My mom said she didn’t think I was ready for my own
horse yet. You see, I have Spina Bifida which means open spine. I was born with it, am paralyzed from the waist down
and am wheelchair bound. Well not really bound, I just use a chair when I am not skiing, riding a horse or a four wheeler.
About a year later I was at the Evergreen Rodeo watching all the guys
on horses and watching the team roping and steer wrestling and texting my mom saying how badly I wanted my own horse. My parents
finally agreed (it took forever!) and my search for a horse began. While I searched the internet, my dad called
Kenny and said we were ready to get a horse. He told me to take a look on the Greater Western Paso Fino Horse Association
website which needless to say I did continuously. A few days later Kenny told my dad and I that he had spoken with Pete and
Donna Shelton of Mountain Meadows Paso Finos. They had a couple of mares for sale and we could take a look at them if we were
interested. IF I was interested?? I had surgery four days before going to see the horses. But, it didn’t
stop me and we went, cast and all.
met Donna and Pete. Donna immediately took me to see the horses she thought would be best for me. She introduced me to a horse
they called Tesora who had a little foal with her. I looked over at another stall and got to see Bella Nina who was also for
sale and had a foal with her. I rode both Bella and Tesora.
First I rode Bella. Kenny said he would lead her for me. After a few minutes I said I was going to turn her left.
He said “go for it.” I hadn’t even noticed he had unclipped the lead rope and I had been controlling her
on my own. I began doing things like circles to figure 8s to backing her up step by step. I felt so
comfortable on her. I also rode Tesora, but knew it was Bella I wanted. When I got off the horse, Donna asked me
if I wanted to lead her around to see how she would do with my wheelchair. Bella followed me everywhere in my chair with the
lead rope dragging off my shoulder.
Donna had graciously
made lunch for us so we all sat down and ate. After lunch, I went into the barn for a minute. When I came back out I heard
Donna say, “Congratulations” to me and came over to me and gave me a hug. I had the biggest smile on my face.
I was now the owner of a horse, my first horse. Bella was my high school graduation present.
I was excited but knew it wasn’t just going to be just all fun
and games. It was going to be a long bonding process, but not just bonding but caring for her and her needs and keeping her
fit and healthy.