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Hand Over Heart: World Show Competitors Honor Cancer-Stricken Barn Mate

Filed under: Featured,The Buzz |     
Compilation by Larry Williams Photography.

Compilation by Larry Williams Photography.

By: Brittany Bevis

Those watching classes at the APHA World Show this week might have noticed a number of exhibitors all making the same gesture during the award presentations in a variety of classes. Whether the rider received a finalist ribbon or a Reserve Championship belt buckle, the motion was the same: a hand placed solemnly over the heart.

At the onset of the show, most of the riders participating were those hailing from Colorado and Utah; but, as the show progressed, the movement quickly took on a life of its own spanning all age divisions and disciplines. The meaning behind the gesture is one of love, strength, and support for a fellow equestrian who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Tracy Rodeback.

Our readers might recognize the Rodeback name in connection with a certain roan horse, CNC Hez High Profile, a gelding that has achieved multiple APHA World Champion titles, Pinto World All-Around titles, and Paint Horse Congress All-Around finishes. This year, “Hunter” is being leased by Trinidy and Kaia Bowden, who also compete under the guidance of Limelite Show Horses.

“My daughter, Kaia, and Tracy’s daughter, Jordin, are best friends,” Trinidy says. “We’ve leased Hunter for 2017 and 2018 and have been showing him all year. Tracy was diagnosed a couple of months ago, but she has been sick for a while. It’s very aggressive cancer that has spread, and she’s not doing very well. She really wanted to come watch everyone, but her health wouldn’t allow it. It’s been really tough…”

“Tracy is not very mobile, so they have her in a recliner at home. They’ve put the live feed on a big screen TV, and she’s been watching every class she can.”

Jordin and Tracy Rodeback with Hunter.

Jordin and Tracy Rodeback with Hunter.

Knowing that Tracy wanted desperately to be at the show to cheer on her barn family, they wanted a way to show their unconditional love and support from afar. The idea came from Tracy’s twin sister, Stacy Basinger. “Stacy also shows in our barn, and she told me she was going to start putting her hand over her heart during the award presentations,” Trinidy says. “People started asking her about it and why she was doing it, and then they started doing it with us.”

Jordin passes the reins to Kaia for 2017.

Jordin passes the reins to Kaia for 2017.

Limelite Show Horses trainer, Brian Henry, explains how the movement rapidly spread. “Tracy also makes show clothing, and she’s made some 200 items. Many people are wearing them here at the World Show. When they found out, they started putting their hands over their hearts as well. It’s kind of special because part of her is here with them.”

While watching online, Tracy had the opportunity to witness her horse receive many top finishes with Trinidy in the Amateur Walk-Trot division, a category she once competed in herself. Trinidy and Hunter were named the Reserve World Champions in Hunter Under Saddle, placed fourth in Horsemanship, fourth in Trail, fourth in Western Pleasure, sixth in Equitation, and were finalists in Showmanship.

Another special part of this story is Hunter himself, who has brought not only the Rodeback and Bowden families much success in the showpen, but also the Limelite family. “My daughter, Jesse, won her first World title on Hunter in Leadline,” Brian says. “He’s a very special horse for us because he has brought so many people together.”

Jesse winning Leadline with Hunter.

Jesse winning Leadline with Hunter at the APHA Youth World Show earlier this year. 

Although the World Show is quickly coming to a close, Tracy’s barn family wants her to know that their stand in solidarity won’t end after the cameras turn off and the lights fade away. They vow to remain steadfast in their support, sending love and prayers, every step of the way.

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