"Dusty has been in our program [at StableStrides] since 2017 and has been an irreplaceable member of our herd. He is quiet and polite naturally, yet he loves to unobtrusively play with his clients and volunteers.
He helps riders in all three of our programs: Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding, and Mental Health. He is calm and gentle with tiny 2-year-olds on his back, and then smoothly transfers to working with a young adult or adult with ease. He knows the ability of the person on his back practically instantly and tries his hardest to help out.
In the herd, he is our loveable introvert who enjoys watching the others get into shenanigans like a kid with a bowl of popcorn.
Dusty's specialty is with our mental health clients. His ability to lift spirits and give confidence is incredible. During one session, a client was venting about the frustrations and difficulty of life, Dusty stood slightly behind the client and softly started pulling on their sleeve. It was a quick grab-and-drop motion. The client didn't realize it for a long time, but Dusty kept at it until finally the client became present. Then Dusty rested his chin on the client's shoulder and blew into their face, as if saying ‚"I'm here, take a deep breath."
Those moments are when Dusty is worth his weight in gold. A human could never bring about the result that Dusty did that day." —Maggie R.