Toast

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A young man wearing a blue helmet, glasses, and black jacket leans up against a palomino horse standing in a barn. The boy has a large smile on his face.

"My son Cole is 20 years old and has Angelman syndrome. He has cognitive delays, no speech, sensory issues, and epilepsy. All of these make so many activities difficult for Cole. He started therapeutic horseback riding lessons at Hands, Hooves and Hope Ranch about four years ago and shortly after he started he met Toast.

Every horse at Hands, Hooves and Hope Ranch has been rescued by the ranch owner, Ms. Christine. Toast came from a very abusive background. After extensive work and training with Christine, he is now the sweetest and most gentle horse there! 

[READ MORE: Rescue horses rescue youth at this Colorado ranch.]

[READ MORE: For 30 years, mustangs and inmates have been bettering one another.]

Toast and Cole have an exceptionally unique bond. When Cole first started riding, he needed a leader and a volunteer sidewalker on each side of him to hold his legs. Because of Toast's gentle nature, Cole now rides on his own! 

Before every riding session, Cole gives Toast lots of love with hugs and kisses and Toast gives him loving nudges and even licks Cole's helmet! On days when Cole is not able to get on Toast to ride, Toast allows Cole to walk him everywhere. On days when Cole struggles to focus or struggles with seizures, Toast waits patiently for him. On days when Cole pulls too hard on the reins to stop Toast, Toast still stop and wait for Cole's next command. When Cole suddenly tries to get off Toast in the middle of his lesson, Toast stands perfectly still. 

Toast has given Cole so much confidence in himself and it has truly been a miracle to see Cole excel and shine in an activity." —Kristin Z. 

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