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Youth Spotlight: Zoe Adams

Zoe Adams enjoys a wide range of activities with her Arabian and Half-Arabian horses, including Mounted Posse serving the local

Sheriff's office. While assisting the department with her versatile and people-loving horses, Zoe acts as a widespread ambassador for the breed. (Emma) Tell us about yourself? (Zoe) My name is Zoe Adams. I’m eighteen years old, and I currently reside in Hager City, Wisc. I began riding as a two-year-old, with a Shetland pony and an Arabian. I was in love with horses right from the beginning. Starting with an Arabian encouraged a lifelong love and dedication to the breed. Through the years, I’ve ridden and tried various breeds, but I’ve always come back to Arabians and Half-Arabians. Their striking appearances, adoring personalities, drive to please, versatility, and endless curiosity have always pulled me back in. With my Arabians, I’ve genuinely done anything I’d ever want to. Currently, I trail ride, show main ring - as well as at open shows (to show everyone possible the wondrous Arabian breed), patrol with the Goodhue County Mounted Posse, play in speed events, participate in parades, and introduce non-horse people to horses and Arabians specifically. In the past, I’ve done competitive mounted orienteering with Arabians as well. (Emma) Who are the special Arabian and Half-Arabian horses in your life and why? (Zoe) The special Arabian and Half-Arabian horses in my life would be my two geldings.

First off would be my Half-Arabian (7/8 Arabian, 1/8 Welsh pony), RF Runs In The Family, fondly known as Finny. I’ve had him for three years, though it feels like a lifetime because of how special he is to me. He truly is one of those horses where we bonded immediately. He has taught me so much, and continues to every day. Finny is so special, and I tell everyone that he is essentially my big puppy. He has an enormous personality, from licking my face in affection, to snuggling me with his head and neck, as well as coming running across the pasture at the words “poptart.” (He LOVES them.) If people aren’t watching their food or drink closely enough, he’ll take it. (He knows how to drink out of cans, bottles and cups and will steal anything he can get his lips on.) He is my go-to boy for everything and is willing to try anything if I’m there to support and encourage him. Currently, we show Western Pleasure, Trail, and Hunter , as well as doing a lot of trail riding and occasionally running speed events. This year, upon turning eighteen, I had the opportunity to join the local Sheriff’s Posse. I jumped at it, knowing that my Finny would be an amazing addition to the Posse. Though in the beginning, we were made fun of (playfully) because he’s a Half-Arabian while the rest of the posse are stock breeds, they soon realized what an asset he is. We had to do some spring training for desensitizing the horses – as with everything else he does, Finny did it with grace and beauty, passing with flying colors. Volksfest in Goodhue was our next mission. We did 8 p.m.-1 a.m. both Friday and Saturday night of the event. Finny was extraordinary, and I couldn’t have been more proud. I don’t think there was a better way to showcase the Arabian and Half-Arabian breed than all the fun that the event goers had with

him. People were so excited to see horses to start with, and it was absolutely to their joy when he was just as excited to see them pet and love on him. For the kids earlier in the evening, he’d drop his head to their level and nuzzle at their faces and hands, asking softly for strokes on the face. For adults and teens later, he was happy to make people laugh by trying to take their food, nearly grabbing their cups, and trying to (kindly) knock their hats off their heads. For those who had preconceived notions about Arabians, thinking them to be hyper, nervous, or only show ponies, he completely changed their views by sitting still and nearly sleeping when having the chance to stand, calmly watching the loud fireworks and being able to both be a successful show horse and also be an active member of the posse. Later this year, we will be patrolling down at Hok-si-la in Lake City, Minn., and be a part of the River City Days parade in Red Wing. My second love would be my more recently acquired Taipei MTC, lovingly known as Eli. He came into my life at a time I was not expecting. This fall, I had no intentions of owning another horse. A friend of mine has always kept an eye on the auctions in Kalona, Iowa as there is a running history of very nice Arabians being dropped down there and sold cheaply to slaughter. When I heard about him, I put up a fundraiser on Facebook with pictures and a post pleading for assistance. I knew I had the funds to care for him, but just not the funds to get him and have him shipped here. With the help of SO many people, I raised so much that it covered almost all the costs to get him home. I am still so incredibly grateful to those who helped. I was stunned the moment he stepped off the trailer. Even with a mane and tail that had been chopped off and a very dirty coat, he was absolutely regal. He was a giant, and every day I still laugh at how big he is. When he stepped off the trailer and looked down at me as I led him to his stall, I could see the kindness in his eye, and could see him calm as I talked to him and settled him in. It blew my mind how fast he began to trust me, and I think that was his way of showing me how grateful he was to be loved and appreciated. I could tell from the beginning that he was going to be a star under saddle. In the early spring months, I got the “OK” to send in his hair through the AHA and see if the blind DNA test would come back with a match. Those two weeks of waiting were excruciating. When it came back with a match, I was overjoyed – Taipei MTC. My boy finally had a registered name, definite age of six years old, and an impressive halter show record. His work ethic and focus are the best I have ever encountered. When I’m on his back, he is always ready to give his all and will ignore his surroundings to give me his full attention. A few months after he came home, our arena was still underwater from the melting snow. He didn’t think twice about me asking him to work going down the road alone. He didn’t bat an eye, just put his game face on and listened. The exact same thing goes for the trails. He is so unique, and we communicate so very well. I can always tell what he’s thinking - if we’re in a new situation for him, if I believe in him and tell him that everything will be okay, he will put his best hoof forward and is happy to give anything a try. Though he’s only been under saddle for a limited time, he’s shown as well as he possibly can and has taken all his shows in stride. Every time I’m on his back, I can tell how much he’s grown. He becomes more and more my boy every day. I laughed for a while the other day because he was nickering like crazy (like he always does when he wants grain) when he saw me coming, and after he had his grain, he was rubbing his muzzle in my hair, on my cheeks, licking my shoulders, and wrapping his head and neck around my shoulder and torso. The best part was when my mother said, “Seriously, he comes alive when he sees you. When I feed him, he merely looks at me until I let him out. You come, and he’s rubbing all over and snuggling you.”

(Emma) What are your goals short term, and long term with the Arabian horse? Short term, I’m always looking at the mini victories. Generally, every day that I work the boys, I set goals for that ride. I absolutely train with the idea of quality over quantity, and as soon as I’ve met the goals I hoped to and gotten what I was looking for, we’re done. Honestly, I consider those to be my most important short-term goals because they’re the ones that truly count – the small but definite steps of improvement in training. Long term, when I’m financially stable enough, I want so badly to bring the boys to Regionals, and eventually maybe Nationals, because I’ve done all the under-saddle show training of them. Right now, I’m totally content going to open shows, Arabian community shows, and hitting a few of the Class A shows.

(Emma) What would you say to someone your age who is thinking of making an Arabian his or her next horse? I would definitely say to go for it! It doesn't matter what discipline you're interested in, an Arabian or Half-Arabian will always excel at it. If they trust and love you, they will give their all to do everything they can to please you. I do always make an important note of saying though, when someone rides an Arabian, they need to remember this: Arabians like to be asked and persuaded to do things. Don't try to tell them what to do. They like to think for themselves and do things because they want to make you happy - they don't like to be forced.

The personalities of this breed are extraordinary and every horse is different, but at their core, they're loving, curious, and will do anything to please. They are so very special, and if you choose an Arabian, that horse will leave a deep hoof print on your heart that you'll never forget. (Emma) Parent/Guardian, what has your experience of the Arabian horse as a Youth/Family horse been? Would you encourage other families to select the breed for their children/youths and why?

(Zoe’s parent) We wouldn’t have anything besides an Arabian or Half-Arabian for our family horses. Not only do you learn the responsibility of horse ownership, but you do it with a horse that has such personality that it’s an extension of the family unit. A lot of young girls fall in love with horses, but falling in love with an Arabian is different. You learn patience, sensitivity and calmness. They are so incredibly in-tune with their owners/riders that it takes horse ownership to a higher level, and they LOVE kids.

Wherever we patrol with our Mounted Posse horses, there are always kids that want to pet them – and they love it all, often dropping their heads so the little hands can reach them. An Arabian will read his owner’s needs and respond accordingly. And there’s no reason to sell a horse to try a different discipline. Our Arabians will try anything we throw at them…. main ring showing, open shows, certified Mounted Posse horse, competitive orienteering (long distance), trail riding, and just playing in the paddock. Congratulations Zoe on your wonderful accomplishments as an ambassador for the Arabian horse. Wishing you, Finny and Eli continued success in your many endeavors!

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