“When our 23-year old gelding, McKensey, needed to retire from our therapeutic riding program, we had a big hole in to fill. Bringing a new horse into a therapeutic riding program takes time and we were in the middle of a busy school season.

As fate would have it, around that time we had a visit from Gulfstream Park‘s Director of Sponsorships and Community Relations. She put us in contact with Florida TRAC. There were several horses on their website that looked promising and we went to TRAC in Indiantown, Forida, to look at them. The manager introduced us to two horses she thought would be good program horses. We immediately fell for Cool Man Walkin, a 7-year-old chestnut gelding. Cool is a quiet, gentle-mannered horse who had run his last race in 2016.

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In early January 2019, Cool joined our herd at Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center in Miami. After a few weeks of settling in, he started training. It quickly became apparent that Cool loved attention and enjoyed working with the participants and volunteers. His big, gentle personality immediately drew everyone’s attention. Even the smallest riders wanted to ride Cool in class. He slowly picked up a regular class schedule and in no time he was carrying a full load.

Cool has now settled into his new career and is a wonderful member of our herd. He takes great care of his riders. Riding a big horse like Cool helps the riders to build independence, confidence, strength, and skill. Whether the rider is a beginner, just learning how to steer, or a more advanced rider practicing posting trot, Cool is patient and helps the rider towards independence.

In case there was any question that Cool was meant to be at Whispering Manes, we recently learned that Cool’s last race was a benefit for a permanently disabled jockey who is paralyzed from the waist down. Cool won that race, so his career helping people with special needs actually started long ago!” —Robin B.

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