Our Mission: Enriching the lives of people with disabilities and other under-served members of our community by providing outdoor recreation, open space access, education and therapy, through a working partnership with horses.
ACCESS ADVENTURE has been part of my Life since I first learned about it in March 2016. I began my activities the following month of April 2016 by becoming both a volunteer and also a participant. At that time, recovering from a severe and rare auto-immune disease, I was only able to walk haltingly with a wheeled walker. The first day I was helped onto a platform that was actually a battery-powered lift to bring disabled people, even those in complicated wheel chairs, to floor level of the big wagon. From there they could be pushed forward into place and secured so that they couldn't roll. Depending on the size of the wheel chairs, as many as six could be accommodated. I used my walker on the lift and to get to a seat at the front; then the walker was taken off the wagon. There are regular seats along the sides of the wagon that can easily be lifted out for the wheelchairs, or left in place for non-handicapped people.
On my very first day and first wagon ride I was suddenly handed the reins and told to drive the horses. At first I was terrified, but terror quickly became excitement and exhilaration! I fell in love with a new sport and a new aspect of enjoying time with horses that were much larger than the Arabian horses I used to raise and to ride! The staff of volunteers was thoroughly and aptly trained and experienced to support handicapped people, so I felt very safe and well cared for.
In fact, I felt so confident that they would take care of me if I needed extra help that I embarked that summer on three far away camping trips way up at the northern edge of California.These locations were near Orrick, Chester (Yellow Creek Campground) and Crescent City. 2016 was the 100 years anniversary of the National Park System, and there were a lot of festivities. I drove myself to these in my wonderful older Volvo named "Angel". I had to rely on my walker to get around at the actual campgrounds and I mostly slept in my car. It was kind of hard going at times, but I loved giving so many people rides at these festivals up in Northern California and helping with paper work, too. Being outdoors in beautiful places, being around the horses and being with such good people really helped boost my physical strength and my emotional resiliency. Seeing Michael do all the things he did in spite of being handicapped with MS was a huge inspiration.
Through the years since that Summer of 2016, I have continued taking horse driving lessons free from Michael Muir, an International Horse Driving Champion 2017 in the Handicapped Division. My children also paid for me to take lessons with Clay Maier at Sargent Equestrian Center near Lodi, California. There I drove a variety of breeds of horses. That was very exciting!
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