"I care for a beautiful woman named Dena who was born with cerebral palsy. She also lost her entire family in the span of 6 years. She had no one left to care for her and the state was going to put her in a facility. She's a dear friend and I couldn't possibly let that happen. So she moved in with us—my husband, our four kids, our goddaughter, and myself. She's a friend who became family!
To say we have a house full is an understatement, but we love it! My children and I love horses, so I thought Dena may enjoy them as well. We started bringing Dena along to the kids' lessons, and she flocked to a horse in the barn named Parsely.
I asked Parsley's owner if she was comfortable letting Dena ride her horse. I thought that riding could help Dena strengthen her core, improve her balance, and give her a sense of freedom moving on such an incredible animal. Parsley's owner graciously allowed us to use him.
[READ MORE: Denver's urban youth find healing through horses.]
[READ MORE: Rescued horses rescue at-risk youth at Charis Ranch.]
Parsely knew Dena was different than his other riders. He stood statue-still while we helped Dena mount up and he didn't budge at all when she inadvertently cued him to back up. When he walked, he walked steadily and carefully. He would halt whenever he felt her weight shift and would wait until she regained her balance before moving off again. He noticed even when we didn't!
Dena gleamed up on that horse! She was hooked. Parsely is gentle and slow-moving any tie Dena is around. He makes her feel on top of the world and she now has a new love and newfound sense of confidence. Parsely's owner has done an amazing job training him and we are blessed beyond measure to have them in our lives." —Nicole G.
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