Horse Care by a Quadriplegic

 

I have wanted to enjoy horses literally my entire life. But due to the lack of resources, I could not plug into a therapeutic riding program. My luck changed when I met a farm owner.

It was if I had stumbled across a long lost friend when I met  a nineteen year old, whose dreams were as wild and audacious as mine. 

My friend works her twenty-two acre farm every day. Throwing hay, mucking stalls, and working the horses. I was introduced to the sport of eventing. Together, horse and rider are a team and compete in three different events; Dressage, Cross Country, and Stadium Jumping.

I learned that owning horses for me was not much different than my able-body counterpart.

The beauty of equine is that it can be therapeutic in so many different ways. Some riders might benefit from the connection and the relationship-building with the horse and with their environment. Other riders benefit physically, from the movements, and build core strength, and muscle memory. Horses offer something for everyone.

 

Riding is a HUGE part of owning a horse. First, it’s the best way to get full enjoyment out of your house but it is vital to your horse’s health. Horses are not naturally athletic. Their ability and talent is contingent on the owner’s investment in training them. As a quadriplegic, the challenge I faced in riding was the lack of core strength. With the help of my husband, we customized a saddle that was suitable for my needs.

The farm became my “happy” place! Soon I found joy in owning and caring for my horses.

How is it done? How do I care for my horses with quadriplegic? There are challenges with me caring for my horses. Here are my solutions in being successful in horse care:

  • Farm terrain can be difficult to maneuver. The third wheel called “Free Wheel” made the farm easier to navigate. 
  • Horses are big and can be unpredictable. Safety measures should always be followed. When caring for my horse I always make sure there is someone on the property with me. In case of an emergency, I will have assistance.
  • Concrete became my friend! I was lucky to have a horse stall close to a long drive way. This driveway has become a perfect place for me to care for my horse. I use the driveway for long walks and training sessions for my pony. I also taught my pony how to pull my wheelchair (like a cart) up the driveway! 
  • Daily care of a horse is a must. My pony needs grain twice a day. I am blessed to have a friend to help with their daily care. Search for friends to assist you or find a boarding barn that will cover the daily needs of your equine. Without, horse ownership would not be easy.

In summary, horse ownership has been one of the most incredible experiences for me and I hope others will find it to be true also.  

Leslie

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