Day At The Track

Conditioners make HHYF programs possible

04:59 PM 07 Jun 2012 NZST
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Sweet Karen and Amy Sronce-Giberson
Sweet Karen and Amy Sronce-Giberson - With one of the school groups who attended field trips
HHYF Photo

As the Trottingbreds of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation prepare for their unprecedented 17-stop summer tour, they must get their work in, just like racehorses do. Since very early spring, several harness racing trainers across the country have volunteered their time to make sure the horses, derived from a cross between Standardbreds and ponies, are properly conditioned.

These trainers take complete responsibility for the horses from feeding and daily care to making sure they get jogged daily, until they are picked up to head out "On Tour." For the complete tour schedule, click on this link.

In Springfield, Ill., trainer Nick Giberson, assisted by his wife Amy and their children Madeline and Ethan, has been preparing HHYF's Diva Sweet Karen for her 2012 campaign. Now 16, the Facebook star did more than just jog while at the State Fairgrounds, as she hosted a weeks worth of school groups, who were introduced to harness racing close-up, many for the first time.

In Delaware, Ohio, Jo Sturgell Pollock, conditioning LR Trixie, has been assisted by her students at the Delaware Joint Vocational Program, which is one of the few high school equine programs offered anywhere in the nation. Rumor has it that nearly every Delaware-based trainer clamored for at least one trip around the storied oval behind the mare.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Chris Ryder, who has trained HHYF horses previously, was assigned stable newcomer Clypso Dust, who had been away from the track for several years. He was so impressed with her progress that he posted a YouTube video of the mare in action.

Chris Ryder Stables - 9th April 2012 - Calypso Dust (Harness Horse Youth League Pony)

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation would not be able to undertake its extensive schedule, which extends well into the fall, without the help of all of its volunteer conditioners. In addition to Ryder, Sturgell Pollock and the Gibersons, HHYF conditioners this year include newcomers Tyler Butenschoen and the Jay Cross Stable. Janet and Eddie Davis, Eddie and Karen Dennis, and Kim Rinker again took on a Trottingbred this year, as they did in 2011. Patty Logan of Brittany Farms in Kentucky cares for the HHYF horses in the off-season.

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.

by Keith Gisser, for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

 

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