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Meet Justin!

Justin has been riding at Hope Horses for many years now. Justin was diagnosed with visual impairment/blindness, cerebral palsy, and cognitive impairment when he was born. "When Justin first came to Hope Horses, he was very nervous about getting on the horse. His legs shook like crazy that first day! Now he gets right on," stated Justin's grandmother.

Justin's biggest needs are being around people that let him be what he can be and do what other 'normal' people do, like ride horses. Hope Horses has impacted Justin's everyday life in many different ways.

"He loves his instructor, Mariah! With her caring manner, Justin has learned to follow directions. If he does something well, he says, 'I have to go tell Mariah!'" - Justin's grandmother

Impact from the saddle!

Justin starts his lesson each week with a greeting from everyone in the barn. Justin, being visually impaired, gets a nice hello from everyone and he does a great job at recognizing each person by their voice. Miss Mariah guides Justin to each task he needs to complete so he can safely navigate the barn. In Justin's lesson he does all things horsemanship. When grooming Justin uses 3 different brushes to get Spots nice and clean. Miss Mariah has Justin alternate the hand he uses to groom with each brush. Justin is also brushing from Spots top-line down to the bottom of his barrel which requires him to use a full range of motion in his arms. Once spots is groomed, Justin tacks Spots with assistance. Lifting the saddle and other pieces of tack requires Justin to use his strength to get it on Spots' back. Justin is helped up a mounting ramp so Justin is able to mount his horse. Justin always has a horse handler and two side walkers assisting in his lesson. When Justin is riding he is constantly working on his core strength and balance. Being visually impaired, Justin has incredible balance. He has been working on walk/halt/walk transitions and maintaining balance in left and right turns which allows him to work on his core strength, arm and leg strength. Justin loves music so Ms. Mariah always incorporates activities with his favorite songs to practice the different riding skills. These activities help him become effective with his reins and his response time when he is prompted by instructor to ask his horse to stop. Justin has always given 100% in his lessons and is a joy to have at the barn!! - Mariah Miles- Justin's Instructor

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