What a time it has been for Taylor and his owner, Courtney Ferguson. Not only has Taylor, an 18-year-old Nevada mustang, competed and placed in dressage, but he's also passed the tough tests for becoming a certified therapy horse for Saddle Pals.
Taylor works with students with challenges such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome. He's patient, willing, and helps his students improve their coordination, communication skills and confidence. Students sometimes play basketball from his back. Inevitably the ball rolls down his legs and bounces. Taylor takes it in stride. Some students get excited, and fidget or shout. Again, Taylor stays calm, and simply gets on with his job. Just like the Saddle Pals instructors and volunteers, he knows his primary objective is to keep his students safe while they learn new skills on horseback. When he's not a Saddle Pals horse, Taylor and Courtney take dressage lessons.
They have competed, and placed. More importantly, they got positive, encouraging comments from the judge. According to Courtney, "He's willing to learn, and has a naturally generous nature. His favorite activity is trail riding; he's happy to spend the day exploring and enjoying new trails. Since I've gentled him and we've become a good team, I've met many other mustang owners and I've learned something even more remarkable about this big-hearted horse. What's truly incredible is the fact that, as special as Taylor is to me, he is NOT unusual. If anything, he is TYPICAL of mustangs.”
Taylor is a survivor, a quick learner, and a reliable friend. While Courtney has owned and competed horses most of her life, from quarter horses to Irish Thoroughbreds, she's the most proud of Taylor's sunny nature and his versatility.
Photo courtesy of Blue Fountain Photography