: , Leg Up Farm!

Here’s her story:

The 2020 Hope in the Saddle Therapy Horse of the Year winner: Ella, from Leg Up Farm!

“Cinderella’s Glass Slippers, aka Ella, has been a therapy horse in our program since 2012. She is a 16-year-old Quarter pony who loves to jump and go for gallops in the field. Ella came to Leg Up Farm as she suffers severe allergies that keep her from being a show horse. To date, she is our most veteran therapy horse, helping individuals with special needs and emotional support for almost nine years. While Ella can be very sassy and opinionated, she is one of our best teachers when it comes to riders gaining independence in their riding abilities, including learning to canter and jump. But what makes Ella a hero is her outstanding ability to read her rider and respond in ways that still manage to amaze us.

A few years ago, Ella was helping one of our independent riders come back from some serious medical issues, including re-learning to walk. As the rider became stronger and gained her independence back, she was able to ride Ella at a trot without any assistance. On two separate occasions, the rider began to have a major seizure while sitting on Ella. Both times, Ella remained calm, stopped and stood completely still until the instructor was able to get to them and dismount the rider, moving her to safety. This is something that is completely opposite to the nature of the horse. The fact the Ella could read the situation and respond in such a way is astonishing!

In more recent times, she has been working with an individual with autism spectrum disorder. While he is verbal, his verbal communication is limited as well as his means of expression. When it comes to working with the horse, he is capable of grooming and tacking with minimal assistance. Ella gives him the freedom to ride almost completely independently during his session, which he loves! For the past few months, he has started to learn to post the trot and is even able to ride Ella independently when doing so. Sometimes he gets very excited when he gets to do this. He will vocalize loudly and bounce up and down on her back. Ella always remains calm and just continues to trot at whatever pace they were already going. In just the past few weeks, we have been able to introduce the canter. He is able to experience the freedom of riding a horse in canter while on the lunge line with the instructor. Ella always takes care of him and does as he asks. , .” —Jessica W.

As the winning therapy horse, Ella—and her human friends—will receive a year’s supply of Nutrena Feed horse feed, a $250 gift card to Tractor Supply Co., and more! Thank you to everyone who entered! And thank you to Nutrena Feed and Tractor Supply Co. for supporting Hope in the Saddle and putting together an awesome prize package!


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