Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Smell

Like horses.  Big horses, small horses, and sweat.  (I smell pretty good, actually, even with sweat! - haha)

BAKAS Equestrian Center for handicapped individuals caters to self-esteem and fun for everyone, even the volunteers.  The event was part of the United Way day of the company I work for.  We could choose events, sign up, show up, and pitch in.

I'm not sure I liked being there.  My morning involved horses, and walking them, and helping kids and young adults with various disabilities.  I think when they asked for volunteers to help on the first horse, I spasmed and my arm shot up.  Too slow to pull it back down, I *had* to walk with the horse, and a young person named Bobby.

Bobby has Trisomy-21 or some other such chromosomal mutation.  Riding for 21 years, the love of the horse made his smile very broad, his cheerful swinging of his arms, and the eventual kiss on the horse's nose, all I needed to see the sheer happiness.

Dust in the eye, so to speak.

Next up, raking mulch around the bushes of the barn (no snakes!!! whoo hoo!!!).

Then back to riders.  Next up was Sam.  Sam was non-verbal.  Pointing, laughing, looking and trying to smile; but no words.  Until, the horse - well mannered Maybe - swished her tail, and I nickered to her (I hate horses, you know; smelly things they are; cannot imagine where my fine Ariat boots came from, or that tack in my garage).  But Sam was happy, and then Sam got tired.  Like Bobby, a kiss on the nose, and a pat on the neck of the mare.

Dust in the eyes, so to speak.

At the end, was a small wisp of a person named Batman.  Obviously at this point, you should know gender and names may, or may not, have been changed.  Batman made me look away.  Not because of his disability, but because of his ability!

Autism is my guess.  High functioning but autistic.  Cherubic, kind, piercing blue eyes.  

"Walk on," Batman said.  And the horse with a nicker started her slow pace.

"Halt" Batman uttered, and Maybe stopped.  We counted balls (part of the game the people play on the horses), Batman threw his dice which told him how many balls and rings to pick up.

Counting.  One, two, three... eventually, 20 from the last person holding the game toys.

"Batman," I asked, "What do we say?"  I meant to the horse, but little Batman, at age 4 or 5, having the most piercing blue eyes, and the kindest soul said,

"Thank you."

Dust in the eyes.

Perfect day for this horsewoman.  In a barn, with the horses, and youngsters who just want to be loved with parents who just want to understand.

Cannot wait to go back!!

Just in case you want to sponsor a hole at the annual golf tournament.

And just in case you really wondered if I liked being there today, I LOVED it.  Not sure I ever stopped smiling and truly, if I could have stayed even longer and groomed the horses, or helped with the afternoon, I would have.

Sheer joy!

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