MENOMONEE FALLS, WISCONSiN – Lindsay Thompson, a teen with Asperger’s Syndrome, wins three first place blue ribbons at the county fair. She was then invited by the judges to represent therapeutic classes at the Wisconsin State Horse Expo.
Lindsay rode Joleen, an often angry six year old quarter horse. Joleen’s unpredictable behavior and wild personality sent Rachel Devita-Anderson, horse trainer, to the hospital with broken ribs and a traumatic head injury.
Lindsay was taking riding lessons with Rachel and often would walk behind Rachel and the horses. Growing up with Asperger’s syndrome Lindsay struggles with emotional, physical and social interactions.
Once Joleen was introduced to Lindsay by Rachel there was a remarkable difference in the horse who lowered her head and yawned a sigh of relief and trust. It was clear Joleen picked Lindsay just as Lindsay had picked and bonded instantly with Joleen
Rachel was the first person to break through the long held thought that autistic riders were “unsafe” by the 4-H curriculum. She was the first person to break down the walls and start a 4-H group which opened therapeutic classes to all special needs children.
Rachel says of Lindsay and Joleen’s relationship.
“You don’t own a horse,
“You own her heart, just as she owns your heart.”
The original article by Kaelin Tully on the Buzz Feed website can be read here