Newberry, FL - During Mikhayla Daugherty’s third time at a rated competition, she and So Fan See That demonstrated their excellent partnership and won the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award. The two, who are both seventeen-years-old, competed in the Hunt Seat Equitation, English Trail, and Showmanship divisions at the recent Arabian Horse Celebration in Newberry, Florida. Their communication and teamwork was evident as the pair competed - and won - in several different classes. “Mikhayla's family wasn’t originally planning on getting a horse,” explained Daugherty’s trainer Laurie Salmi.
“But since she got So Fan See That, she does 4-H and her parents have a boarding barn now. The whole family is involved in the horses. It has completely changed their lives. Mikhayla does everything herself - she is a mature young lady.”
Jasmine, as So Fan See That is affectionately called, was a surprise for Daugherty. As her mother Shelly explained, Jasmine had been sadly abused before meeting the family. At first, experienced riders were unable to even put a bridle on Jasmine after she was rescued. “My daughter worked with her without riding her for five to six months. She gave her love and brought her around to the horse she is today,” explained Shelly Daugherty.
Mikhayla Daugherty said she worked for two years at a farm before her parents would allow her to have a horse. The hard work paid off and Daugherty was matched with Jasmine. “It has been an amazing experience,” she smiled.
Laurie Salmi, who lives in Tampa, provides instruction for Daugherty, who lives near the Orlando area. Because of the distance, Daugherty only receives a lesson every one to two weeks. “Mikhayla does most of her homework on her own with a few skype sessions or videos over the phone,” Salmi said.
GumBits, made by Gambit Atlanta, Inc., are horse-sized treats designed to encourage salivation and soften the mouth. Gambit Atlanta, Inc. has been presenting the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award throughout different competitions in the 2015 season. When the company saw the affection and teamwork between So Fan See That and Daugherty at the Arabian Horse Celebration and heard the story of their growth as a team, GumBits chose to give the duo the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award - complete with a cooler and package of GumBits.
Shereen Fuqua founded Gambit Atlanta, Inc. in 2005, and GumBits have become an essential part of many top equine athletes’ regimens since. GumBits are loved by horses for the palatability of their all-natural, FDA-approved ingredients, and by horse trainers for the way they encourage chewing and salivation. The treats help soften the mouth, relax the jaw, and discourage the teeth grinding that can occur during intense competition and training of high-performance equine athletes.
Among the top riders whose horses enjoy GumBits are 2014 USEA Lady Rider of the Year, Lauren Kieffer; Olympic riders Steffen Peters (US), David Marcus (CAN), and Jacqueline Brooks (CAN); US Pan American Team Gold medalist and international Grand Prix rider Susie Dutta; Australian Olympic Long Listed Nicholas Fyffe; World Equestrian Games German Team Bronze Medalist Christoph Koschel; 2010 USEF Dressage Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg; Australian Advanced International Eventer Kate Chadderton (vying for 2016 Rio Summer Olympics); and Dressage New Zealand Small Tour and ESNZ High Performance Accelerator squads rider, Britta Anna Pedersen.
GumBits are sold through retailers in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and just recently Singapore (in preparation for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games to be held in Singapore on June 5 through June 16, 2015.)