New Beginnings

Our son, Paul, has been riding weekly at Thorncroft for over 20 years, since he was four. He was born with cerebral palsy and normally gets around in a wheelchair. But for thirty minutes each week he gets to ride around on a big, gentle horse. Usually it’s Sadie, but over the years it’s also been Liebling, Dillon, Joker, Daffodil, Arthur, Hank, Angel, Penny, Milkshake, Osage, Neal, Farnley, Buffalo Bill, and Nugget, to name just a few.

When Paul first started to ride, he was tense and tight and scared. He needed to have an adult sit on the horse with him. Just getting him to stay on for a while was a big deal. But over time he has come to love to ride.

For years it has been one of his favorite things to do each week. As Paul has grown in age, he has also grown in ability. He has progressed from just staying on, to riding alone and reaching, balancing and stretching. Now he’s even directing the horse on his own.

He and Mr. Dixon and the others who work with him talk together about what he’s ready to try next. There’s always some new challenge. Some weeks Paul is stiffer, some weeks he’s more relaxed. Some weeks he’s kind of tired, some weeks he’s happy and excited. But Paul comes each week. And each week someone is there to work with him, and a horse is ready for him to ride.

Each week is a new beginning, a new chance to see what he can do out of that wheelchair and on that horse…

- Phyllis and Vic DiFelice