My daughter was born with a genetic bone disease that caused her to have severe scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine). When she was 8 she had to wear a back brace. About that time, we found and purchased R Ranch in Dahlonega, GA, and her horseback riding started. She learned how to ride as well as all about how to care for horses. She absolutely loved it! We rode almost every weekend through the hills along the Appalachian trails. She soon became a Jr. Wrangler and that allowed her to take riders on trail rides, go on overnight campouts with other wranglers and horses, and gave her a sense of belonging. Horseback riding gave her confidence and helped her grow to be a real animal lover.
When she was 11 she had to have back surgery. After researching how to strengthen her muscles, we found that bareback riding was great therapy for her back and her core. After surgery, she recovered in large part to riding a horse.
As an adult, my daughter has been able to enjoy horseback riding on vacations with our family. A 2-hour ride on the beaches in the Dominican Republic, pictured above, was an experience we’ll never forget. Because we were experienced riders, we were able to run on the beach, stop to cut down coconuts and see parts of the country we never would have been able to see by car. Riding in Hawaii was also an incredible experience, and something that we are thankful to be able to do on every vacation.
My daughter is now in Jacksonville, FL looking into one of the therapy barns to volunteer! We truly believe that horses have changed and saved our lives.
Deanne Neises - Equestrian Mom of 18 years