By the time Lily was 5, she’d had 5 ear surgeries. Being so young and going through so much was really hard on her and us emotionally. She started to have severe anxiety, which developed into some negative behaviors. As her parents, Brad and I tried everything to help her to stop what she was doing and to let go of her fears but after a while we were out of ideas and patience and really needed help. We started counseling, testing, and medication and all of it that helped. After a few years of counseling, Lily’s therapist said, “You really need to find a way to get this kid on a horse. It would be so good for her.  It would help her to relax.” So, I started looking for a place she could learn to ride. I did find a place that offered lessons and I called and they said they’d get back to me but they never did. I tried the only other option I could find and received the same results. I didn’t really know what else to do so I gave up on the idea. One Saturday a friend texted that I needed to get to Rocknak’s Hardware because there was someone doing horse and buggy rides in the parking lot! When we got there and into the buggy, I mentioned to Larry that I had been looking for a place for my daughter to ride because of her anxiety. He smiled and said to fill out the forms after our ride. When we left I commented to Brad that I wasn’t going to get my hopes up because we’d been down this path a few times before and it hadn’t worked out. However, I was surprised when just a few hours later Larry called me and we set up an appointment for Lily! I remember our first day very clearly. We parked and walked to the place where all the volunteers were gathered; Lily and I were both feeling a little bit nervous. The volunteers met us with smiles got Lily a helmet and a horse and we were off! We had a nice time riding and visiting with the volunteers and Lily left with a sucker in her mouth and a smile on her face. But the part about that day that really blew me away was Lily’s calm. The car was so quiet as we buckled our seat belts. I looked in the mirror at my usual nonstop chatterbox and said, “Lily, are you ok back there?” and she just smiled and said, “Yes, I’m just thinking.” She was so relaxed and calm for the rest of the evening. Even Brad commented on her calm when he came home from work. I’d never seen her like that before. I didn’t understand the calming power of horses until that day. We went to Champ’s Heart week after week for a year. Lily’s negative behaviors decreased and some stopped altogether. After a while, she didn’t need counselling anymore. I’m not saying Lily doesn’t still struggle, especially when she doesn’t take her medication or we miss a week of horses. But, she is doing so much better in her life. I’m so grateful for Larry, the Champ’s Heart program, the volunteers and the amazing horses that have helped my struggling girl to have a relaxed and happy life. Champ’s Heart is truly making a difference in the lives of so many families. Thank you, Champ’s Heart for all you do, you have been a blessing in our lives!