Aspen (Maud Star)
Arizona-bred gelding (b. 1989)
by Star of Heaven-Drone's Mamu
Career (1992-1995): 33-4-6-3 $10,185

In his racing days, Aspen was known as Maud Star.  He's a bright star now, in an important third career.

An Arizona-bred, Maud Star began his racing career at Turf Paradise and eventually won four times, three of those at Arapahoe Park, 1993-94.

After racing, a second career blossomed in Washington with Mindy Fisher.  Over the past decade-plus, she's had him involved in barrel racing, eventing and high school equestrian activities.  Fisher now leases him to a truly life-saving program.

Rainier Therapeutic Riding Center in Yelm provides therapeutic horsemanship services to wounded active-duty and veteran service members and their families.  It serves over 60 soldiers each week and Aspen is one of 12 specially trained equine therapists.

Aspen's current job is teaching, healing and bonding with soldiers returning from battle.  Civilians often don't comprehend the myriad and depth of mental and physical issues and ailments that soldiers deal with after the realities of war.  Aspen the Thoroughbred has literally saved lives as the lead equine caregiver and instructor at Rainier.

Elisia Mutter is Executive Director at Rainier and is a big fan.

"He's one of the unsung heroes of the program," said Mutter.  "He comes into the arena everyday and goes to work.  He'll get pushy if the rider needs more confidence and he lets others love on him if that's what's needed."
Debbie Fisher co-founded Rainier when her Lieutenant Colonel husband passed and left her a horse.  She has seen Aspen's healing power work wonders.

"He's 24 years old but is still the fastest of the 12 in the program and full of life and energy," said Fisher.  "He still dances and prances when Mindy (daughter) does events with him.  But yet with the soldiers he adapts his behavior to help them progress.  He's an amazing horse!"

Aspen appeared at Emerald Downs last August and received the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) 2012 Horse of the Year Award from the Jockey Club in the non-competitive division.  

Rainier Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit charity and receives no federal funding. It relies on donations from the community, corporate sponsors and grants to provide life-changing programs.  Stop by their booth at Emerald Downs on Sunday, September 1, say hello to Aspen and make a donation to an outstanding program!

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