2019 Platinum Performance
Horse Welfare Awards
Kleng is a 13.3h Norwegian Fjord gelding, foaled in 1991 on Vancouver Island, BC. Kleng started working as a therapeutic horse for NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center when he was just four years old in 1995, and this amazing horse has continuously provided safe, pleasant and enjoyable lessons to hundreds of riders."He is the most versatile and delightful horse I have ever known,"said Julia Bozzo, founder and director of NWTRC in Bellingham, WA.
Kleng has instilled confidence, courage, horsemanship skills, physical benefits and delight to hundreds of people over the years. Trained to work in equine-assisted activities, Kleng performs in many disciplines, environments and for multiple ability levels. He thrives on lots of riding and handling and always seems to look forward to "what's next”, especially at the end of the lesson when he gets a treat.
Kleng is strong, kind, athletic, and versatile. He has a calm steady walk, a tireless trot and a rocking horse' canter. He's an excellent mover and extremely adjustable in all three gaits. Kleng walks, trots, canters, jumps, trail rides, lounges well with a rider or vaulter, fox hunts, can pull a cart and has taken riders through several levels of Pony Club. He takes very good care of his riders and adjusts to each individual's needs and level. Despite having a back injury as a colt and two colic surgeries, Kleng remains the backbone of the Northwest Therapeutic Riding Center.
Kleng's personality is so steady and curious that early in his therapeutic riding career he responded to the bouquet of purple balloons that arrived at the ring by leading his leader and rider over to get a better look and a sniff of the new purple arrivals.
"Kleng is one of the hardest working horses I know," said Kat Jorgensen, who grew up riding Kleng and has been volunteering at the NWTRC since she was 11. "You can always count on him to be in a good mood and never give up, even when it's incredibly hot or pouring rain. He's always willing to just go out there and put a smile on the rider's face."
All the people who come in contact with Kleng adore him. He makes even the most challenged rider feel safe. When a rider is on his back he is extremely obedient and sensitive, changing his demeanor and pace to challenge any rider exactly the way they need. Kleng's broad back, smooth gait and friendly, calm personality has made him an integral part of the center’s adaptive riding program for 24 years.
Kleng’s personality, his versatility, his delightful attitude and the number of riders he has carried on his back over the years earned him the “Region 9 Horse of the Year” award, quickly followed by his winning of the “2009 National Therapeutic Horse of the Year” award, an award presented by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, now known as PATH International.
After more than a decade of riding and the presentation of two awards, it appeared that Kleng had it all. But, in 2010 he showed signs of colic, and was quickly rushed to Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital. Two surgeries and $16,000 later, Kleng began the long road to recovery. “Not all horses would be able to come back from two of those surgeries, let alone come back to still do work as a lesson horse,” said Bozzo. “Part of it is that he loves his job, but the other part is he’s an incredibly strong horse.”
Along with the colic surgery Kleng was diagnosed with Cushings disease. We switched Kleng to a low carb/ low sugar diet, started him on Prascend and multiple supplements. The support from Platinum Performance would greatly help us to maintain Kleng’s health and well-being. As an older horse, his feed and supplements are vital to him continuing to work in a job that he loves and was born to do.
Having beaten colic and already won more awards than most horses see in a lifetime, Kleng’s recognition streak continued in February 2013 when he was inducted into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame as a Humanitarian Equine.
Now, just about to turn 28, Kleng is still NWTRC’s go-to lesson horse for people of all abilities. Whether they need a leader and two side walkers, or ride independently, Kleng is still happily giving a leg up to NWTRC participants.
Kleng could not be more suited for the Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Award. Throughout his years of service with hundreds of riders, Kleng has been a tried and true gentleman - always game for the unpredictable and always reliable. The NWTRC community is so proud of Kleng’s service and we are honored to be able to nominate him for this award.Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
Riding Instructor and Program Director at the NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center.
I first met Kleng in the fall of 2010 when I started as a volunteer at NWTRC. He was in the process of recovering and rehabbing from his first colic surgery. I feel extremely lucky to know Kleng and have him as a lesson horse in our program. He is truly one in a million. -- Hilary Lynn Groh