Patty Harant recently celebrated her 55th birthday surrounded by family and friends. If you’d asked her what one thing might have been missing from the celebration, she’d most likely tell you, Pumpkin Pie. For Patty wouldn’t be the traditional sweet dessert, but her horse, who, as her sister, Cathy Matthews, and CI Team Leader, Peggy Salley will attest, has changed her life. Every Friday, for the past three years, Patty has been attending therapeutic horseback riding lessons at the Thorncroft in Malvern, PA, and the experience has completely changed her outlook on life.
Patty, who uses a wheelchair, was born with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities, and up until she began going to Thorncroft, had also suffered from depression.
“Patty is definitely a happier person,” says Cathy. “She looks so forward to horseback riding on Fridays. It’s become her life.”
Not only has it changed her outlook, but given her physical condition, it amazes everyone what she can do on a horse. Besides riding every week, Patty also annually competes in the Handicapped Riders Division of the Devon Horse Show organized through Thorncroft and has the ribbons to show for it. Team Leader, Peggy Salley, who oversees the CI home where Patty has lived since 2005, says that horseback riding has been Patty’s lifetime dream come true.