MANE Creates Unforgettable Experiences

“As Jeremy’s father/mother, I can tell you that “ordinary” means something very different to a parent, who has a child with Asperger’s syndrome. A ‘normal’ day for Jeremy is when he gets to ride at MANE, an experience made possible only because someone along the way donated a rider scholarship. Normal people can create friendships online or just strike up a conversation. For Jeremy it is not that simple. Since Jeremy began riding at MANE, he has enjoyed a ‘normal life’ on Wednesdays. The only real friends Jeremy has are his parents, but at MANE, he gets to connect with horses, who don’t care about his less-than-perfect social skills, and caring people, who help him improve his social skills during equine-related activities. At MANE, Jeremy uses (and improves) his motor skills by combing, prepping, and saddling his horse, as well as participating in various group exercises on horseback. Jeremy is able to speak freely and face to face with Abby, Candy, Dennis, and Chandalyn. He is able to show his appreciation for his instructors and assistance at MANE and likes to bring them flower, bananas, and zebra cakes. Giving these gifts helps him practice making eye contact. I hope Jeremy can continue to ride at MANE so he can continue to have that happy, very important interval of normality in his life, while improving his abilities.”

– Jeremy’s parents, supporters


“I was brought into the MANE family by way of the Wounded Warrior Project. From day one the instructors at MANE made me feel comfortable and excited about the 10-week adventure I was about to begin. The instructors understand the horses and how to maximize the riders’ experience. The horses are fantastic and they are very loving. MANE has helped me in overcoming depression by looking forward to my lessons every week and I also believe it has helped with PTSD symptoms. I am very thankful for the chance to be a part of this wonderful organization.”

– Dawn, rider

“Ever since I joined Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrian (MANE) in the fall of 2013. I have seen nothing but positive results. This organization, which is one of the best kept secrets in the River Region, has helped me in my rehabilitation from an unusual brain condition, causing issues with my balance, speech, and motor skills. Through therapeutic horseback riding, I have been able to engage muscles that many traditional therapeutic methods do not address. Not to mention, the friendliest staff and volunteers and becoming one with the horse and forming a kinship with the animal. I highly recommend their services to anyone who might be searching for a lesser-known, but effective approach to rehabilitation.”

– Chad, rider

“MANE is my happy place! I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to become a part of the MANE family. I have had some great experiences out there and it’s truly what they say, working with horses is a true healing power. Not only do I have a great time working with the horses, the staff is amazing as well. It is such an inviting and encouraging environment – I couldn’t ask for more. The skills and confidence I have gained will stay with me forever. I have made great friends of horses and people alike.”

– Kristina, volunteer

“At age 13, my life was filled with action. I was a skateboarding, round-off back flipping, dirt biking, dare-devil swim diver. If it was fun, and maybe a little dangerous, I loved it!! But on September 29, 2008, my life was dramatically changed. I had gone through a series of blood tests to try to determine the reason that at age 13, I was the size of an 8-year-old. I was human growth hormone deficient, and was sent for an MRI of my pituitary gland to see if it appeared to be functioning properly. When they injected the IV contrast into my veins, I had an anaphylactic allergic reaction to it. I went into full arrest, respiratory and cardiac, and went without a heartbeat or breath for in excess of 40 minutes. Emergency health care workers tried to revive me but all of their attempts failed, and they stopped working on me. I lay there on the stretcher lifeless. My mom and other family member were still praying, and after a few moments, miraculously, my heart began to beat again.

Because I went without oxygen for so long, I suffered a brain injury. I was in a coma for 12 days, and when I woke up, I was unable to speak or move any muscles. The doctors thought that I wouldn’t even know that I was in the world and didn’t expect me to ever be able to move my arms or legs. I couldn’t even blink when I wanted to. I was in the hospital until December 23, 2008.

In the spring of 2009, my mom received a call from MANE to tell her that someone had blessed me, by paying for the spring riding sessions for me. I had never heard of MANE, but when I found out about it, I was so excited.

The first horse that I rode after my injury was a mare named Doc. I was so weak that the sidewalkers had to completely support me to hold me on. I couldn’t even hold up my trunk. This was such a great day for me. I had been confined to a wheelchair or a bed, and although I was doing therapy, this was different! I was on a horse! It felt great to be outside and having fun.

I have been blessed to be able to continue to ride at MANE, and since I began, I have improved physically to the point that my sidewalkers do not have to hold me when the horse is walking. I have even been able to trot.

I love MANE! It is the highlight of my week. It has helped me to get better, but has also brought back fun and excitement to my life. I hope that it gets you moving and able to enjoy the excitement in your life.”

– Logan, rider