In the summer of 1995 , I volunteered at High Hopes during the Special Olympics World Games . In between mucking stalls and cleaning buckets , I got to watch some of the competitors in their events . Their hard work , dedication to the sport , and their pride in their accomplishments moved me . I may have only spent a week at High Hopes , but the memories from the event lasted so much longer .
Fast forward to 2010 , when I gave birth to my first son . We were told shortly after birth that he would have a life full of therapies , challenges , and uncertainty . I spent every free moment I had researching therapies , research trials , specialized activities , and resources that we could utilize to give our son the best opportunities possible . And I knew without a doubt , from volunteering at High Hopes that summer , that High Hopes would be part of the plan .
We started off slowly by having him attend a week at High Hopes summer camp . He , of course , loved everything about it and was hooked on horses . Unfortunately , we had to wait for a spot to open up for lessons , as they were already full for the academic semester . But every month , he would ask me “ When am I going to ride again ?” I was so excited when we finally got that call that a spot had opened up . When I told Patrick , his face lit up and he said , “ When do I start ?”
High Hopes has been our sunshine through the clouds . Riding gives Patrick “ sturdy legs ” to walk with . He is able to feel like an equal to more able-bodied kids his age . It is for sure a confidence builder , but it ’ s also helping physically . His core strength and balance has been so much better since he ’ s been back riding full-time . Recently he ’ s started to advance a bit more , and he ’ s been able to hold the reins and work on trotting . He believes he can hold his own with other “ Wild West cowboys .” After all , it is High Hopes !