The Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.
We don’t know much about Lightning’s background prior to coming to The Shane Center. He was 8 years old when we got him, and he had been used for the family’s kids to ride. When the family couldn’t keep him any longer, they reached out to The Shane Center. Their hope was that he would be able to continue to do what he loved most, serving as a trusted and reliable mount for children.
Lightning is akin to a Jack Russel Terrier. He doesn’t view himself as a small, 10-hand pony. Lightning holds his own with the other horses and if there is something worth being the boss over, he makes sure the 16 and 17-hand horses know that he is the boss! Lightning is very friendly, yet astute, and he appreciates being called “handsome” rather than “cute”.
Along the way we taught Lightning to drive so he could pull an adult and child around in a two wheeled cart. He excels at both riding and driving and was used in Pony Club and 4-H. Lightning will carry the tiniest of riders around as if he is walking on eggshells. He will help the older kids learn to steer and stay balanced when they are learning to ride independently.
On more than one occasion, we had a tiny girl who had to ride mostly prone (lying on her stomach facing the tail) because her trunk was so weak and Lightning would go along nice and slow and easy and then just refuse to move. Moments later the child would have a seizure. I believe Lightning could sense the electrical field of the child and knew to stand still, even though we were trying to make him keep walking. We learned after that to listen to Lightning and consider that he was feeling or sensing something we were not.
Lightning is now 30 years old and in great health. He is a little slower than he used to be, and he does occasionally have a stifle that locks up. He would benefit greatly from Platinum Performance Products for supporting his overall wellness, performance, and longevity.
Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I am the Executive Director of The Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship. Many years ago, I received a call from a lady about a pony she wanted to donate to a therapeutic riding program. I scheduled a time to go see the pony. It was just far enough away that I decided to take the horse trailer, along with a volunteer who is much shorter than I, with the hopes she could actually ride the pony for a thorough evaluation. I also brought along my 3 yr. old daughter, Gabriella, who loved all things involved with horses.
The owner had the pony out in the yard when we arrived and my daughter immediately asked, “That my pony?” I explained that if this pony was a nice pony, then he would be used in our lesson program, but that she would also be able to ride him if we decided to take him home. As we were getting out of the truck, Gabriella immediately went to the back of the trailer and tried to reach the handles saying, “put my pony in!”
Unfortunately, the pony was way too small for my volunteer to ride, so I evaluated him with groundwork and tested his reactions to pressure. I saddled him up, lunged him, and decided he was quiet enough to put Gabriella on with me holding her tightly, just in case. But the pony was a gem. He was respectful, yielded well, and was obedient. He had a bit of pep to his gait, and I could tell he would benefit from being put back into a program of regular riding and training.
Fast forward 22 years and that same pony, which we named Lightning Bolt, (because Gabriella wanted him to be fast like lightning), is STILL giving lessons to the tiniest of riders at The Shane Center! He is sound and healthy, although a little slower and wiser. -- Karen M. Sanchez