If you ever find yourself doubting the value of your family’s involvement with horses, you might want to go spend a little time with a therapeutic riding center near you. In fact, I’m going to recommend that you do something that I need to do: volunteer a little time helping out as a side walker or some other role at the center.
I recently had the honor of meeting Molly Sweeney, the 2011 recipient of the USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award. Wow, what a lady! All of us rightly believe our grandmother is the best grandmother in the world. Let me just tell you, Molly’s grandkids really have something to crow about.
Molly has devoted a good portion of her life to helping build and sustain SIRE, Houston’sTherapeutic Equestrian Centers. Beyond that, she has been active with PATH International, the national accrediting organization for therapeutic riding centers. And she is a founder and board member of the Horses & Humans Research Foundation. The goal of that organization is to advance research into the broad beneficial effects of equine-assisted activities and therapies. We’re talking wounded warriors. Folks young and not-so-young with learning disabilities. People diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, and much more.
Molly, who credits her horse granddad with influencing her passion, has done all sorts of riding – for competition and for pleasure – all over the world. She is about as deserving an award recipient as I can imagine.
If your family is being enriched by its involvement with horses, figuring out a way to support your nearby therapeutic riding center might be a good way to express a little appreciation for that blessing. Just a thought.