VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE PROLOG: Somehow, and probably NOT accidental, Triple H and our Therapy Horses attract very special people; special in their dedication…special in their heart…special in their persistence…and even special in their artistic talent. This month you will meet some of those very special people:
David Sharman and Hannah, His Daughter
David, and his 15 year-old daughter, Hannah, both giggle infectiously when asked how long they’ve been coming to Triple H. And the answer is, FOURTEEN YEARS! Fourteen of her fifteen years. And not just occasionally. Together, they estimate that even with breaks and vacations Hannah has ridden more than 30 times a year for a total of over 420 riding sessions, usually with David but sometimes with his wife JoAnn as Hannah’s sidewalker.
Hannah has Cerebral Palsy (CP), making smooth movement, standing and walking difficult. David, most usually as you may have seen, holds Hannah lovingly in front of him so she is upright.
David recounts the main benefit of equitherapy to Hannah has been the stretching and muscular benefits of games and riding and particularly games that Hanna plays that require stretching and coordination; bowling, ring-toss, etc.
Together, and lovingly, they both recall Hannah’s early memories of riding; he reminds her of how at one-and-a-half years of age, she had to have a large bolster in front of her to lay on and that she literally lay forward in the saddle in order to ride. Now she sits basically upright, unsupported (though always surrounded by side walkers). Early on, her feet had to be tied into the stirrups. Now she keeps her feet in the stirrups unaided. She giggled at the memory.
David asked Hannah of her favorite horse; she answers “Coors,” her current horse. She goes on to quickly rattle off the names of 10 or 12 Triple H horses. Soon David realizes she’s naming every horse at Triple H and she is, as she often does, pulling his leg. Big shared laugh ensues.
She has quick answers: Favorite time of year, when it’s cool (she’s especially temperature sensitive); verbal commands she gives, woah and walk on; her favorite things, going uphill and trotting…and the fact that the horses listen to her; they both mention how they like the new, clean paths that have been cut through the Hill Country land of Triple H.
Mom JoAnn, David behind, Texas Governor Greg Abbot and Hanna. A meeting during a Christmas reception. Acknowledging he and Hannah both are in wheel chairs, the governor stressed how a “team” helps and supports him and he is heartened to see the team effort that supports Hannah.