Smudge: The Omega Horse Rescue Alum

Photo by Kind Media LLC.

BY Helen Chimbos

Smudge and his owner Stephanie Dahne had a remarkable week at the 127th Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Smudge and Dahne have been a new pair since she adopted him in October of 2022 at Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Despite their lack of prior experience at the Devon Horse Show, Smudge and Dahne secured the first-place ribbon out of a competitive class. 

The adorable 9.2 hh Shetland was saved by Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, located in Airville, Pennsylvania. The organization was founded by Kelly Smith and is a non-profit organization that takes in over 100 horses annually. Omega’s focus is based around three R’s: Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming. They strive to find each horse the best home appropriate for their situation. Smudge and Dahne’s journey has exemplified Omega’s mission. 

Smudge spent a few months at Omega before finding his forever home with Dahne, who has over 45 years of horse experience but was unfamiliar with driving. After the passing of her horse, she still wanted to be involved with horses but not continue riding. In March 2022, Dahne was offered an opportunity to start driving which is when her journey began. After learning the ropes of driving, she decided that she wanted to find her very own partner. She made a trip out to Omega in September 2022 and stumbled across the adorable 9.2 hh Shetland pony. After a rigorous adoption process, Dahne was excited to bring Smudge home that October.

Photo by Kind Media LLC.

After the adoption, Dahne and Smudge started their driving journey together. In November 2022, they had their first drive together participating in the Deer Drive at the New Jersey Horse Park. Shortly after that, they competed in the Buxmont Riding Clubs Driving Show where they received two thirds and a fifth. Their second and most recent show together was at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, where they took home the Devon blue.

Dahne describes Smudge as being extremely well behaved. Smudge arrived at Devon for the first time ever and acted almost as if he had been there numerous times before. While some horses get overwhelmed with entering the Dixon Oval, Smudge walked in and didn’t bat an eye. Smudge competed in a few classes at Devon and had great placings throughout them. Smudge’s classes varied, some he was awarded for his performance and manners while others were judged on being driven through obstacles. Smudge and Dahne wrapped up their week at Devon with a 1st in the Single Harness- 2 Wheel Vehicle Pony. Dahne was also awarded the Pleasure Marathon Amateur Whip Award, which is awarded to the amateur whip that most exemplifies the traditions of carriage driving at the highest level. This team has had great success within their first seven months together and most certainly have a bright future ahead of them.