On a very muggy day last September I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours shooting for The Equest Center in Rockford. EC is a therapeutic riding center.
But you won't find therapists in white lab coats...gentle horses and ponies are the therapists here, thank you very much. The patients are children; great kids with any number of severe physical and mental challenges. To say I was moved wouldn't begin to describe what I saw there.
The horses are magical. They seem to know they carry especially fragile cargo as well as the weight of dreams on their shoulders...dreams of escaping gravity for a while. I watched kids who were contorted, twisted and confined to their wheelchairs begin to grow wings once placed up in the saddle.
A few other kids appeared locked inside their own mental world; seemingly not connecting with humans. But they would begin to smile, laugh or shriek with joy as they rode their horse.
I haven't shaken the experience yet. It's been 7 months since I visited The Equest Center and I still feel inspired, grateful and heartbroken every time I see these photos.
Consider a small donation...they go through a lot of hay.