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To College and Beyond!

To College and Beyond!

One of FFI’s first horses has thrived working with young riders.

By Chelsey Burris

Affectionally known as Chewie, Ahh Ahh Chew joined our retraining program way back in 2008.  Tianna Richardville, who bred, owned, and trained the dark brown gelding, reflected on his racing career. “He won one race wire to wire and it was a super thrilling moment,” she said.  “I knew that he had ability and hoped he would find something he excelled at.” 

Chewie in his racing days with his breeder/owner/trainer Tianna Richardville

“He had a lot of personality but didn’t seem to have racing in his heart,” Tianna remembers.  With one win in 10 tries on the track, she donated him to Friends of Ferdinand, and he was ready to work toward his second career.

Chewie worked his way through our retraining program, and was made available for adoption in late 2008.  He was adopted by a lady named Cathi, and they spent several great years together where he did a lot of trail riding, and learned how to play “soccer” with a giant ball, which he thought was a blast.  In fact, Cathi reported that he could be a bit of a "ball hog" when they were playing with other horses.   

 Rachel S. started riding him in the summer of 2012. Although she didn’t adopt Chewie directly from FFI, she became his person over time.  “When I graduated high school, my coach at the time signed his papers over to me at my graduation party as a gift. The first time a horse was ever really mine!” Rachel says. 

Chewie and Rachel embarked on a journey to learn about eventing together, something that was new to both of them.  The two grew together, with Rachel recalling, “My first horse trial was his first horse trial.”

Chewie jumping with Rachel

When Rachel headed off to college, Chewie accompanied her, and they continued competing.  “In the spring semester of 2018, I accepted a position as a full-time working student and took him with me. We traveled all the way from Iowa to South Carolina and back.”

Rachel balanced her schoolwork with competing, with much success. “We finished the 2019 season running around Preliminary and I couldn’t be more proud of how far that horse has come. I’m now through my first semester of vet school and Chewie is nearly 16 years old. We’ve had 7 years together.” 

Looking back on when Chewie was in her barn, Tianna says, “I’m so happy he has found a great home and is successful at something he obviously enjoys!”

While Rachel is working on her studies to become a veterinarian, Chewie has taken on a second role.  “He’s off on a lease teaching another working student the ropes,” she says. “He takes a little maintenance but is such a safe, brave horse and I can’t wait to see what they learn together!”

Up, up, & away!


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