Indiana Jones, “Indy,” is our flea-bitten grey rock. Born in 2000, Indy is a Connemara/Quarter Horse mix. In his prime, he was an event horse – dressage, jumper, and cross country. After a short retirement Indy joined Silver Lining Riding in 2016. Now in his fourth year as a therapy horse, Indy continues to help people overcome their challenges every day. His puppy-dog personality wins over the most reluctant of students. The more patience, tolerance, and willingness he shows, the more challenges are thrown his way. New volunteer; wheelchair-bound students with significant physical restrictions; students who scream and grab uncontrollably — “go get Indy.”
Volunteers, staff, and students alike get a kick out of his fun, impish personality. The court jester of the herd is frequently found guilty of stealing hats, knocking over props, zipping and unzipping jackets, and getting cheeky with his handlers. Despite his affinity for high jinks, he is a reliable partner when it comes to lesson time.
He gives our instructors the reassurance and security that he’ll take care of his student. Neither the largest in stature nor the youngest at over 20 years old, Indy routinely handles back-to-back lessons supporting some of the more pronounced physically and behaviorally challenged. And they can be tough lessons – a full crew of side walkers, students with minimal core strength or control, often sitting off-center because of hip or spine issues, and a lot of small circles to exercise and strengthen the student’s core muscles. When mounts and dismounts are a bit precarious, it is imperative that he stands perfectly still, steadfast. Simply put, that’s just what he is. When students run around excitedly, kick up their boots and yell or run up to him and wrap their arms around his legs before you can even say, “Wait!”, Indy remains calm and unwavering.
Contributing Author – Stephanie LaClair