Ruby has officially worked as a therapy horse for four years [at Healing Strides Psychoterhapy, Inc.]. Ruby loves her job, as evidenced by her dedication to keeping her riders safe. She is our steadiest horse for unsteady riders and riders with behavioral issues.
But the love Ruby has for individuals with disabilities isn’t just evident while she’s working. On multiple occasions, Ruby has been drawn to individuals with disabilities while just out for a trail ride with barn staff.
On a recent ride, Ruby stopped, refusing to walk on with the others in her group. Her rider noticed a boy with a developmental disability approaching Ruby with arms outstretched. As he approached, his caregiver tried to stop him. Ruby’s rider indicated that he was welcome to come and pet Ruby.
[READ MORE: Denver’s youth find healing through horses.]
[READ MORE: Rescued horses rescue at-risk youth at Charis Ranch.]
With tears in her eyes, his caregiver explained that he is legally blind, only seeing shadows, and has never before approached a horse or other animal along the trail. She also indicated that he is mostly non-verbal. As he was petting Ruby, he repeated the word “horse.” Ruby’s feet were planted until the boy had finished petting her. With reluctance, she left him to rejoin the group of other horses on the ride.
We have witnessed this type of behavior with individuals in wheelchairs, forearm crutches, and a woman who is partially paralyzed riding a recumbent bike with hand pedals. In each instance, Ruby stops to await the individual’s approach or she approaches them on her own. Even when she is not working, Ruby finds her people and shares her love.
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