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Jordan arrived at the ranch for his first session. He and his dad were early and their excitement was evident.
Hellos and welcomes were exchanged. I introduced myself and threw out the basic information needed to get Jordan started. Jordan translated my words into American Sign Language for his dad and after we confirmed Jordan’s pick up time, his dad headed off to run some errands and the rest of us dug into our chore for the day.
Today’s chore was to pull out the garbage in the piles of used sand that would be needed for our riding pen.
Jordan asked his mentor, Cassy, question after question not needing or waiting for any answers. “Why do we need to clean this sand? How did it get so dirty? Ouch! What is this? Why do we have to do a chore? I’m nervous. What do the horses eat? I bet they eat wheat. Am I going to ride a horse today? I’m nervous. Do you know what time it is? What is this? Does my voice sound low?”
Jordan felt more comfortable and perhaps safer when his feet were moving and when his words were flowing. It was obvious that he was excited and a little nervous - and not just because he had said so more than once.
After the chore was done and Jordan was fitted with his riding helmet, we took him to meet Hero.
Hero is our amazing Arab who in the fall of 2012 was desperately in need of finding a new family.
Before Hero became ours, he belonged to the Preison’s, a loving military family. After an unfortunate event that left Shawn medically unable to continue his service to our country, the Preison family had to move. However, their new Florida home wasn’t suited for a horse.
After putting their horse up for sale and still not getting any offers, the Preison family reached out to our ranch. In September of 2012, we welcomed their horse into our lives with open arms.
Hero was already in the riding pen waiting for Jordan, and as Jordan approached the gate, Hero threw his head up and whinnied hello.
“Is this my horse?” Jordan asked. “Do I get to ride him?” His voice was softer and his words came out slower. You could see that he was already affected by the beauty and strength that Hero possessed.
“Jordan, this is Hero. This is the horse that you get to care for. And yes, you will be able to ride him today, if you want to.” Cassy smiled and watched Jordan lower his head and approach Hero with the respect due a king.
“Hello Hero, I think I might ride you today,” said Jordan. Hero stood still as Jordan looked up into his eyes and reached up to feel his soft face. Jordan leaned forward and gave his new friend a kiss on the nose.
Cassy and I told Jordan Hero’s story- how he came to be at the ranch and how often times Hero was insecure. Being the smallest gelding, Hero was last to get food and last to drink from the water tank. The other horses never hurt Hero, but they made it known that he would always come in last.
Jordan’s eyes met mine and with a big smile he said, “Hero and I are so much alike, we’re like horse brothers.”