Macey and Carmalee at the American Heart Association Beach Ride in 2016. photo courtesy Carmalee S.

“Oct 17, 2003, a wreck with a drunk driver changed my life in a heartbeat. I went from being healthy and active to using a wheelchair. By 2010, I’d had multiple surgeries and could walk short distances using crutches but still needed a wheelchair or scooter if I needed to go any distance at all. By then I was a veteran of physical therapy but progress came in tiny increments. My physical therapist then suggested therapeutic horseback riding might be helpful. In March of 2010 I finally got a slot to take therapeutic horseback riding lessons at Horses for Hope TRC.

Within a few weeks people were noticing a difference in my gait and posture. A couple months later I could walk around the block on my crutches! I continued therapeutic riding at Horses for Hope for over a year and by then could walk well enough with ONE crutch that I was leading horses in therapeutic lessons for riders with more severe disabilities. 

Then, in April 2011 I got the pony I’d wanted from the time I was 3 for my 52nd birthday! Having my own horse was a dream come true. ❤️ Macey is a Paso Fino, a trail horse extraordinaire and she takes great care of me. We’ve ridden from the mountains in PA to the ocean at Myrtle Beach and all over NC, our home state. We’ve been making up for lost time trail riding, horse camping, barrel racing, pole bending, obstacle courses, ranch sorting, mounted archery, mounted orienteering, fun shows and making great friends! 

Macey now has Cushings and slightly rotated cannon bones so is only in light work. With those problems, a new horse, Capri, a Paso Fino gelding, joined Macey in my life in May 2018. Macey likes having a buddy to boss around and Capri is turning into a great horse for me too! Horseback riding has literally given me my life back! I can now walk short distances without crutches and as far as I want with them. I even did a 5K walk with last spring! Not only are horses my PT they helped me keep a positive outlook even when I was in a hostile work situation.” —Carmalee S. 

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