For five years, area horse rescue Sound Equine Options has hosted a competition to not only provide an event opportunity for local equestrians, but to raise awareness and money for horse rescue.
The competition, dubbed the Lucky 7 Training Challenge, started off an event comprised of "seven rescue horses, seven trainers, 120 days from untamed to competition," according to the event's Facebook page.
"This competition is a great opportunity to show off the talents of some amazing horses that have been giving a second chance in life," said Executive Director Kim Mosiman. "With proper training, rescued horses can be as successful on the trail or in the show ring as any other horse.
The group has now opened up its ranks this year to allow in new trainers for the annual meet on June 29-30, at the Clark County Fairgrounds, 9474, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield, Wash.
Events kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 29, and run through 4 p.m. Sunday, June 30, with an auction of the participating horses at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30.
Of the new trainers to join in on the charitable contest is Sandy's own Karington Mershon. At 10 years old, Karington will be the youngest to compete in trail class, pattern class and freestyle events this weekend.
"I think it's going to be pretty cool," Karington told The Post. "They're probably not expecting a lot from me and I'm looking forward to impressing some people. I'm also most looking forward to the freestyle because I can do whatever I want."
Karington will ride rescue horse Mochi, who was one of seven horses claimed from a ranch in Hood River last March and rehabilitated by Silent Wave Horse Rescue. Karington started riding this March.
Silent Wave is based in White Salmon, Wash., but boards horses all around the region, including at Ashley and Karington Mershon's ranch in Sandy.
"(Mochi) is a little bit stubborn," Karington said.
"She was a little bit aggressive when Karington got her because she was starved, so she was food aggressive," Ashley added.
Ashley, Karington's mother, has hosted rescue horse for about four years, but this is her first year being involved with the Lucky 7 competition.
"It's basically a fundraiser for the rescues because the proceeds go to the nonprofits involved," Ashley noted.
Karington said she's happy to be involved with the horse rescue community because "it gives them a second chance at life to be adopted and have a new home — a good home."
The way others can help the rescue effort is by attending the event in Ridgefield, Wash., this weekend. If you want to help, but can't make the training challenge, Sound Equine Options is always accepting donations.
According to the event's social media, SEO has been able to provide services for nearly 1,200 horses through its emergency veterinary assistance, temporary feed assistance, blankets, fostering, training, adoption and rehoming programs within the first four years of the event.
The cost of veterinary care and rehabilitation, along with the cost of the training needed to ensure horses are adoptable, is estimated by SEO to be approximately $2,000 per horse.
"Saving a horse and refeeding it is the easy part," noted Elisabeth Wolff, SEO president. "Proper training makes them more adoptable in the short term as well as more desirable and useful throughout their lives. Without it, rescued horses often end up back in bad situations. This is why training is such a large part of our program."
For more information about Mochi's rescuer, Silent Wave, visit www.silentwavehorserescue.org.
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