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The Third Annual Heroes Horsemanship Challenge Kicks Off with Record Participation

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     

All photos credit: Heather Seward Glazer

By Delores Kuhlwein

Sometimes life sends gifts to us that are completely unexpected.

We as horse lovers know the impact horses can have on our own lives, and we realize the vast benefit of horses is just on the brink of being tapped.

So imagine our surprise – or maybe it’s not so much of a surprise – when we learned that the Heroes Horsemanship Challenge, which began in 2022 to give back to military members and their families, inspired a few of those riders to buy their own horses after their 2023 experience.

Not only that – but this year’s 16 competitor spots filled in less than 48 hours, and 10 additional participants are on the waiting list for the July 5th event.

Heroes Horsemanship Challenge is working on opening a few more competitor spots, and they add, “We believe this year is going to be incredible!”

The first year the event had 15 participants but they were trying to fill those spots until the last hour before competition.  Now the challenge has clearly developed into a phenomenon.

Jake Hartman, who founded the Heroes Horsemanship Challenge with his wife, Ali Hartman, and veteran Ryan Bandy and his wife, Kaylee Bandy, says that after the 2023 event, some of the riders decided to buy horses and start riding on a regular basis.  “What horses do for us – besides providing some of us with a living – is amazing.  The fact that horses became a fixture in the lives of some of those military families shows how incredible these animals are,” he explains.

The 2023 experience was so significant, the rider spots filled up in 36 hours for the upcoming 2024 event at the Big A and Stars and Stripes in Conyers, Georgia, he says.  In addition, Folds of Honor will be present this year, and any money left over will be donated to the organization.  Folds of Honor provides scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen or disabled military, and now they’ve extended their calling to include the families of America’s first responders. Their mission: “On our watch, those who protect our freedoms and our families will know they are not forgotten.”

The celebration of military families also became part of the Heroes Horsemanship Challenge in 2022 when Jake first organized it.  They open the event to family members because they’ve learned the whole family unit serves, Jake says.

“When I helped with Heroes On Horses at Congress, it was kind of a lightbulb moment for me,” he explains. “The military does so much for all of us, and this is how I can show appreciation to the military and their family members because this is where I have knowledge.  This event is a way for us as horse trainers to give back to people who are willing to give their lives for us.”

He encourages others to follow Heroes Horsemanship Challenge on social media and bookmark their website, because the signups are live now, and on those signup forms, they’re asking for additional information this year so they can spotlight some of the 2023 participants.

They also welcome any volunteers – trainers and nonpros – and they’re looking for owners to volunteer their horses for the July 5th event in Conyers, Georgia, with their trainer’s thumbs-up. Of course, sponsorships are always appreciated, and leftover funds will go to Folds of Honor.

“Please come out and be a part of this,” Jake says.” We want to make it as big and fun and exciting as possible.”


See last year’s event coverage here:  https://www.equinechronicle.com/focusing-on-the-cause/


Contact information and links are below:

Jake Hartman: 336-909-0123, Email: jhph777@gmail.com


Heroes Horsemanship Challenge:



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heroeshorsemanshipchallenge/


Folds of Honor:




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