From Mounted Patrol to the Special Olympic World Games of 2015, Simba’s owner Candice Camacho describes him as the “gift that keeps on giving.”
Simba’s Service – By Subscriber/Contributor Candice Camacho
“I’m thrilled that Equine Addiction Inc. took an interest in my Simba. It means so much to me and it’s an honor to share my story about my beloved equine Simba. Simba became mine a little over seven years ago when he needed a home. He was scheduled to go to auction, but his owner brought him down from a farm where he had been living for over a year. He had been put out to pasture because a vet said he’d never be ridden again. I had known Simba and I knew he was a great horse, so his supposed “ringbone” didn’t bother me. I had a vet check and he was good to go, no evidence of ringbone. Fast forward to 2015 and Simba reinvented himself as a volunteer with the El Monte Mounted Police and LA County Whittier Narrows Mounted Assistance Unit. He has since served in Color Guards, parades, patrols, horse expos and has been carrying riders of all ages on trail rides. He is a medium sized sorrel QH approximately 29-31 yrs. old, if based upon his age at purchase, he would be 31.
When the call came for volunteers for the Special Olympics, 2015 World Games, I knew without a doubt that Simba could do the job. He was assessed by the therapy riding group that was in charge of the equestrian events for the Games. Simba was selected and off to the Games we went. He was the oldest horse competing and helped his riders from Kazakhstan and Uruguay win two silver medals, two bronze medals and two ribbons. This was his first horse show and competing under the huge Equidome was not in his comfort zone, but being the brave horse he is, he competed with grace and elegance.
He competed in all four equestrian events, English Equitation, Dressage, Trail Class and the Team Relay. We bonded ever so closely over the nine days spent at the Olympics. The entire event was incredible. Simply watching those athletes ride horses they had not known and with very little training on those horses, and then compete on them was inspiring, sheer bravery and trust beyond words. Simba was a gift to me that keeps on giving.
As you know the entire process of selecting horses for these athletes was a challenge to say the least. Everyone wanted medium sized quarter horses, but the horses had to be safe and matched with the athletes’ riding ability, size and weight. Some riders only competed at the walk or with a lead line and others at the walk, trot or canter. In all, over 85 horses participated competing with 121 riders from 35 countries.”