Maintenance Records Analyst Dorinda Hennings has many talents outside of work. Her life-long love for horses led her to train and show horses, mules and donkeys, and she’s also recently discovered another talent – creating etch-a-sketch art.
“I had my first pony when I was five, and I started training and showing horses when I was 12,” she said. “I’ve always loved horses. Before I could even walk I wanted a horse. My mom always let me ride the live pony carousel at the mall while she shopped. I loved it!”
Her passion for training animals has continued to grow throughout her life. She currently has three horses (Thor – a draft cross, Mitch – a quarter horse, and Cinnamon – a pure bred standard who is a crippled former race horse that Dorinda rescued), one mule (Miss Sarah), two miniature donkeys (Jenny and Angel) and one standard donkey (Raindrop). She trains them all to perform in parades, costume classes, shows and events.
“I recently decided I really like mules. They’re really smart and like to perform. Miss Sarah beat 20 plus horses in a trail competition where they side step, step back, go over obstacles, etc. She was the only mule in the competition and she won!”
All of the animals know many different commands, including bowing, smiling, giving kisses and nodding. Thor, Mitch and Miss Sarah also know advanced tricks and perform at events like the Tractor Supply exhibit, the Toomsboro Mingo Trails Frontier Days event, parades, competitions and more. Mitch is currently learning how to round cattle and Thor is working on a new performance – a line dance number where Dorinda rides Thor as he line dances with several other human dancers and performs the electric slide.
Dorinda shows her quarter horse, Mitch, in local and regional show competitions where they have qualified for the state event two years in a row, and will head to states again this year in the fall. Mitch has won in competitions including halter, walk trot, western pleasure, and reining – a competition where riders guide horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops.
When Dorinda isn’t focusing on her four-legged friends, she likes creating etch-a-sketch art, a talent she learned when playing with her daughters’ toy out of boredom.
“Once I realized I could draw a circle using both wheels, it was easy to learn more intricate shapes and patterns. This [artwork in the photo below] took me about 15 minutes to create,” she said.
When Dorinda isn’t whipping up an amazingly detailed piece of art or spending hours carefully training her animals to follow commands, she loves to spend her time writing, camping, trail riding, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.