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Helping Equine Accident Victims and Families

Behind the Name
Classic Rhonda-Voo

The show name is to honor the person who it is also to benefit - Rhonda Richard.

Rhonda had a horse that she named Sleepy Rhonda-Voo; when first planning the show, this was remembered and of course the definition of "rendezvous" - a place of meeting; a place at which persons commonly meet - it all fit.

About Rhonda...

January 8, 1993, Rhonda and her trainer, John Wold, were practicing for the Fort Worth Stock Show with her cutting horse, Dixie. While working one cow, and moving across the pen, just at medium trot; another cow wandered out from the herd. Rhonda and Dixie, hit the cow, while focusing on the other one; and did a forward flip. Rhonda landed in deep sand; with Dixie's hip glancing her head.

Rhonda had two brain surgeries within 12 hours, removing 15% of the lft side of her brain. SHe was never on life support. The odds of her survival were incredible; but she obviously had a stong will be beat the odds. After 26 days in ICU and months in rehabilitation while coming through various levels of a coma - September, 1993 Rhonda was termed out of her coma and also moved home with her parents, where around the clock, one on one care and therapy could be given.

As Rhonda's family doctor who did house calls said, "Ya'll are writing the book on head injury recovery." There was really no information on where we were going. Rhonda was a rarity since she lived.

One prominant note: many arguments were had with therapists about the "18 month post" recovery time being where the majority of accomplishments are met. All of Rhonda's major recovery began after her THIRD year. She then began to laugh, communicate better and start to regain some of her motor skills. This is all documented by video. Even at 10 years post, shall and new gains are still being recognized. These small gains have enabled her to have continued therapy.

Rhonda will realistically never walk or talk again, but that's not to say that she can't be better and regain some control of her environment. But, never say never - with head injuries there are no mechanical injuries - if the brain can relearn it, there is nothing that can't be accomplished.

Rhonda in the horse world!

Rhonda started her show career in 1981. She began riding and showing Western Pleasure with Clint and Liz Haverty. She won the first Texas Appaloosa Horse Club Amateur High-Point that was recognized in 1982. Through the 1980s, she moved on to become an all-around competitor showing in English, Showmanship, Halter, Western, Western Riding, and finally in 1991 starting Cutting. She enjoyed it all, but Western Pleasure was her true love. She and her dad, Joe, mought More Sundown as a 2 year old and began his incredible career, winning at the Solid Gold with Brad McCamy and at the Tom Powers with Brad and Rhonda. She was so excited to show him in 1993. Rhonda's show record included many regional high points and National and World Top Tens, as well as Reserve National Champion Non-Pro Cutting in 1992.

Rhonda was also very involved in the Dal-Worth ApHC in the late 1980s and was the Secretary at the time of her accident. She was very people oriented ad did a fabulous job in keeping everything organized, bringin new ideas to the table and making sure that everyone was given the attention they deserved. She was well respected in and out of the arena.

The beginning of the Rhonda-Voo

Immediately, the support from the horse community was incredible. Cecilia Rice was the driving force behind the first Rhonda-Voo held in August 1994 in Athens, Texas. The show was incredible and soon liced up to its name. The Thonda-voo became an annual meeting place for exhibitors to gather and share in a great show and fantastic camraderie. There are t-shirts or caps for all exhibitors - won or lose, you never walk away from the Rhonda-voo empty handed, and the trip home will have you happy in your heart!

Several additional fundraisers have been added to the show. In 1998, the Trainers Showmanship and Equitation competition were added. With a calcutta for each, we have raised an average of $1500 per year. There is also the fun-filled Adult Walk-Trot Barrel Race with donations taken for the entry fee.

In 1995, Rhonda's close friends Patty McMichael and Diane Smith donated a sculpture entitled "Friendship." This became a perpetual trophy for the High Point Non-Pro. In 2002 this sculpture was replaced with a similar sculpture by local veterinarian David Celella.

In 1996, Dreamcatcher was incorprated. There is an incredibly strict appliation - but the idea was to honor and help people like Rhonda and their families that survived a catastrophic, equine related accident; were permanently unable to work; and live at home.

Dreamcatcher

An Indian belief is that the air is filled with both good and bad dreams. The dreamcatchers were hung on a baby's cradle board or above a bed. The good dreams pass through the center hole and the bad dreams are trapped in the web where they perish in the light of dawn.
   
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