“Sheik is a rescue horse, kind of old and not impressive in size, but, as his name implies, he is noble. He is gentle, princely, and extremely patient. And he changed my daughter’s life.

At the age of 19, KG suffered terribly from gravitational insecurity and could not even sit in a rocking chair without extreme anxiety. Getting her on a horse was the farthest thought from my mind. Then someone challenged me to push KG to do something way outside her comfort zone. Her occupational therapist suggested that we enroll her in a therapeutic riding program and referred us to Butterfly Dreams Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia.

[READ MORE: 9 Articles About How Horses are Helping People with Autism]

[READ MORE: Rescued Horses Rescue Youth at Charis Ranch]

KG’s instructor showed us around the barnyard and then introduced us to Sheik. That first lesson, KG went from tentatively reaching out a hand to Sheik when she met him to giving him a long hug when she said goodbye. Something changed deep inside KG that day.

From then on, she was willing to try the impossible with Sheik. For the first time ever, she was willing to do something that terrified her. She had complete confidence in Sheik, and it inspired confidence in herself. My cognitively and visually impaired daughter has gone from having no real achievements or hobbies in life to being an avid equestrienne, whose new skill amazes all who know her. Most people don’t have anything good to say about 2020, but it was a great year for KG. It was the year Sheik changed her life!”—Debbie S.

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