Archived Story

Volunteer of the Week: Suzanne Suseland

Published 8:45am Thursday, July 31, 2014

Suzanne Suseland, of Dowagiac, is the superintendent in charge of the Youth Draft Horse Program in Cass County.

Suzanne Suseland
Suzanne Suseland

Q: How long have you been Youth Draft Horse Superintendent?

I have done it since 1997.

Q: How did you first get involved?

My husband and I bought draft horses and started showing because we always wanted horses. Through the previous superintendent, I started helping her and I took the program over from her since.

Q: What are your duties?

I have an orientation meeting and all the kids who are interested come to that in March. I also have four different educational clinics that they have to attend. Starting in May we have group workouts where I have a lot of horse owners in this county who volunteer. We haul the horses to the fairgrounds and have group workouts.

Q: What do you do during fair week?

We have several youth shows. The kids drive carts and teams on wagons. I am in charge of the judging. They have workbook evaluations and interviews. Also, we do showmanship and a decorating class where we decorate the horse for show prep.

Q: How many kids participate?

This year I have 27. The majority of the kids — probably 90 percent — don’t own their own horse. It is a project at the Cass County Fair where the youth do not have to own their own animal. That’s why I have a lot of county horse owners that graciously donate their time for their kids to use their horses.

Q: What do you enjoy about volunteering with the fair?

I enjoy seeing kids get comfortable with the draft horse, get comfortable walking it and then on show day seeing it all come together. Some of these kids don’t otherwise have an opportunity to have any type of animal.

Q: Why is it important to volunteer?

If no one volunteers to do it, then it would never get done. In my case, there would be a lot of youth that would miss out on a wonderful opportunity. They would never get exposed to something they normally would not get to do. If we didn’t have volunteers these kids wouldn’t be able to do this project. In general, volunteering is about helping someone else out with what you enjoy doing.

 

Do you know a volunteer worthy of recognition? Nominate him or her as next week’s Volunteer of the Week by emailing Craig Haupert, community editor, at craig.haupert@leaderpub.com, or calling (269) 687-7720.

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