I am writing to you to tell you about a life changing program in our valley. This program is WindWalkers Equine Therapy, located in Carbondale. WindWalkers is a therapeutic riding program that works with children with disabilities as well as families dealing with a host of other issues such as bullying, divorce, or learning challenges. WindWalkers also provides horsemanship classes for all children interested in learning how to ride a horse.
My family’s story starts when my daughter went to a friend’s birthday party at a local barn in first grade and could not enter the barn, because she was so terrified of horses. This was the first of many incidents where horses were involved and she would not go near them. This would not have been an issue, except for the fact that she desperately wanted to ride one at the same time that she was frightened of them. This is where WindWalkers came in. My daughter went with a friend to a riding lesson at WindWalkers and began to shake while standing in the barn entrance. The founder of WindWalkers asked her friend’s mother what was wrong. When she was told that my daughter was scared, she asked why she was there. When she found out that she really wanted to ride, she immediately said, “let’s get her in some lessons.” The first time my daughter was able to get on a horse, it took four therapists to assure her and stand beside her as she was led around the arena. My daughter had no disabilities, only an intense fear.
My daughter now rides competitively for a local barn and shows in the Hunter division jumping 2-foot-9-inches this summer. She has found her joy and her passion. She spends five days a week at the barn riding and caring for her horse, and has gained so much self confidence from overcoming an overwhelming fear. Occasionally, when someone at a horse show compliments her on how well she rides, I tell them that she once could not even walk in the barn because of fear, and they are unbelieving. Such is the change that WindWalkers made in her life. I cannot say enough about what this organization has done for our family. They have our deepest gratitude.
Board member, WindWalkers