The Golden Heart  

//The Golden Heart  


By Betty Boyd

Joseph has a “golden heart”, according to his mom. He had to ride a horse, that he had never been on and was still able to go for the gold! His confidence was at such a level that he was able to win a gold medal in Showmanship at a recent Special Olympics 3-day equestrian event.

Joseph, a young adult, has Cerebral Palsy (CP), but this has not stopped him from living his life. Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder affecting the brain. It effects body movement and muscle coordination.

Joseph attends Paulding Enterprises 5 days a week. He concentrates on math skills, motor skills, exercise, and goes out into the community to include singing at a local nursing home.

Paulding Enterprises introduced Joseph to Beyond Limits. He has ridden horses in the Special Olympics and also took part in golf and swimming, winning gold medals in both! He has been with Beyond Limits for 4 years, and in the beginning, Joseph was intimidated by being on a horse. It took 3 people to help guide him while riding until he gradually gained the strength and confidence to ride independently.

Joseph’s progress has been extraordinary, thanks to his therapeutic riding instructor, Kristen Moreland. From the beginning, she has instilled confidence, hard work and determination. His motor skills and balance have improved along with self-assurance.

His favorite horse was JD, who has since been retired, and he now rides Faith. “Faith is gentle, not bouncy, trots well, is not lazy, and listens to me” Joseph relates.

Joseph has been thrown a couple of times while riding. His first horse, JD was spooked by another horse, started into a gallop, throwing him off. He was briefly shaken and got right back on and finished the ride. That is real determination!  There is an old phrase in horseback riding that says, “you aren’t a cowboy until you have been thrown three times.”

This family has always been close knit, and having Joseph attend Beyond Limits has made them even closer. In fact, other members of the family have been thrilled to come watch Joseph at different shows and could not believe what he is able to carry out.

Joseph is both a special young man and an inspiration. From grooming and bathing the horses to taking part in various shows, there is no doubt that whatever he puts his mind to, it will be accomplished. Joseph you are a true hero!