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  • Writer's pictureKathy Troxler

GJR Shahanna Khann-One filly's unusual story!

If the beginning of 2020 is a taste of what the rest of the year holds in store, it's going to be full of new adventures! With "our girls" Sharon and Morgan determined to take "their boys" (Hero BF and RA Karwan) to the Scottsdale Show it was time for some creative thinking and it turned out to be the perfect opportunity to pursue another venture we'd been working towards. We'd been looking for the right training barn to approach with the goal of creating coordinated internet and social media presence. It had to be someone we respected as horsemen and the best scenario would be someone that we felt we really "knew". And then it all came together...Sally Randle invited us to her fantastic facility at Randle Performance Horses in Kiowa for an initial photo shoot for Social Media content and in the course of that visit, Team Troxler received an invitation to join the RPH crew for the Scottsdale Show!

It's been great fun reconnecting with all our Colorado horse family friends and in doing so, we discovered that there were quite a few that didn't really know the story behind our move to New York in 2009. The story that began simply as Mike taking on the challenge of becoming the Equine Director of the William George Agency for Children's Services. Mike is still filling that role, one that he has come to feel very passionate about as he helps kids in some extremely challenging circumstances and he does it with horses!

During his time there he's achieved many things but one that he is the most proud of was the formation of his WGA Equine Team, a completely unique program. The details of the program are not the subject of this post, but one of the results of the program is...the Story of GJR Shahanna Khan!

It hardly seems possible that it's been seven years since "Tonka" (GJR Shahanna Khan) was named National Champion Arabian Sport Horse Two Year Old Filly! The moment when her name was announced is one that neither Mike or I will ever forget...still gives me goosebumps thinking about it!

Purebred Arabian Filly, GJR Shahanna Khan and Mike Troxler, US National Champion 2 year old Sport Horse Filly 2013
Peter Cameron, Michael Troxler and GJR Shahanna Khan, AHA Sport Horse Nationals 2013, VHC Lexington VA

But, every bit as amazing as being name National Champion was, it was just a much an honor when the inestimable Peter Cameron, followed Mike after the class and asked to take an up close look at Tonka!

And as gratifying as breeding and training and showing a National Champion was, the "behind the scenes" part of the story is actually bigger. More exciting and more important.

Because when Mike began coaching the WGA Equine Team, he didn't "settle" for doing things the way things had "always been done". He didn't pay any attention to people that asked why he would put so much time and effort into "these kind of kids". He believed in "his" kids a bit more than that. Quite a bit more. He thought that maybe, just maybe, if he treated them and coached them like any other kids, they'd step up.

And you know what? They did just that.

Three young men that had never seen a horse show (let alone competed in one) went to a Class A Arabian show. They competed in the open division and did a fantastic job. Not because Mike "taught down" to them. But because he did the opposite. He expected them to do well. He gave them his all when he coached them and they returned the compliment.

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