“My parents tell me the first word out of my mouth when I was a baby was horse,” said CUNA Mutual AVP/Association Relations Sue Racine. “And I’ve loved horses ever since.” After a lot of pestering Racine says her parents finally “cracked” and let her start taking lessons at age six. By her 13th birthday she owned her first pony, which eventually led to her first horse. Racine and her husband Dirk even host an annual Kentucky Derby party complete with ladies in hats and mint juleps served in official Derby glasses. She rides four times a week and sometimes she fits in a ride before work. “I admit that sometimes I have to shift the saddle in the back seat of my car to make room for people,” said Racine. “My favorite moment with my horse was when I took a day off and went for a trail ride for a recent birthday – the sun was shining in blue skies and we were just cantering over the wide open.” Recently Racine has been able mesh her passion with good deeds by boarding her Appaloosa American riding buddy Digger at the Three Gaits Therapeutic Horsemanship Center after he was injured. The non-profit organization works with individuals with disabilities and provides therapy through horses and riding. As an active volunteer Racine works with many who have been diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, ADD or autism and the riding often helps them build self-esteem. Since Digger may stay working as a therapeutic horse Racine is now in the market for another riding partner but says she’s still keeping Digger. “I don’t sell horses easily, once I find them they stay in my possession in fact the last one I had for 26 years,” said Racine. “What’s funny is other people may bring in family homes to a marriage-I brought my horses! I tell my husband that it is guaranteed golf time.”

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