This month's volunteer spotlight is high school student Deena Jordan of Birmingham, AL. Born into a horse-loving family, Deena has been taking riding lessons since she was five years old and began riding competitively in local horse shows as a seven-year-old. Deena's love for off-track thoroughbreds sprang from her relationship with her first horse, a now retired auction-bound thoroughbred rescued by her parents.
Deena and her sister began riding with Changing Leads trainer and Board Member Kirstin Murphy and her husband, Pete Murphy, about three years ago - just as Changing Leads was taking root at Longview Farm near Birmingham. Deena first volunteered hacking Asunder, who also happened to be the very first horse in the Changing Leads program. She also helped with another popular program graduate, Zetterholm, during his time at Longview Farm.
"Seeing Asunder go on to a loving home was extremely rewarding for me," say Deena. "It's easy to get attached to these horses, and while it is difficult when the horses I volunteer with graduate from the program, it's awesome seeing them go on and make people just as happy as my OTTB made me. It's reassuring knowing these people will ensure their happiness and appreciate them as much as I have." Deena says the highlight of her volunteer time was when Asunder's new owner personally called her to thank her for helping turn him into the horse he is today.
Deena's dream is to eventually become a trainer and an Olympic rider, although she would also settle for winning the Washington International. Outside of horses, Deena enjoys assisting her high school athletic trainer. She hopes to one day become either an army medic or a physical therapist. Ideally she would love to practice physical therapy on horses, focusing primarily on off-track thoroughbreds.
Thank you, Deena, for your dedication to seeing our Changing Leads graduates succeed in second careers!