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Lucky

A woman in a wheelchair pets a sorrel horse. There is a large smile on her face and a wheelchair ramp in the background.

Lucky has been with the Heartland Horses Equine Activity and Learning program since August of 2012. He is 13 years old and has been the perfect horse for therapeutic adaptive riding lessons for so many of our more physically challenged riders. 

Lucky is not only very gentle with the children and adults of the program, but he is also very attentive to the emotional and physical needs they demonstrate in and out of the arena. Lucky is versatile in that he accepts multiple styles of disciplines, whether it is Western, English, surcingle, or plain old bareback. He is able to work with advanced riders as well as with a first-time rider and, because of that, he is the favorite with our instructors—he is basically our go-to equine for any situation.

Sara is one of our longest-term equestrians in the program and she has been riding Lucky for two years. Sara uses a crest mount at the ramp, and Lucky is always ready to come into the ramp quietly and closely so that she can mount more safely.

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Sara’s disabilities prohibit her from giving strong cues such as leg or voice cues. Lucky has adapted to her way of touching his neck with her reining hand to ask him to walk on. Sara will often knot the reins on Lucky’s neck to do her strengthening exercises, and he is very careful while she is balancing herself. Lucky is able to work even though a rider may be unbalanced somewhat, but he will simply stop if he feels his rider slipping too much for safety. Sara always asks to pet and thank Lucky after her riding session. He is not afraid of her wheelchair and will always allow an approach with great patience.

Debbie is another wheelchair equestrian who uses Lucky. She also mounts using the ramp but also uses the electric lift to aid her mounting. Lucky is reliable here as well, where there is so much going on at once to orchestrate a smooth mount. Lucky knows his job and carries it out faithfully day by day with a sweet attitude. Because of his smaller size (14.3 hands, 930 lbs.), he is a joy to work with for our side-walkers who feel they have more access to their rider and a joy to the equestrian as they don’t feel intimidated by his size.

Lucky gets more usage hours every week because everyone loves him and depends on him. He also gets more loving on because almost every rider in the program has gotten to use him for lessons at one time or another. Lucky is our renaissance “man!" —Mary M.

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