The last several years, the town of Pueblo, Colorado has hosted the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals Rodeo. Heartwarming, wholesome, family-oriented, hard-working, and inspirational are only five of countless words to describe both the participants and volunteers for Hope Counts of NLBRA. Some 2,000 kids, between the ages of 5 and 18, from 21 states compete in more than 275 “Little Britches” rodeos every year. Their most recent Finals Rodeo was held in July and members of Spalding Labs were again on hand to help with the Hope Counts Crisis Fundraising. According to Tom Spalding, President of Spalding Labs, “Of all the events we do every year, Little Britches is the most fun.”
The Hope Counts - Crisis Fund of the NLBRA was founded by Sydnee Christensen of Utah when she was a mere 12 years old. She wanted to help injured rodeo kids and their families facing catastrophic events. Sydnee started brainstorming ideas, lit a fire under her mom, and they began putting together the business side. Sponsorship Coordinator for the NLBRA, Sarah Faith Wiens, had this to say about Sydnee’s endeavor, "It's one thing for an association to start up a crisis fund, it's quite another to have a 12-year-old member start one. It makes me so proud to be a small part of an organization that has members willing to help one another in such a large way. The sport of rodeo is dangerous, there is no getting around it. Anytime you mix livestock, kids and a competitive atmosphere there are bound to be accidents and when that happens it's comforting to know that families aren't alone. NLBRA is truly an association where character is developed, western traditions live and legends begin!"
Sydnee’s base idea for fundraising was cleaning trailers for rodeo participants using Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor as they were checking in. Everyone who made a donation received the Hope Counts signature Blue Feather. The volunteers worked hard, cleaning trailers, for three days. Their youthful teamwork and dedication to serving others touched the heart of Spalding’s video director, Berry Landen who was on location shooting the Finals Rodeo. On the spot, Landen decided to produce the “Hope Counts: Kids helping kids get better” video.
Both Spalding Lab’s video and Blue Feathers went viral at that year’s NFR in Las Vegas.
Expanding on Sydnee’s trailer cleaning concept, Larry Garner with Spalding Labs, suggested they not only donate the Bye Bye Odor used to clean the trailers but then sell Bye Bye Odor at the event giving 100% of the proceeds to Hope Counts for unlimited fundraising possibilities. Garner said, “It’s a win-win-win. The kids raise money to help others. Spalding’s Bye Bye Odor cleans the trailers which means less flies, better smell and happier animals. We all know happier animals are better competitors.” The premier year’s overwhelming response was thanks to the many Little Britches alumni, now top professional cowboys and cowgirls who wore the blue feathers at NFR. The buzz in Las Vegas that year was, ‘what are all these blue feathers for?’ generating enormous baseline awareness for Hope Counts.
Again this year Spalding Labs had plenty of donated Bye Bye Odor on hand, along with some additional man power to help the kids clean the trailers, and raise over $4000. Hope Counts not only gives back to the rodeo community in need, but also teaches kids teamwork, volunteerism and selfless acts of service. Wise beyond her years, Sydnee states “Aristotle said ‘virtue is its own reward’ I think we all may get a little extra reward here.”
Angelea Walkup is a US Dressage Federation gold medalist best known in the horse world as web series host of HorseGirlTV and producer of the equibarre workout. She is a career content creator and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. You can connect with her on Twitter @AKwalkup or her Facebook Page.
Fly Predator customer Kathleen Feeney's owner of Little Things Ranch recently relocated from their stable in Long Island, New York to Rivers Edge Farm in Hollis Center, Maine.
While on Long Island Kathleen and her therapy miniature horses visited Hospice patients, nursing homes, hospitals, daycare centers, and individuals at home. Little Things Ranch is open to anyone who would like to visit them and enjoy the horses.
Angel is a sweet and sassy 29 inch black and white miniature Pinto. Angel’s curiosity and calm engaging nature makes her ideal for equine assisted activities. Angel brought great pleasure to many of the 180 children at Hospice Camp Good Grief located on eastern Long Island.
Precious is the tiniest of Little Things Ranch team standing 28 inches and is also a black and white pinto.
Both Angel and Precious are registered with PetPartners.org
Dezi is our big girl at 32” and is our home body staying on the ranch. Once and awhile Desi will take visitors for a drive in her cart.
At Spalding we are grateful to have several therapy programs across the nation as Fly Predators customers. We love all that they do!
Thank goodness winter is ALMOST over! As the days grow longer our horses are going to start shedding. Here's my four favorite best practices to help shed your horse of his or her wintery thick coat!
https://striphair.com as it's one of the best ways to strip all over body hair AND it's recommended by the legendary Pat Parelli!
PS - Make sure you are ready for Spring and fly season by re-ordering your Fly Predators and add on to that your order of Bye Bye Insects as well as Bye Bye Odor so you too are Ready? Set? Go! for the impending 2020 fly season!
I heard you ring, come in my friend!I was watching TV news,The price of gold, the rioting,and politicians' views.
There's been another murder,a plane crash, an earthquake, too.Come in and watch this rocket launch,It's been long since I've seen you.
Sit down old friend. I'm glad you're here.I've long wanted to sayThat you have a fault, a problem withAnimals that neigh.
You're always occupied at home,Messin' 'round the pen.There's more to life, you know old friend,Than horses and horsemen.
You're backward lookin', slow to change.It explains, to say the least,Your attachment to this expensiveand quite archaic beast
You're always broke, you spend your doughOn fence and stall and gate.Get with it, pal, and realizeIt’s nineteen eighty eight.
Why can’t you accept reality?The equine's day is done,Okay, except for racingTo provide a little fun.
You're cleaning pens and mending stuffWhile others golf and sail.You're always nursing injuriesYou've suffered on the trail.
Your conservatism seems stubborn toUs folks who look aheadTo century twenty one, a timeOf technology, it’s said.
You love things old, and historyAnd tack made just by hand.Pictures decorate your homeOf horses famed and grand.
Nostalgic and romantic scenesAppeal to your imagination.The smell of horse and barn and tackPreferred to urbanization.
We're in the age of computers, sir;Horses have no place.Though I admit they were usefuland helped the human race.
Born a hundred years too late,You're obsolete, of course.Hey! Never mind that rocket launchLet’s go out and see my horse.
Fred Stone, the world’s foremost painter of horses, has been a client, neighbor and friend for half a century.
Fred’s paintings, mostly, but not exclusively, are of Thoroughbred racehorses. Living in a modest rural home as long as I have known him, he paints in a tiny studio, producing works of art treasured by horse lovers everywhere. His art even decorates large structures at racetracks here and abroad.
What I find most impressive about his work is how he captures the precise personality of the horses. I can look at the expression in the head and the eye of the subject, as I can on a living horse, and see in the painting the exact mood and attitude of the horse.
And, amazingly, he does this in watercolor!
Fred graced our practice with some of his treasured prints, and we also have several in our home.
Fred’s book, Reflections On A Golden Age, subtitled The Racing Art of Fred Stone (Equinart, Inc. 2010) is a coffee table masterpiece, filled with the author’s great artwork plus text by him and guest writers.
Horse lovers, and especially those who treasure horse art will adore this book.
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