Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Joan of Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Our weekly column presented by Ovation Riding typically spotlights an organization doing good work in the horse world — today, an organization has come forward to recognize one of its own!

Joan & Doodle Bug share a celebratory snuggle after they participated in the program's annual horse show. Photo by Christianna Sauve.

Joan & Doodle Bug share a celebratory snuggle after they participated in the program’s annual horse show. Photo by Christianna Sauve.

Each week, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. This week, we’re doing something a little bit different — Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center wanted to recognize one of its own hardworking riders. Executive Director and Head Riding Instructor Jessica Moore tells Joan’s story.

I first met Joan almost 3 years ago, when she came for an evaluation to begin riding in our therapeutic riding program. Joan had recently experienced a cerebral AVM, which left her with right sided hemi-paresis. Joan used a cane and an articulated foot orthotic to ambulate.

Immediately upon meeting her, I knew that Joan was a strong, intelligent woman who was determined that she would make a full recovery.  She had been a French language teacher for years, and was working toward building the stamina to return to full class days, as well as to improve her walking gait, her overall balance and the strength in her right side. Joan and I were optimistic that horseback riding would help her meet those goals.

In one of her first sessions, Joan walks Magic for a warm up lap. Photo by Jessica Moore.

In one of her first sessions, Joan walks Magic for a warm up lap. Photo by Jessica Moore.

When Joan began riding, she embraced every aspect of being at the farm and integrated it into her therapy. She participated in grooming and tacking her horse, as well as walking one warm up lap prior to mounting in order to “warm up” and further target her trouble spots. In the almost three years since Joan began riding with us, she has grown from a rider who required a moderate amount of assistance to mount and dismount, as well as steer her horse to the now strong, independent woman who is riding a much more challenging horse, mounting and dismounting independently, and is walking and trotting basic dressage patterns.

I am inspired by each of my riders in a different manner. Certain riders stand out for various reasons. Joan is one of those stand outs — she is inspiring, on so many levels.

Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) is a non profit organization in Oxford, Michigan that provides equine assisted activities to individuals of all ages and abilities. For over 27 years, we have worked to better the quality of life of individuals with special needs through therapeutic equestrian activities. Our center provides the opportunity for each participant to develop to his or her greatest potential. Through training and involvement of staff and volunteers, Banbury Cross TEC also hopes to strengthen the understanding of people with special needs. Banbury Cross TEC is a PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Premier Accredited Center.

Joan gives Kally a thank you kiss for the great session. Photo by Jessica Moore.

Joan gives Kally a thank you kiss for the great session. Photo by Jessica Moore.

We at Horse Nation salute Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center for its good work and encourage readers who wish to learn more to visit the organization’s website and Facebook page.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to kristen@nationmediallc.com. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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