The Peter Stone Company and the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) named the Houghton College Equestrian Center’s lesson horse, Pumpkin, the 2014 School Horse of the Year at the 47th annual CHA International Conference in Kentucky last week.
The CHA’s Horse of the Year Program is meant to honor the animals that spend countless hours being patient with new and experienced riders.
Pumpkin is a 22-year-old Haflinger and has been a faithful member of the Houghton College lesson herd since he was 5 years old. His capability to teach riders in a hunt, western or driving seat makes him a coveted asset among students and instructors. He puts timid riders at ease, safely carries riders with disabilities and maintains a 400 meter per minute galloping pace on cross-country courses.
“As an instructor in a barn full of horses he is always my first choice,” said equestrian program director at Houghton, Jo-Anne Young. “Five conference attendees sidled up to me to say that they had purchased an extra plane ticket home so they could take Pumpkin with them! Obviously they were joking, but it is an indication of how quickly that special Haflinger builds his fan club with his sweet personality!”
To commemorate his career as a lesson horse, Pumpkin will join past winners by being immortalized into a stone horse model thanks to the generosity of the award’s sponsors, Peter and Elaine Stone, who were able to attend the conference this year.
Pumpkin is one of a large group of talented, versatile horses donated to the college to meet the needs of beginners as well as advanced riders. “You could truthfully say he is worth his weight in gold to us! It was an honor and a great pleasure to have him recognized as the 2014 CHA School Horse of the Year. He faithfully lives up to the CHA’s standards of what a great school horse should be!” said Young.
The CHA strives to certify instructors and accredit equine facilities to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the equine industry.