As one of our organization’s original horses, Tilly has proven herself to be one of the most reliable and steadfast members of our herd over the past 13 years. In the beginning we borrowed Tilly, until we were fortunate enough to have her donated to us when we became a 501(c)3 in 2007. Since she came to us, she has shown nothing but patience, understanding and trusting towards our clients, volunteers and staff.
As a therapy horse, Tilly’s riders are often anxious, insecure or unbalanced. I have watched countless times as she stands rock solid during even the most precarious mounts, often surrounded by an entire team of staff and volunteers. She never flinches as the tiniest riders cry loudly for fear of being on a horse for the first time. She ensures the safety of the biggest, most unbalanced riders as they feel the freedom of sitting in the saddle. Likewise, she also safely carries around our independent riders, helping them gain confidence by trotting off lead for the first time or learning to steer through an obstacle course. She is intuitive and always thinking. She often teaches valuable lessons to our volunteers who are learning basic horsemanship or our clients who are participating in un-mounted teambuilding exercises.
One of the most profound moments that stands out to me when I reflect upon my time with Tilly, is during a session when our team was working with a group from Maryland School for the Blind. Tilly stood quietly in the mounting ramp for forty minutes, while her rider who could not see, reluctantly reached for her but did not want to get on. She would get on for a few seconds and then jump off, holding on to Tilly and her side walkers for dear life. It took a few weeks of this unwavering patience for that same rider to mount and willingly give the command to “walk-on.” Tilly never took a wrong step and this particular rider did not stop smiling once she gained the confidence to sit in the saddle. It was an afternoon of happy tears and high-fives. This moment is actually captured in the picture I have included with this nomination.
Tilly is one of those once-in-a-lifetime horses and is so valuable to our organization in many ways. We want to be sure to keep her healthy and happy for many years to come and being awarded products from Platinum Performance along with the Horse Welfare Award would help our small non-profit ensure that her care could continue. I am so grateful for the opportunity to nominate this special horse and I thank you for your consideration.Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I have had the pleasure of working with Tilly for the past year. I am an instructor and the program manager at Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding. -- Megan L Ferry