Virginia Beach, VA- EQUI-KIDS, a therapeutic riding program serving the special needs community, is happy to announce that their therapy horse Levi was named Region 3 Equine of the Year by The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl.). Region 3 includes Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Levi was selected based on referrals that riders, instructors and parents submitted on his behalf. Criteria for the award includes showing an excellent attitude for work in the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies, offering significant contributions to the therapeutic center and overcoming significant hardship in order to provide services.
Levi has certainly faced significant hardship. He was up for auction in a slaughterhouse when a concerned equestrian bid on him, ultimately saving him. His auction hip number was 501, inspiring the name Levi.
His temperament and even stride landed him his home at EQUI-KIDS. The therapeutic riding program has grown to become one of the largest accredited equine riding programs in the country benefiting the special needs community. Horses like Levi provide the participants with feelings of freedom and independence that may be limited in their everyday lives.
"Levi's personality is in tune with the needs of my disability. When I make a sudden movement, it doesn't affect him at all, yet he is excellent at following my voice commands," said Ivy Kennedy, an EQUI-KIDS participant. "His calmness helps make my muscles calm too, which makes for a soothing riding session."
An EQUI-KIDS parent says she has seen Levi "connect when others cannot. Transference of his kind soul to his riders is magical."
Levi will compete for the national title at the PATH, Intl. annual conference on November 5th through 7th in Cleveland, Ohio.