WEST PORTSMOUTH — Myhio Haven Horse Farm kicked off its 2011 show season this weekend with a competition horse show at the farm on Ohio State Route 125.
“I have had a passion for horses my entire life. I love jumping horses, rescuing and rehabilitating thoroughbreds off the track. It’s always been a passion of mine,” farm owner Janine Hansing said.
Hansing was living in Columbus, working with A-Circuit horse trainer Pam Grimm and U.S. Olympic Equestrian Coach George Morris. When her family separated, she moved to her father’s farm near Shawnee Forest in 1999. She brought her love of horses with her.
“I just saw this tremendous need for rescuing animals. I went kind of crazy with rescuing dogs and cats and that led to rescuing horses. With the economy giving such a hard time, there’s been more horses that need rescuing. A lot of them are just owner-surrenders that can’t keep them anymore,” Hansing said.
Now at her farm, Hansing has made a home for 11 horses, 10 cats, seven dogs and a roost of chickens. She cares for them all with the help of Mark Allen and his mother. With so many animals to feed and care for, she needed a way to pay for them all. She decided to board and train horses and started offering riding classes to local children and adults.
“I teach riding lessons for all disciplines and all breeds. My specialty is hunter-jumpers, and I’m trying to get more interest here locally. There’s a lot of western riding and people who ride gated horses,” Hansing said.
Saturday was the seventh season start of the Myhio Haven Horse Farm Show Series competition. It started with three shows a year, but now offers five shows to meet rising demand. Riders come in all ages. Crystal Eldridge of Lewis County, Ky., has been coming to the Myhio Farm for three years with her two daughters: 12-year-old McKenna and 8-year-old Emily.
“We have horses, but we have Tennessee walkers and they find the round-ring boring,” she said. “A friend of our daughter’s was coming here riding and we came out to watch a show and they just loved it. So we started the lessons and we’ve been doing it for almost three years now.”
When Emily first started, she was only 5 years old and she loved looking at the horses but was terrified to ride them. After watching her older sister riding at the Myhio Farm, Emily began to feel more comfortable around the animals. Now, Emily and McKenna ride togehter, and Emily shows and grooms her own horse, Venus, all by herself.
“I trot, I canter, and I do cross-country,” Emily said. “I like riding horses because it’s fun to jump and Janine really encourages you.”
Emily’s mom Crystal said she’s very impressed with the lessons at Myhio, teaching children and adults to groom, saddle and bridle their horses.
The next show in the series is July 23-24, then Aug. 20-21 and Sept. 24-25, and the show season ends on Oct. 22-23. In each show, the top six winners receive ribbons and their scores are added to their overall season. The rider with the highest accumulative score at the end of the season in October receives the 2011 Grand Champion Trophy.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.