My Days at Windrush

January 13, 2008
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As a sophomore in high school, I hear teenagers use the word “retard” as an insult many times a day. I wonder to myself maybe if they spent one day at Windrush Farm they wouldn’t be so quick to use that term in that way. I have been an able bodied horseback rider and volunteer at a local therapeutic horseback riding program since the age of seven, helping mentally and physically challenged people escape from the everyday world to a place of complete acceptance and love. Seeing the happiness on each of the rider’s faces when they mount their horse for their lesson is the most rewarding experience and is so heartwarming. Watching a rider work on an exercise and achieve their goal at the end of the ride makes me feel nearly as great as I hope they do.

Horses have one of the most trustworthy bonds with people, and the rider to horse connection is powerful. This trust comes into action with the mentally challenged, blind, paralyzed, and other disabled riders I have worked with. I have never seen such courage as those who put all their trust in their mount as well as determination at trying their best to connect with and control a 1,000 pound animal. The horses do their part with their gentle nature and understanding that these children and adults need their absolute perfect stride to stay aboard. It amazes me to see a child one week afraid to even touch a horse, and by a seventh week crying because they are so happy they do not want to get off.

The horses and ponies at Windrush Farm seem to have a special awareness that these children need extra care from them. I have walked many miles with the horses and riders at Windrush Farm, but what they have given back to me is so much more than I feel I could ever give to them.





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