I'll never forget her first lesson. I had to drag her out of the car crying because of the dogs that had come to greet us. I remember saying, "You're about to get on a horse and you are worried about a dog?" I'm pretty sure I carried her until it was time to get on the pony. Once on the pony, she wouldn't turn loose of my hand. So there we went, walking all the laps of that first lesson together, hand in hand, as she slowly warmed up to the idea of being on a pony. Bailey has a big heart and that day her love for animals grew larger than her fear.
That first year she fell in love with riding. EVERY day when I picked her up at school she would ask if she was going to ride (she only rode once a week). After 1 month of riding she got up the nerve to sneak a kiss on the side of Barney's head, he was her favorite pony. I watched in amazement of the love pouring out of that little girl and the amount of comfort and confidence she'd already gained in such a short time. When she's riding, her speech delay and stutter do not matter. The horses accept her as she is. Her confidence has grown and her anxiety decreased. Counseling was discontinued shortly after she began riding, riding was the only therapy she needed.
One year ago, we found ourselves with a trainer who saw Bailey's potential and God given talent to ride. She couldn't believe how little riding experience Bailey had had based on her skill level and the fact that she didn't come from a background of horse riding (Jason and I knew nothing about horses or showing but we are learning). Janelle D'amato has taken Bailey under her wing and taken her skill to a whole new level. She's making Bailey work hard to reach her full potential. Bailey follows instruction without compaining, she'll do whatever Janelle tells her to do. Bailey will now get on any horse she's asked to, she's that comfortable around them and as of 2 months ago she was completely over her fear of dogs! Now she stalks any dog in sight.
I say all that to say this, Bailey has overcome a lot of obstacles. She still finds herself uncomfortable in many situations but she is in her element in the barn and show arena. The National Academy Championship Horse Show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is approaching and Janelle feels Bailey is qualified to go. To participate in this show will be an absolute honor. Last year there were 936 entries from 18 states. The Championship is 3 days long. We'll have to stay 4 nights in a hotel. Bailey will likely compete in 2 classes each of the 3 days. Entries and fees are due September 12. We are asking for your help to get her there. I know our little girl has won the hearts of so many...will you help Bailey live out a dream that so many riders wish for? Gifts of all amounts are appreciated, we have 2 weeks to raise the funds. Thank you in advance for your help!
- Kenny Partin
- Hannah Hiatt
- Robin Myers
- Kim Wiles
- Becky Reid
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