A student of Cross-Country Farm's owner and instructor, Sherry Traynham, for the last five years, January's volunteer spotlight is 21-year-old Samantha Cason of Pelzer, SC. In 2016, Changing Leads began partnering with Cross-Country Farm to provide a relaxed environment where retired racehorses can rehabilitate injuries prior to beginning retraining. With a savvy group of young volunteers like Samantha, some of the more laid-back prospects in the program are also brought along in their second career training with volunteers like her.
While Samantha came from a family who knew nothing about horses, she was drawn to the equestrian lifestyle at the young age of seven. With the support of her father, she began riding lessons in the hunter and jumper disciplines. About five years ago she discovered the sport of eventing and began bringing along her own Appendix gelding, Joey, as an eventer. Samantha and Joey also enjoy hunter paces and trail riding together.
When Changing Leads expanded operations to Cross-Country Farm near Greenville, SC, Samantha jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. Boarding her own horse at the same facility, she has happily put in extra time at the farm to work a Changing Leads horse or two whenever she goes out to the barn.
Samantha says, "Though it's sad to see some of my favorite horses come and go from Cross-Country Farm where I can interact with them regularly, it's so rewarding to be a part of helping these horses on their way to successful second careers. Each horse seems to have something a little different to teach me, helping me grow as a rider. Thank you, Changing Leads, for this amazing opportunity!"
Samantha aspires to one day run her own barn, become a professional trainer, and rescue horses in need. Until then, she enjoys working at Planet Fitness helping people along their fitness journeys. Outside of riding, she also enjoy dancing and is a licensed cosmetologist, practicing since 2014.
Thank you, Samantha, for your dedication to our program and for loving on and caring for the Changing Leads horses at Cross-Country Farm!