That kind of treatment wasn’t reserved for just her own children, but all kids.
So after Fox Valley Camo was euthanized in April as the result of an injury and the onset of laminitis, Amy and her husband, trainer Nick Giberson, wanted to find a way to honor the horse and make a difference. They decided to try to raise money for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation in Fox Valley Camo’s memory.
|The Giberson family and Fox Valley Camo.|
On Saturday, the Gibersons will run a concession stand at the Spring Preview Day at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Food has never been offered previously at the event, which begins at noon. There will be no charge for any items; the Gibersons are seeking only donations that will be presented to the HHYF in Fox Valley Camo’s name.
“When he saw kids, his eyes lit up,” Amy said about the 4-year-old gelding. “He was like a big puppy dog. He was always on his best behavior around them. He just loved kids. He was just a super cool horse.
“Losing him has been so hard for us. I’m just now at the point where I can talk about it without bawling. He was the family horse. We thought he’d be with us forever. We’re trying to teach our kids that even though this is hard, there is still good that can be done in his name.”
Fox Valley Camo was a fan favorite during his racing career, with many of his supporters showing up at the track wearing camouflage. His original name was Fox Valley Remo, but it was changed by Madeline, now 8, and Ethan, 5, because of the Gibersons’ enjoyment of hunting.
|Photos courtesy of the Giberson family|
|Fox Valley Camo won four of 34 races, hit the board a total of 19 times, and earned $97,745.|
For his career, Fox Valley Camo won four of 34 races, hit the board a total of 19 times, and earned $97,745. One of his most exciting moments came on last year’s Super Night at Balmoral Park when he just missed beating favorite King Mufasa in the Su Mac Lad.
“It goes to show that you don’t have to win every race to have fun with a horse,” Amy said. “He wasn’t the fastest, but he gave his all every single week. I won a Breeders Crown (as caretaker) with Loyal Opposition, but this is the most fun I ever had.
“It’s not like he was a world champion, but people from all around followed him. When he died, I had over 200 messages on Facebook from people. The amount of support we got was unbelievable.”
The Gibersons’ involvement with the Harness Horse Youth Foundation extends beyond simply raising money. The family preps a Trotting-bred each year for the organization’s summer programs.
“We wanted to do something more to help the HHYF,” Amy said. “I don’t know how much money we’ll raise, but anything is better than nothing. We’re just going to have fun with it. Hopefully we can do it every year.”