Everyday working for Friends of Ferdinand is an adventure, and I'm lucky to have Bonnie along for the ride!
I’ve worked for Friends of Ferdinand for four years, and it’s one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. I was extremely fortunate to be offered the internship position funded by the Tony Stewart Foundation, and later accepted a marketing strategist role. The best part still is getting to work with the horses everyday, and it makes the marketing portion of my job much easier! I’ve seen many horses come through the program to find their own person, teaching me along the way. The horses at FFI get adopted when they’re ready to go out in the world, and I wanted to be able to continue on a longer journey. About a year ago, against advice from my non-horsey friends and family, I took the plunge into ownership and SaintsNWinners became mine. I’d graduated college, and worked full time at Friends of Ferdinand’s retraining facility. Like most kids my age, I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from. However, during a very honest conversation with Lori, she told me, “if you want to make it happen, you will, and you’ll have to, so that’s that. If you don’t, don’t.”
A year later, and Bonnie challenges and teaches me more than I could have imagined about riding, myself, and being a better horseperson. Her sire is 2000 Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus, who’s known for being smart and sometimes a bit stubborn. Bonnie exhibits both of those traits, but is also a pretty honest horse who’ll save my butt when I need it. We spent this summer going to clinics with Doug Payne, Jon Holling, and Joe Meyer, attending dressage and jumper shows, and participating in mini trials with the hope of doing a beginner novice horse trial at the end of the year. We’re signed up for Octoberfest at the Kentucky Horse Park later this month, so fingers crossed! Every day working for Friends of Ferdinand is a different adventure, and I’m lucky to have Bonnie along for the ride!
- Elle Welch