What can I say? Rocky is just an amazing horse and we love him so much. It was an easy decision to nominate him to be the PATH Intl Equine of the Year. It was hard to write in 75 words or less just why he was so amazing! Iasked students, volunteers and parents if they could also put into words why they thought Rocky was deserving and then off went the nomination to PATH Intl. That was in April.
Knowing that we are a new center and that Rocky had only been a therapy horse for mere months, I really didn't think that he would have a chance. There are a lot of amazing horses in this industry. The nomination asked how Rocky had impacted someone's life remarkable. Quite honestly at that point, Rocky hadn't impacted anyone so outstandingly. He was good, but was he that good?
I nominated Rocky because of how this industry had impacted his life. At the 2011 conferecnce the keynote speaker challenged us (in my opinion) with a simple statement and follow up question. To be truly theapeutic experience, itshould be mutually beneficial to the whole team! Our industry frequently talks about how stressful this job is too the horse. If that is the case, is it a therapeutic?
Having been abused in his past life, I knew that this was going to challenge Rocky's trust. We started working with him and added a rich sensory diet to his life (another words we started a desensitizing program). Instead of looking at me with skpticism, he started coming to the gate as if saying "what are we going to do today?".. we started becoming a team and it was heatwarming to see the trust that we were developing.
He started working with Matt and was absolutely suppurb at regional Special Olympics. But Matt is quiet and has calming low energy. Rocky could deal with that. Bill started riding him and was thrilled when Rocky allowed him to hug him. Bill needed him and Rocky seemed to sense that. He could feel that Bill was no threat. Again a new sense of increased confidence just radiated from Rocky.
As Healing with Horses Ranch started increasing the number of clients we also increased the number of people that were working with Rocky. I was concerned that he would regress. Just the opposite is happening. Rocky is blossoming. He is truely LOVING his job and is asking clients to "pick" him as he gently walks over to them and puts his head down and invites them into his space. His eyes are calm and relaxed and "soft". Rocky truly has found the job that he was meant to do!
Thank you to PATH Intl for recognizing what it has done for Rocky. We are so proud of him and are so blessed to be able to have him as our parnter! It really is a therapeutic experience for all of our team!