“My husband and I enjoy riding horses and being around fellow Soldiers

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Blue Lanyard with Horse print - Gifts Horses-store.com “My husband and I enjoy riding horses and being around fellow Soldiers

Frances and his sister Maria were all smiles while riding and enjoying their day out at the farm. “I like horses,” Maria said. “I hope when I’m older I will have enough money to make my own horse farm.” Capt.

Sherman just returned earlier this year from a deployment.

As Maria was making friends, she was consoling with other children who were dealing with the same things she had been through. “Our dad was gone last year, but he got home safe,” Maria said. “We want to tell these other kids it will be okay.” Eggleston showed the kids two horse riding styles, English and Western.

She also demonstrated hunter jumping using students from the farm.

Several young students guided their horses in and out of several jumping stations.

The kids watched intently as each horse took to the air to clear the obstacles. The kids were really impressed when Eggleston showed them how high an Olympic horse can jump. “This bar is higher than me,” one child exclaimed. Eggleston started her hunter jumping at a young age and she hopes some of these kids will like it as much as she does. “I had my own horse when I was very little,” Eggleston said. “I started hunter jumping professionally as a teenager and have been doing it ever since.” Pam Deering, the wife of Maj.

Gen Myles Deering, The adjutant general for Oklahoma, worked with Eggleston to set up Horseback Heroes for the military kids, many of whom have a parent currently deployed. “We just want the kids to have a day of fun, to take a break from stressing over missing their deployed parent,” Deering said. “My husband and I enjoy riding horses and being around fellow Soldiers.

We thought this would be a great way to show the children of our Soldiers a little about horses and what goes into taking care of them.” Gerry Shepherd, owner of Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet metal, also heard of the event and wanted to help.

He donated money and his time to volunteer.

He also got other volunteers in his roping community involved.

Some of his volunteers came from as far as Texas to help. “Being former military and knowing first hand about the strains and sacrifices every family member feels when a parent of loved one is deployed, I just want to help them anyway I can,” Shepherd said. “We want these kids to know we understand their sacrifice and thank them.

We want them to know they are not alone.” This isn’t Shepherd’s first time to help the Oklahoma National Guard.

He was a key player in the construction of the Thunderbird Chapel at Camp Gruber near Braggs, Okla. This event is the first of its kind for the members of the Oklahoma National Guard and their families.

With the success of this event, Eggleston plans to do more throughout the year. “We have had a blast today, we can’t wait until the next event in the spring,” Eggleston said. “It will just get better and better.” Eggleston is also planning a special deal for military families who become interested in riding horses regularly. “We plan to offer lessons in horseback riding and hunter jumping for all of our National Guard members and their families,” Eggleston said. “They just need to call us and we will work with them.” -30- Amanda Eggleston and Pam Deering, wife of Maj.

Gen.

Myles Deering, The Adjutant General for Oklahoma, help a military child ride on a small pony named “Lightning” during a free event for military kids at Take Off Farm in Purcell, Okla.

On November 3, 2012. (U.S.

Army photo by Spc.

Jason Lay, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Oklahoma National Guard.) Children of Oklahoma National Guard members clean and care for horses during a free event called Horseback Heroes at Take Off Farm in Purcell, Okla.

On November 3, 2012. (U.S.

Army photo by Spc.

Jason Lay, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Oklahoma National Guard.)

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    Horses-Store.com - “My husband and I enjoy riding horses and being around fellow Soldiers