Special Needs Horseback Rides Bring Smiles

Riders, volunteers, and even horses are smiling

In between teaching shotgun at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend and helping at the Youth Fishing Derby in Pagosa Springs Wolf Creek Outfitters (WCO) hosted the special needs children of Pagosa Springs for the annual horseback ride.

Each year our team gives the kids the opportunity to watch, pet, lead, and if they desire, ride a horse. This is a day the WCO team and our friends look forward to each year.

Twelve children along with their instructors and a couple of parents arrive for the big day. The morning begins with adjustments to boots and cowboy hats, followed by greetings and instructions. Then everyone meets the horses.

Many of the children have been to this event in the past and are comfortable around the horses. Others take a little warming up. Then before you know it they are off on a ride.

We start off with our team of volunteers leading the children via horseback on short rides around the arena. For those who are up to it, and capable, they’re handed the reins and get to be in the “driver’s seat.”

We also make it a point to try to get the instructors and volunteers a-horseback. After all, why should these children ride if the adults won’t? This year we had two of the group’s instructors or leaders, who’d never ridden before, take a ride.

This year we also have a new addition to this special day. Loud, “OOOHs, AAAHs, and WOW’s” were heard as Ombré the pony led out for his grand introduction.

Ombré proudly packed around a few of the smaller, more timid children. One of these only rode once, but had Ombré not been there she may have not ridden at all.

Each year it seems there’s at least one who doesn’t want to hop on a saddle. Don’t worry. We put them right to work. They get to smile, wave, and cheer in support of their friends. Some of the more brave ones learn to lead the horses too.

Another youngster, who is deaf, climbed atop Cowboy (aka., Mr. Man) and rode the entire time. Having been to this special event before, he wasn’t getting down from the horse until it’s time to go.

At WCO we are honored to be a part of such a great event. It’s rewarding to meet these great youngsters and to have them back year after year. The horses love them too. It’s amazing how they have a sense of who they’re packing around and know they need to take care of their riders.

We’re proud to have such a great team of horses that take care of this precious cargo and a fantastic group of volunteers who find it rewarding to give back to this special group of people.

We know they all find great reward in this day, but we’d also like to give a huge thanks to our volunteers, Terry Eschelman, Jordan Lindsay, Lea Leggitt, Laura Jacobson, and Tucker Jacobson.

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4 Replies to “Special Needs Horseback Rides Bring Smiles”

  1. love the program youre running, keep me updated always wanted to do something like this

  2. We do this every summer and coordinate with the summer program’s director.

  3. i think that is so neat, my niece went through one of them she only weighed 1lb 3oz when born and is now 26yrs old

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