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Conifer Resident Brittnee Woodward-Whitehead Wins Equine Comeback Challenge!

This past March at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, Brittnee Woodward-Whitehead and Forgotten Fortune aka Fortune won the Equine Comeback Challenge.  The 3 year old Appaloosa was one of 11 horses sent home with 11 different trainers last December. The horse and rider teams would meet again in March to compete in an AQHA style versatility trail class with 2 minutes of freestyle at the end.

A Home for Every Horse’s Equine Comeback Challenge started in 2014 when Mariah Hammerschmidt, the Project Coordinator for A Home for Every Horse, realized there was a need to find new ways to assist rescue organizations in their efforts to find homes for horses.  The Equine Comeback Challenge was modeled after the Extreme Mustang Makeover, to showcase unwanted rescue horses and their ability to become willing equine partners.

Founded in 2011, A Home for Every Horse is an outlet for Equine.com—the World’s Largest Equine Marketplace—to develop a long term partnership with equine rescues all over the country and use their resources to help find forever homes for the more than 170,000 unwanted horses in the United States.

Rescue horses have long been a passion for Brittnee and as a board member of the Colorado Horse Rescue Network, she remembers when they talked about starting the Equine Comeback Challenge.  “We decided, ‘let’s do this, but let’s do it with rescues (rescue horses)’.”  Not only does the competition raise awareness for the horses that need to find homes, but for also for the work of the non-profit horse rescue organizations.  Horses in rescues that are untrained are typically difficult to find homes for, but the Equine Comeback Challenge provides a platform for them to get started under saddle, opening up their prospects to find forever homes.  Brittnee states, “This competition is very much about the rescue horses and giving them value.  The horses that go through it walk away and they are all worth something in the end.  That’s the biggest win you could ever ask for.”

The 11 rescue horses selected to compete at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this spring were provided by regional rescues; Colorado Horse Rescue Network in partnership with Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue and Spring Creek Horse Rescue, Triple Acres Horse Rescue, Far View Horse Rescue, Mountain View Horse Rescue, CANTER Colorado and Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue.

All of the horses were deemed unwanted and randomly placed with the 11 trainers.  Fortune was surrendered as a stallion after his owner and breeder had passed away.  Castrated just before Brittnee brought him home for the 90 days of training before the competition, he was basically untouched. 1617696_10153153110873023_8991216957498889039_o

Not new to horse training, for the last 10 years Brittnee has been starting young horses and rehabilitating troubled ones for many of the horse rescues in Colorado as well as individual owners.  She has also started and finished barrel horses for the local X2 Ranch for several years.    Brittnee anchors her training in putting a correct foundation of trust and confidence into her horses to set them up for success for the rest of their lives.  With that in mind and with Bailey trainer Rod Miller as her coach, she started to earn Fortune’s trust.  Within a week they were able to have their first ride.   With limited access to an indoor arena, starting a young horse in the middle of a Colorado winter can be a challenge, but that did not stop Brittnee and Fortune from getting outdoors and many miles under saddle.

Since the competition, Brittnee and her husband Charley Whitehead purchased the boarding and training facility on the corner of Pleasant Park Road and Oehlmann Park Road in Conifer under the name Old Glory Equestrian – OGE.  They offer the highest level of horse care in boarding and training services surrounded by a family friendly environment.  OGE offers full training and lessons with a combined 50+ years of experience between 3 trainers.  They offer training for everything from starting young horses to trail riding to making a finished Reiner.  Old Glory Equestrian incorporates into their business model funds from their boarding and training business to support saving, re-training and finding homes for several rescue horses a year.  Brittnee understands that the key to the rescue horses finding a good home is training.  The private horses in training and boarders make it possible to take in some “freebies” every year, give them a proper education and find them a suitable home.  Old Glory Equestrian is not a non-profit business, but they feel that as a part of the horse industry we all have the responsibility to give back.

Fortune can be found this summer showing at the local 4-H and club shows with Brittnee’s 14 year old sister Kassydee.  They have a growing collection of first and second place ribbons to show what a great team they are making!  Heather McWilliams © 2015

Contact Brittnee at 303-901-3740, [email protected], 23615 Oehlmann Park Road, Conifer oldgloryranchconifer.com, www.facebook.com/OldGloryStables.

Video of Brittnee and Fortune’s winning run:  https://www.facebook.com/339401218022/videos/vb.339401218022/10153241976033023/?type=2&t