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October 9, 2013

Topsfield's Bingham earns spot at Grand National, World Championship Morgan Horse Show

Olivia Bingham of Topsfield has defied all odds to achieve the highest accolades in Morgan horse shows. The 13-year old, who was born with severe medical problems, has qualified for the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City. The event is considered the Olympics of Morgan horse shows and will feature riders from 48 states and three countries. Morgan is an American breed that is compact and muscular and very graceful.

“It’s fun,” said Livi, who began riding in a therapeutic program at Windrush Farm in Boxford when she was four years old. She was born with organ reversal and polysplenia, but put her on a horse and she excels.

“Livi started at Windrush and after a while moved on to a more conventional barn that emphasized jumping,” said her father Shep. “She decided she didn’t really like it and switched to flat work at Chrislar Farm in Rowley. She has had to overcome a tremendous amount of challenges that started even before she was born.

“First it was the question of whether she would even survive the delivery. She was born with a reversal of her organs. The organs were flipped around opposite where they should be, she also had fused vertebrae and floppy joints. She had a high risk of infantile mortality, and as a result of all the medical issues she is delayed in a number of area that she has been fighting to overcome, especially speech and language.”

All obstacles are cast aside when she is riding a horse. She started out participating in small local shows, but quickly excelled to the point that she outgrew her first horse Swifty. The family donated him to Windrush Farm where he can help others.

Bingham is now competing at the highest level for Morgan horses, the A Circuit, and doing extremely well. She won the Mass Morgan Horse Show on MEM Virtual Insanity, and was the Hunter Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 13-Under Reserve Champion at the Springfield Coliseum which is the third largest Morgan horse show in the United States. Reserve champion means she was awarded the ribbon for second place.

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