2020 Honor & Service Award Goes to Mystery!

2020 Honor & Service Award Goes to Mystery!

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020 -- The Washington International Horse Show is proud to present the 2020 WIHS Honor and Service Award sponsored by the EQUUS Foundation to Mystery, a miniature therapy horse from SOUL Harbour Ranch. The annual award recognizes a horse, individual, or organization that best demonstrates the values of honor and service.

Mystery was part of the original trio of miniature horses that established SOUL Harbour’s therapy horse program in Barrington, Ill., in 2012. Mystery is a nine-year-old gray and silver dapple miniature horse who stands at just 26 inches tall. Her small size allows her to visit many therapy locations, showing patience, trust and joy wherever she goes, touching the lives of many through her services.

Mystery sporting her pink shoes.
Photo Credit: SOUL Harbour Ranch
Mystery has been registered with Pet Partners since May 2013, and since has helped train and complete testing with more than 20 handlers in their program. To be registered, a handler must be tested with each animal they want to handle in a therapy session. SOUL Harbour has a total of 35 registered handlers and 87 registered teams.
"We are so very honored and so thankful to our volunteer Anne Arroyo for nominating Mystery. We can't think of a more deserving little horse. She is truly priceless," said Jodie Diegel RN, MBA, Founder/President, SOUL Harbour Ranch. "What makes Mystery truly exceptional is her willingness to trust in her handlers and handle various environments, even new, without hesitation." 

Superhero visits at the local hospital.
Photo Credit: SOUL Harbour Ranch
It is predicted that one third of the nonprofit sector will not survive the pandemic, yet SOUL Harbour Ranch has beat these odds. With the use of virtual therapy, Mystery and the other animals of SOUL Harbour have expanded their reach in ways Diegel never saw possible. Throughout the pandemic, they started working with AARP Illinois and have done virtual visits with veterans. SOUL Harbour Ranch currently has ten miniature horses, four miniature donkeys and three dogs that have been trained, or are currently training, for their therapy programs.
SOUL, standing for sharing of unconditional love, has become a tagline that is evident in the everyday work of Mystery and SOUL Harbour Ranch. A pair of pink tennis shoes are a part of Mystery’s statement, which allow her to safely maneuver around an indoor facility. Confidence and a gentle nature have made her an exceptional therapy horse to tackle any new environment. Mystery has left a lasting impact on SOUL Harbour Ranch and her community as she shows continuous kindness and support to everyone she serves.

Mystery visiting some friends!
Photo Credit: SOUL Harbour Ranch
Mystery will be recognized by WIHS and EQUUS Foundation during a virtual awards ceremony in October. Mystery and SOUL Harbour Ranch will also select an equine charity on EQUUS Foundation's Equine Welfare Network to receive a $1,500 grant.
About EQUUS Foundation
The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, is the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America's horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tel: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org
About WIHS
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of North America's most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events attracting more than 26,000 spectators annually to Washington, D.C., for Olympic-level competition plus community and charity events. Highlights include the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington for the President's Cup and the WIHS Equitation Finals. WIHS, an official USEF Heritage Competition, is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization based in Washington, D.C. Visit us at www.wihs.org