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Work to Ride Success Story Shariah Harris
Joins Cornell Class of 2020

by Crystal Piaskowski - June 2016

Nestled far back amongst the trees on a dead-end road, a stone’s throw away from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, sits Chamounix Equestrian Center, the home of the indomitable Work to Ride program in Philadelphia, PA. Established over twenty years ago, Work to Ride is a non-profit community-based prevention program that benefits disadvantaged urban youth though constructive, educational activities centered around horsemanship and equine sports. Not only do these eight-to-eighteen-year-old students learn to ride horses and muck stalls, but they also go head to head against other interscholastic polo teams and challengers to prove their mettle on the competition field.

The Program
Executive Director Lezlie Hiner is a no-nonsense, frank woman with a hearty, throaty laugh. She describes the program and its approximately twenty members with admiration, stating that the reality is rigorous work that often requires long, forty-hour-week participation for the highly involved members. “To make it in this program, the kids have to be pretty determined. It is not for the weak of heart or for a child that thinks ‘oh, this is going to be fun, I’m going to ride horses’,” said Hiner.

Work to Ride accepts applications on a biannual basis and requires participants to fall within certain guidelines, such as residing within Philadelphia and maintaining a high level of commitment. In the fall of 2015, Hiner noted, the program only accepted eight new applicants out of the thirty who applied, and as of publication, only four remain. “They just don’t realize how intensive it really is,” said Hiner. “They were just not cut out to do the work.”

After the first year, the members generally spend five days a week at the stables—sometimes from dawn to dusk— grooming and exercising their mounts, maintaining the facilities, and participating in events such as polo matches, pony racing, jumper shows, gymkhanas, and much more.

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Transporter of ‘Paintball Pony’ Found Guilty on All Counts
by Stephanie Shertzer Lawson - June 2016

The emaciated mare thought to have been shot by paintballs who has become a media sensation received justice on May 20.

Phillip S. Price, Jr. of Providence, RI was convicted of three counts of animal cruelty, one count of dealing animals without a license, and one count of importing animals without required interstate health certificate. He was ordered to pay restitution of $10,178.29—the cost of the animal’s vet bills to date – and fined $3,056.50.

Most importantly, he was barred from the New Holland Sales Stables, where the underweight, blind pony mare was found, covered in paint.

Lancaster County Humane Officer Susan Martin testified that the painted pony was found abandoned after the auction on March 14. The auction’s vet found her to have excessive discharge from both eyes. She was disoriented, extremely thin, possibly blind and difficult to move. The stable manager said he had ‘no clue’ as to how she got there. New Holland police were called.

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Wild Willowdale: Steeplechase Ends in Dead Heat,
Tailgaters Dodge Loose Horses
By Marcella Peyre-Ferry - June 2016

A dead heat in the featured $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase was a high point of the 24th running of the Willowdale Steeplechases, run Sunday, May 15 in Kennett Square, PA.

Fritz Boniface on Grand Manan showed the way for most of the 3.5-mile Amateur Steeplechase, often jumping alone well ahead of the pack, but Amelia McGuirk on Monstaleur caught him in the stretch to force a photo finish.

“My horse, he just likes to be comfortable so the best thing to do is drop your hands and let him go. He was going well, he had a couple of fences that were rough, but I was very happy,” Boniface said. “The last fence, he jumped that great. Going down to the wire I saw her behind me, I was riding, riding, riding.”

“He beat me one time. That wasn’t going to happen again,” McGuirk said. The same two horses and riders raced at Fair Hill a month earlier with Grand Manan taking the win that time.  “I sat third most of the way. I didn’t want him to get too far in front of me. I knew that horse can run and keep running. My horse jumped well. The third last (jump) I was second,” McGuirk said. “I knew my horse has a bit of a kick, so I rode as hard as I could without making the horse too mad, because he’ll pick his head up and stop running.  He gave me all he had.”

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Jersey Fresh Event Marred by Death of Rider
Phillipa Humphreys
by Marcella Peyre-Ferry - June 2016

Tragedy struck the Jersey Fresh International Three Day Event Saturday. May 14 when British rider Phillipa Humpreys died after a fall on the cross country course.

Jersey Fresh officials issued this statement: “It is with deep regret that we announce that rider #52, Philippa Humphreys, 33, suffered fatal injuries in a fall at fence 16, the table, on the cross country course of the CCI3* at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event. Humphreys, a British citizen living in Rockford, Michigan, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in nearby Hamilton, NJ, where she was pronounced dead by the attending physician. Her horse, Rich N Famous, was uninjured.

"All of us connected with the Jersey Fresh International are deeply saddened by today's tragic news and we extend our condolences to Philippa's husband, Peter, and to her entire family," said Dan Wunderlich, Chairman of the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event.

Later, Rusty Lowe, FEI safety officer for Jersey Fresh, released the following statement in a press conference: “Philippa Humphreys experienced a rotational fall at fence 16, a table, at approximately 12:38 p.m. today. When she went down, a bystander nurse close by immediately went to her aid and initiated CPR. Medical staff was dispatched immediately and arrived within 45 seconds. Resuscitative measures were taken and Advanced Life Support was given.

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