Army wife rides in palomino championship
August 11, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 11, 2011) -- This past week in Tulsa, Okla., people from around the world came to the premier Palomino World Championship Horse Show. The two-week competition consisted of numerous events to find out who was the best in palomino breeding and showmanship.
This elite event showcased disciplines including horsemanship, showmanship, trail riding and many others. Along with the different competitions a few riders were searching for the coveted Novice Amateur Golden Horse Competition. This event totaled up the scores from at least five events to bring an overall score and take home the title.
Fort Sill Army wife Eleanor Harowicz was determined to win it.
Eleanor, originally from Wind Gap, Pa., grew up watching horses and their owners ride the trails of the state park that she lived near. At age 4, Eleanor's parents took her to a local riding stable so she could ride for the first time. What they hadn't anticipated was that she would never be able to let go of her love of riding from there.
"I think my parents figured they would take me to ride, I would get bounced around and scared, and that would be the end of it; that was 23 years ago," said Eleanor.
Competing in shows since she was 10 years old, Eleanor definitely knows her way around the stables and events. She started with hunters, jumpers and equitations and has done that for most of her life, but in 2009 she decided to compete in the showmanship event and has been building on it ever since.
Being a spouse of a servicemember who deploys regularly is not an easy task. And taking on horse training and shows, along with regular tasks does not ease life in any way. Eleanor's husband, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Harowicz, was recently reassigned from Fort Riley, Kan., to A Battery, 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery at Fort Sill. All this happened while Eleanor had two shows to compete in.
"Logistically, it's a nightmare," said Eleanor. "We had to separate a few weeks prior to his actual departure so that I could come to Fort Sill to find a house, set up (horse) Izzy's stables and get ready for shows we couldn't miss."
Although she has competed at many smaller events this was her first trip to the world show and it wasn't an easy undertaking.
Eleanor's horse Izzy Unzipped has had 2.5 years of training and discipline riding to get him to the point where his versatility could allow them to compete for the Golden Horse Competition.
"It was very stressful," said Eleanor. "You can't just take a horse from the stable to the show and let them go. We have worked with trainers, and I have spent months of time working with certain disciplines to get him just right."
Unfortunately for Eleanor and Izzy, there was a small accident earlier in the week and Izzy's eyelid was ripped quite badly. The veterinarian cleaned up the wound and Izzy received a few stitches and a clean bill of health, but there is no doubt it would hinder him a little.
Scoring is very precise and the competition was steep this year. The week passed by in a neck-to-neck race among three competitors. Even with his injury, Eleanor and Izzy kept the competition to one-point separation between first and second place leaving just the final event to find out who would take home the gold.
Unfortunately, this year there was someone a little better. Eleanor and Izzy took home second place or Reserve World Champion.
Eleanor said she is already looking forward to competing next year.
"We are going to take him (Izzy) to a trainer for the winter and work on a few more disciplines," she said.