Heza Jackrabbit

Photo courtesy of Howard Schatzberg
(2004 – )
Owned by Michelle Legrotte-Barcus
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of USEF Archive
The close of the 2010 competition year marked the retirement of Heza Jackrabbit "“ the 46-inch tall wonder pony known for his athleticism and showmanship. Born in 2004, the small, but unbelievably strong stallion went on to become a Roadster champion, participating in 29 competitions in his four years of showing. Over those years he racked up an impressive record of 17 wins, nine reserves and three third place finishes.

True to his form, the roadster pony ended his last year in the ring by claiming no less than four championship victories. United States Equestrian Federation recognized "Rabbit's" impressive accomplishments as a USEF Honor of Honor in the same year as his retirement.

Owned and competed by amateur owner and driver, Michelle LeGrotte Barcus, Rabbit was the Modern Shetland Roadster Champion at the Kentucky Spring Premier and at the United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA) Chapter V competition. He then became the Modern Amateur Roadster Reserve Champion at the ASPC Congress and the Roadster Reserve Champion at the Missouri State Fair. His extensive list of career accomplishments include a Congress Reserve National Grand Championship, two Congress National Championships and one reserve championship, four Shetland Roadster championships and two reserves, two ASPC National All Star rankings, two USEF Peoples Choice Shetland Roadster awards, the Missouri Horse Show Association Year End Shetland Roadster Championship, and the Pony Express Show Circuit Year End Shetland Roadster Championship.

One of Michelle's fondest memories of showing Rabbit was the modern roadster amateur to drive at the 2010 ASPC/ASPR Congress in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Michelle shared, "The moment Rabbit stepped into the ring the crowd started cheering. Every pass we made the crowd got louder and Rabbit could feel the electricity in the air. The more they cheered the bigger he got. He was like driving a little sports car. Then they called for a two pony work out. The crowd was even louder. We came away with the reserve, but the crowd let us know they loved him. That class is still talked about among those who were there to see it."

At the end of the 2010 show season, Michelle knew something wasn't quiet right with Rabbit. She thought maybe he needed some time off, so she took him home to relax with plans to breed him. He wasn't home for long however before she noticed that he was having trouble seeing in his right eye. Rabbit was diagnosed with moon blindness, and it was discovered that he was losing sight in his left eye as well. He learned to adjust to live as he vision faded, but Michelle decided that before he went totally blind it was time to geld him in hopes that he could live as much of a normal life as possible. And that's exactly what he's done.

Rabbit is now stalled next to his best pony friend and formal hauling and stable mate at shows, and the two are enjoyable to watch interact together. Rabbit also now plays an important role in a youth program that Michelle sponsors called Team Tiny. The kids of Team Tiny are always learning how to groom, handle and lead Rabbit. He loves the kids and loves the attention.

Like everything else in his life, Rabbit has faced his blindness with courage. A show pony with a proud legacy, his power and strength have impressed judges and garnered a loyal fan base whose cheers served as fuel to his fire in the show ring. His display of exquisite form and magnetic presence will not be forgotten as he serves as a model for those roadster ponies to come.