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Saturday, October 11, 2014
Jessica Flaherty In Horse Training Competition
DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - In a 90-day challenge, 10 horse trainers, paired with 10 rescue horses, will face off in an agility obstacle course October 14 at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The only local team competing pairs Davidsonville-based trainer Jessica Flaherty and a spirited rescue horse she's working with, an Arabian gelding, named Robyn.
None of the horses have any prior saddle training.
"If I were to take a horse that'd never been ridden to train for that I'd usually give them one and a half to two years, so 90 days is a little scary, but they do call it a challenge and that's exactly what it is," Flaherty says.
Robyn was seized as part of a starvation case outside of Cleveland. He was so badly neglected that his bridle had actually grown into the bridge of his nose.
And while Robyn is still anxious about a lot of things, Flaherty says he has made great progress since mid-July.
She can now put a bridle and saddle on him, ride him, and even get him to walk over obstacles. It certainly doesn't hurt that she keeps her pockets filled with treats.
"I don't know if he counts when I put in my pocket or he can smell them, but as soon as he knows I'm out of treats, he's done working for the day," she says.
Flaherty is a certified master trainer, but doesn't do it professionally. And since Robyn is the smallest horse in the competition, and at 13 years old, the oldest, you could call these two the underdogs.
Flaherty says she's always wanted to help rescue horses, and hopes this training helps Robyn get adopted, once the competition is over.