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Articles

Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program


2019/06/17








By Laura Miller; Photos by Sally Blackwell Photography

JACKSON, MS. –May 3, 2019– This year, the Semper Fi / Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program, aka Dixie Challenge, celebrates its 5th year of helping wounded veterans. The program is a confidence and skill-building horsemanship program for combat wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured service members. Since inception in 2011, more than 300 service members and veterans have saddled-up and experienced the satisfaction of developing their horsemanship skills through practical application on working cattle ranches across the country.

This spring, the Mississippi Quarter Horse Youth Association hosted 16 wounded veterans from all over the country in Jackson Mississippi, and introduced them to horsemanship skills, roping, and sorting over a 4-day period, April  25 to 28, 2019. It’s part of the Semper Fi Fund / Jinx McCain Horsemanship program and is dubbed the “Dixie Challenge.”

Brooks Derryberry, President of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association and coordinator of this event said, “We are like a family, a community of like-minded people who believe in and support our veterans. The Dixie Challenge is supported by the generosity of many people in the Jackson area. I believe this is the only Jinx McCain Horsemanship event that is completely community based and run on community donations. The only thing the Semper Fi Fund pays for at this clinic is travel, to get the veterans here, and lodging. Thank you all for making this happen for the 5th year.”

The highlight of the event was the competition on the final day.  This is where the veterans demonstrate their horsemanship skills by working a pattern.  Next comes the roping competition in which the veterans rope a moving target.  The final, and the most fun according to the participants, is the sorting event in which each participant must cut and move cattle from one pen to another following a specific order.

Considering that some of the veterans have never been around a horse, this competition is a testament to their ability to adjust to their surroundings, learn quickly, and persevere. These veterans are amazing people, so dedicated, so intense, so willing to try, and so very thankful for the opportunity.

Quote from a 2019 Participant

“I want to thank you for selecting me for the Dixie Challenge this year. It truly was a life altering event for me. I have really been struggling for the past couple years to keep things together, both mentally and physically. I had truly lost my purpose in life and was simply going through the motions from day to day without any passion or motivation. This clinic allowed me to put my current state of affairs on hold (remove the cell phone, the stress, the headaches, and the bad people) and surround myself with encouragement and good caring people. That simple break allowed me enough room to refocus, find myself again, and chase a dream. It felt like a fire was ignited in me again that I thought was dead. I got home and my wife said I looked the happiest I have been for the past two years. This simple clinic allowed me to immerse myself in a lifelong passion and realize there is more to life and what I want to get out of it. Again. I want to thank you, the Semper Fi Fund, and the entire Mississippi Quarter Horse Association for allowing me start this journey of healing!”

Find more information about the Semper Fi Fund / Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program at:                                 https://semperfifund.org/what-we-do/family-support/jinx-mccain-horsemanship-program/

Find out more about the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association and the MQH Youth Association at: http://www.mqha.org/

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