By: Brittany Bevis
A cat in a hat. What could be better? Perhaps a cat in a hat, on a horse, of course!
It’s not every day that you see a cat at a horse show. There are quite a few dogs that make regular appearances, certainly, but cat sightings are few and far between. But, as it turns out, horse people are dog people are cat people too, and our The Equine Chronicle social media fans fell in LOVE with the photo of Amber Duncan and her emotional support cat competing at the recent Dixie National Equestrians With Disabilities Show in Jackson, Mississippi.
Amber was riding Hopes Shining Diamond, owned by Susie Lane, during EWD classes at the Dixie Nationals. Amber never goes anywhere without her emotional support cat. So cat came along. Per class rules, all participants are required to wear appropriate attire. So cat donned a hat!
Amber’s photo was liked 603 times, received 62 comments, was shared 123 times, and viewed 29,946 times on our The Equine Chronicle Facebook page. Due to the overwhelming interest, we decided that further investigation about this dynamic trio was in order, so we reached out to Amber to find out more about her furry, riding partner.
“From the time I was a little girl, my mom collected various, horse statues,” Amber says. “I lost my mom from lung cancer in 2013. I was eleven at the time. In memory of my mom, I want to carry on with her love for horses. I love horses and being around them makes me feel close to my mom.”
Amber moved to Vancleave, Mississippi in 2019 and began working at S&J Farm. “This is where my true love for horses began,” she says. “That’s where I learned to feed, care for, ride, and groom horses. My boss introduced me to Mr. Tim Anderson, a horse trainer, and one of the borders introduced me to the pony club. This club taught me everything I know about horses.”
Amber’s employer allows her to ride two of her own horses- Latigo and Hoppy- both of which are American Quarter Horses. Hoppy, or Hopes Shining Diamond, is Amber’s favorite. “To be able to ride and show is my favorite thing to do, because it keeps me busy, happy, and focused on what comes in life.”
Being in foster care, Amber explains that her cat, “Shadow,” is her best friend, as well as emotional support animal. They have been together for three years. “He walks on a leash,” she says. “He rides in a basket on my bike. He goes to the beach with me. He rides with me on my hover board. Now, he is my horse riding partner. He’s the cat with a hat!”
Does Shadow enjoy riding horses as much as Amber? “My cat loves being on horses. No matter what I do, he’s always by my side. He loves being with horses too.”
Amber’s dream for the future is to open her own boarding facility one day. “My big goals in life are to follow my dreams, to stay positive, to keep moving forward, and to keep riding and showing horses.” Also, she would like for everyone to recognize that an EWD rider is just like any other rider. “We are all special in our own ways,” she says.
If you have a great story to share, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com.