HETRA - Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy
As one of the only draft horses in our program, Lady holds a special place within the hearts of the HETRA community. She is kind, peaceful, and always willing to learn new things. Lady would benefit from the Platinum Performance products specifically for hoof and gastrointestinal health. Below is more information and an inspirational story about Lady, as told by HETRA’s CEO, Therapist, and Instructor, Edye Godden.
“Lady is an 18 year-old Percheron mare who joined the HETRA Herd in 2016. Lady quickly has found her place as the gentle giant of our program. Her height and enormous size gets her noticed by all that come through the barn. Her kind and caring eyes and gentle demeanor allows those that meet her to remember her. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with Lady in our Adaptive Riding and Therapy Services programs. Often when people first meet her they are awe of her size and beauty but nervous due to how big she really is. It does not take Lady long though to convince them that she truly is a gentle giant. Whether it be Veteran doing grooming or an individual with a disability riding, participants always walk away from Lady with a greater sense of confidence.
“I can think of one situation a few years ago when I had a young rider that really wanted to ride but was afraid to get on. Due to his fear, our first attempt was with a smaller Haflinger in our program named Waldo. Although Waldo did everything he needed to do, we were just not able to overcome this young boys fear and get him mounted onto the horse. We decided to have him come back during a time when the barn was quiet. After a short period of time, he was able to overcome his fear and mount and ride Waldo for that first session. At the end of that first session, Lady came around the corner and he said I want to ride that horse next time! I was very surprised by this request and a little reluctant to grant it given his initial fear, but he was insistent so I said ‘let's give it a try!’ Lady as always stood stock still for her mount and was steady as could be throughout the session. The smile on his face was priceless and, once again, I was in awe of how this amazing horse helped this young boy conquer his fear.
“That was a few years ago and that boy rode with a leader and two sidewalkers. Today he rides Lady completely independently and together they are starting to trot! They truly have an amazing bond.
“I have one more story to share about Lady. Our organization was called upon by Make-a-Wish Foundation for a young girl. The girl's wish was to ride a unicorn. We could not think of a better Unicorn than Lady. Lady had to go through some additional training as her "role" as a unicorn was going to require her to walk through fog, go into the magical forest and make a wish at the wishing well! As always, Lady took this training in stride and was ready when the day came. It truly was a magical day and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when Lady ‘the unicorn’ walked through the fog and made her entrance and the young girl saw that her wish was coming true. Lady made the entire wish so special, she was a rock star as always - calm and steady and amazing! Not every horse gets to be a unicorn but we feel Lady is a unicorn for sure in our herd.”
Attached is a photo of Lady as a unicorn with the Make-a-Wish participant, her family, and our staff members. It was truly a day to remember.
Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I came to know this horse as a staff member at HETRA. I became the Development Specialist at HETRA three years ago, but have gotten to know her much better as I became a PATH Intl. certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor this past year.
However, the quote below comes from our CEO, Edye Godden, who has worked with Lady as an Occupational Therpaist and PATH Intl. certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor since 2016. -- Lucia Charvat