Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Leslie Ann & Ace
After a serious riding accident at age 12, doctors were skeptical that Leslie Ann McGowan would ever walk normally again, much less ride. She shares her remarkable story.
From Leslie Ann:
When I was 12, I was thrown from a horse and broke my hip. It took two surgeries and months of being in a wheelchair and on crutches to recover. At the time of my accident the doctors said I may never walk normally again, let alone ride.
A month or two after my fall, my parents bought a mare in foal. The foal was due in June, which was long before I was supposed to be off of my crutches, but I wanted so badly to be able to work with the baby that I was determined to get better by then. My parents would bring me out to the barn and I would spend hours brushing the mare, first in my wheelchair and then on my crutches. She was such a great horse to let me sit next to her in the wheelchair and to hobble around her on crutches. I went out to take care of her as much as I could, even though it was physically difficult for me, but I knew she needed me to take care of her. She was such a sweet mare, and just being able to touch her and smell her made me feel better and I knew I was lucky to have such a patient horse.
After months of physical therapy, many doctor appointments and doing everything the doctors told me to do, I was walking again by time the baby was born. I had always wanted to train my own horse from the time it was a foal, and I proved the doctors wrong and was able to do all of his training.
Nine years later, I am riding again and am 100% healthy. The foal has grown up to be my best friend, and he has helped me to overcome many obstacles. He has taught me patience, compassion, responsibility, determination along with many other things and has helped me to become a better person, rider and trainer. He and his mother helped me to overcome a tremendous physical and emotional obstacle, and they both gave me the confidence to become the rider and trainer that I am now.
My horse and I have successfully competed up through Prix St. Georges and finished 6th at the regional championships this past fall. I wasn’t sure if I would ever ride again, but thanks to my horse and his patience and love, I am riding again as well as teaching others to ride and love horses as much as I do!
Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!
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