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“Being raised with horses, I grew to understand their love and behavior. Most of all, I learned what a horse can bring to a child’s small world.”

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Lynn and a young Dustin

My name is Lynn. I grew up with horses all of my life, but did not have the experience of owning my own horse from a young age.

Rather, I went to my grandparents house in Michigan as much as possible to learn about horses through grooming and caring for their racing Standarbreds. I loved going to the track and watching my grandpa race every summer. We would take at least four horses and travel to Travers City and Ludington for two weeks. I learned a lot about life and patience when it came to controlling twelve hundred pound animals.

When I was about ten years old, I convinced my mom to let me take English riding lessons. I took lessons for about two years, and attended a few local shows. Of course, as the story goes, I was paired with the most beautiful Palomino mare that had the biggest attitude problem of all the horses in the barn. I guess I have always had an eye for aggressive horses because I was the only child allowed to walk into her stall by myself. Sandy would charge the door of her stall when people walked by, and turn to kick when the door was opened. She had an interesting personality! If you were able to get her out of the stall, she was amazing. She gave you 110 percent every time you asked her.

Fast forward to the years beyond high school; I was twenty years old and had just discovered I was pregnant. I did not know Dustin had Down Syndrome until he was born; all of the tests performed were negative for abnormalities. The doctors recommended that, because of my age, I should give up my son for adoption. I did a lot of crying, being angry, and wondering “why,” as I suspect a lot of new mothers do when they learn that their child has special needs, but there was no way I would give up my son.

Dustin has fought through many challenges in his short life. He stopped breathing at home, had open heart surgery, medication to keep his heart pumping, multiple ear tubes, RSV, phenomena and bronchitis every year, and genetic counseling. He has been my greatest teacher. He is an amazing little boy who faces every thing in life with a smile. He knows exactly what he needs to do at the doctors office, and never cries about shots. We as a society could learn a lot from these kids.

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Lynn with Indie

In 2007, I was working in a nice comfy cubicle making good money, and was working towards a Masters Degree in Human Resource Development. I was happy with the money, but working so much that I never saw my son. I lost jobs in the past due to my son getting sick so often, and  now I saw it happening again. In the winter of 2007, my son became very ill. I rushed him to the emergency room with a 104.7 degree temperature. He had pneumonia. He was in an oxygen tent, and on an air tube for a full week. My nice comfy cubicle job told me, more or less, to choose between my son or my career.

Guess which one I chose.

I decided to quit my full time desk job to be with my son, and to work on my dream of running a Therapeutic Riding Center. Now I have two sons, and the program has expanded so much! I am a big believer in changing your path if you are not happy with your life, and the fact that you are never to old to be happy.