University of Alabama
Connecting to Community
Explain an experience in which you helped others?
Jessie trotted, dust plumes lifting around his hooves. I gripped the saddle’s hold bar, securing Jaidyn to the saddle with my forearm and keeping her feet in the stirrups. She flailed her arms, hurling the plastic red cup from her hand. It landed in the dirt--back to square one. I pressed the cup into her palms again. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four. She could clutch the cup for approximately five seconds before flinging it to the ground. In our first lessons she had dropped the cup after a second or two.
I began working at the Shea Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center as part of National Charity League when I was thirteen. I’d learned that, as a volunteer, I’d have the opportunity to work with disabled riders during their hippotherapy sessions on the horses. Initially, I was concerned when I met Jaidyn. She was five years old with Rhett syndrome: strapped into a toddler stroller, attempting to pull her hands to her mouth, and mumbling nonsensical syllables. She would come to the barn outfitted in a pink riding helmet with a rhinestone sticker crown on the front, pink flower arm braces, and pink jeans and shirts. She was unable to recognize me. She was unable to walk on her own. She was unable to...
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