Patricia Lempart visited ManeGait for the month of September 2013 to take a break from her demanding job in her home country of Germany. Little did she know that instead of a relaxing vacation, ManeGait would give her a renewed excitement for life and for helping those in need. Patricia served as a volunteer in our lessons and as a schooler for our horses. When Patricia went back home to Germany, she wrote an article about her time spent at ManeGait and had it published in the German horse journal, Mein Pferd. Patricia’s article was published in a section reserved for people who spent time in foreign countries working with horses. Since the article is written in German, the following is a translation:
Therapeutic Horsemanship in the Wild West
Leaving the daily office routine and spending my time doing something completely different was my motivation to work as a volunteer on a therapeutic horsemanship ranch in Texas last September.
ManeGait is a non-profit organization with the goal to help develop the physical, mental, emotional, and social abilities of kids and adults with handicaps/disabilities. 18 good-natured horses, about 15 employees, and 300 volunteers ensure a smooth routine.
Depending on the individual’s needs, the GaitWay to the Brain program helps the kids to prepare for the lesson. It involves music therapy as well as special exercises that help to focus and become calm.
My tasks included to prepare the horses for the lesson with the involvement of the rider where possible. The horses are mainly ridden English. which sometimes lead to funny confusion for my volunteer colleagues as they are used to the Western style. During the lesson, I led the horse as “Horse Leader” or ensured the rider’s security as “Sidewalker,” encouraging them to ride as independently as possible. I was also allowed to help ride the horses, ensuring their fitness, and become friends with the only German horse – Pinot.
I was inspired by the thirst for knowledge of one of the students who wanted to know everything about horses and wanted to participate in all the preparation activities even though his physical ability was limited by a large extent. I was overwhelmed by little Luke sitting in a wheelchair who had the biggest joy just being on a horse. It was interesting to see that the horses accepted much more from the kids than they would probably tolerate from a “regular” rider.
Overall, I am very impressed with the professional way ManeGait is led, the community’s willingness to donate, the helpful volunteers, and above all, the riders who beam with joy for life. All together make ManeGait a unique place which I would like to visit again.
Thank you, Patricia! We loved having you with us, and we can’t wait to see you again! Beste Grüsse!
If you would like to check out Mein Pferd magazine click here.