders also mount via a mechanized lift that hoists them from the mounting ramp out over Sebastian's back, where they are then lowered to be sitting astride. He is perfectly mannered for all the goings on that the mounts and rides can involve, including having a rider who may be unbalanced or have very high or very low muscle tone and support staff who are leaning on him as they reach to help the rider from the ground. He's a gem.

Finding these special horses is no easy thing. So once we have them, we want to keep them as healthy and well as is possible. Donations of supplies to help us attain this goal are critical to keeping our operating budget reasonable while not ever leaving our horses in need of any resource that will help them feel their best.

Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
Equine manager at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Inc. -- Holly Sundmacker