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A second career for Stormont O My
Monday, August 24, 2015 - by Rachael Rosenthal

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Meadow Lands, PA --- Last year, a little bay 6-year-old arabian gelding named Heston entered Meadows outrider Missy Rothfuss' life, and took it in a direction she wasn't quite expecting.

She'd submitted her resume to be considered for one of the trainer slots for the rescue organization A Home For Every Horse's inaugural Equine Comeback Challenge competition, and out of the many applications received, she was one of only ten chosen.

Rothfuss then had 90 days to take Heston, who at the time was completely unbroken, from the auction pen to the lights, action and glamour of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. There the pair competed in an obstacle trail course, and freestyle demonstration, where they had a few minutes to show off all the things that Heston had learned over the past three months. It was a complete success for the two of them, as Heston transformed from an unwanted auction horse, into a stunningly beautiful, and much beloved family member.

When the time came for the competition this year, Missy was offered the chance to choose her own horse, and the decision, for her, was a complete no-brainer. She turned to the breed that had supported her and been there for her, her whole life long -- the Standardbred.

"Standardbreds are some of the most versatile horses there are," Rothfuss said. "They have amazing minds, and gigantic hearts. They can go team penning or for a trail ride; you can jump them, you can barrel race them -- the sky's the limit! I wanted to show people that they were more than just racehorses, that they can make excellent pleasure and family horses as well."

 
Photo courtesy of the author
Stormont O My will be competing at this year's Equine Comeback Challenge at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa.

Rothfuss then contacted Winnie Nemeth and Jennifer Daniels from New Vocations to see if they knew of an off the track Standardbred that might be suitable for the competition, and as luck would have it, they knew of the perfect horse. The Monti family had just retired their nice mare Stormont O My and were quite excited to have her in the competition.

"Stormy paid for my books and education for three years," said owner/driver Drew Monti. "I wanted her to have the chance at a second career, as well."

Stormont O My, or "Stormy" as she is known around the barn, is an 11-year-old warhorse of a mare by the stallion Stormont Bronze and out of Tanya Seelster. During her career, she made 191 starts with 36 wins, 41 seconds, 30 thirds, and career earnings of 286,803. Retiring sound, she was indeed the perfect horse for the competition.

Since beginning the retraining process, Stormy has been learning the things all riding horses need to know, and she has been picking it all up like an old pro. As they are handled every single day from their yearling years on, Standardbreds tend to be very willing, amicable partners, and Stormy is no exception.

She has learned all about how to carry a person on her back, how to steer, and (importantly) how to stop. She's learning that leg can mean both to go forward, and to go sideways, and what that all means. She's learned barrel racing patterns, and pole bending patterns, how to pivot, back up, and jump small fences. The beginnings of leg yield, and how to open and go through gates while mounted. She's also learning how to bend and flex, so that she is strong and even under saddle. She's gone trail riding, and even gotten to go to a horse show, where unimpressed with all of the hoopla, she behaved like an old campaigner, and carried Missy's teenage daughter to many ribbons -- some of them blue!

In short, Stormy is proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, just what a treasure an off the track Standardbred can be.

In October, Stormy and Missy will be competing at this year's Equine Comeback Challenge at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa. Feel free to cheer them on!

After the competition, Stormy and the other nine horses will be offered up for adoption, with half of Stormy's adoption fees going to New Vocations, in order to help other off the track Standardbreds find new successful lives after racing as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Stormy, please feel free to contact Missy Rothfuss at nehigo2001@yahoo.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lolstable, #GoStormy.

For more information on A Home For Every Horse, please check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AHomeForEveryHorse.


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