Quadriplegic Trainer Helps Horses Help Wounded Vets
Two days after Nick Smith’s 21st birthday in 2004, a freak tractor accident left him quadriplegic. The doctors told him he’d never ride again.
All photos: nicksmithquarterhorses
Today, however, he’s not only riding, he’s training horses for wounded warriors in programs across the South, according to WearABCtv.
“I’ve always had that… when somebody told me I couldn’t do something, I was stubborn,” he said. “I’ve always been so stubborn. I may not be able to do it as good, but before I say I can’t do, I’ll darn sure try.”
After his accident, Nick had to develop new ways to communicate with horses.
“This life-altering event did change me physically and I have to do things a lot different than I used to, but it did not take away my love for horses or my determination to ride again,” he writes on his website. “With a special saddle, I am able to walk, trot and lope again. My bond with all horses has not changed either, and I can still talk to a horse and tell you if we are going to have a good relationship or if a certain horse doesn’t have the demeanor or build to be the kind of horse someone is looking for.”
“When I’m on this horse, it’s the closest thing to walking again you can ever imagine,” he said in the news segment. “I don’t have to worry about rocks, sand, dirt, steps… I feel normal.”
Smith has his own training and sales business in Chatsworth, Ga., but travels to centers like the Safe Haven Rescue Center to train horses for therapy sessions with wounded veterans. He only accepts gas money as payment. If, nine years ago, he’d seen someone who’d overcome his challenges it would have given him hope, he told the ABC affiliate. Watch the segment.
See Nick lead a friend on her first ride after an injury left her quadriplegic a year earlier:
Go Nick, and Go Riding!———–
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