Pride

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woman in wheelchair smiles next to black therapy horse at equine therapy barn

In the rolling hills of Kentucky, there are many horse farms. Farms with big white barns and Thoroughbred horses. There is one special farm, or center in my heart: The REATH Center. REATH stands for Riding Enhanced Around Therapeutic Horses. This center is a calm place for many kids and adults in or around Campbellsville, Kentucky. There are many people with disabilities or special needs that can benefit from therapeutic riding.

I have been riding at the REATH Center for two years now. It has become a big part of my life. When I was born, I was diagnosed with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a congenital joint contracture in two or more areas of the body.

Since I was 6 years old, I have loved horses. No matter if I was in the vehicle going down the road seeing a horse, or just going up to pet one, it was a big deal for me. Riding at this small center has changed my life. I have become closer to horses and learned more about them.The REATH Center has two horses. A Tennessee Walker named Pride and a miniature horse named Frosty. Pride is so special to me. I have ridden him for two years now, and he feels like my own horse. I treat him as my own. This horse is like no other horse. I feel like I have a special connection with him that I would have with no one else.Pride is about 29 years old and has been at the REATH Center for as long as I can remember. Originally a show horse, his owner donated him to the REATH Center. Pride was trained to be a perfect therapy horse. He is now used to kids, wheelchairs, loud noises, and much more. I trust him completely. I am able to ride him on my own with no side walkers or leader. I know that he will take care of me. I have leg braces that I wear to walk and I have a wheelchair for some occasions. I take my braces off when I ride and that is freedom for me. Pride is my legs. Since I can't walk without braces, this is the only hobby I can do freely with nothing but a horse. This horse has taken care of me from the beginning, and I love him with all my heart. I am very thankful for the REATH Center and Pride. —J. Cox

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