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'Patient, consistent, noble'
Therapy horse named the top in the nation
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010
PULLMAN - After helping his teenage owner recover from a severe accident, Striker became a WSU therapy horse. He recently was named the Horse of the Year by the national North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).
A 1983 quarter horse gelding, Striker was a successful youth show horse when his owner was in a serious car accident. Striker became her incentive to recover. Seven months after the accident, she rode him again.
“He was just an amazing horse,” she said. “He gave so much. He would just keep going, no matter what.”
In 2002, Striker joined the Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) program, part of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
As the the 2010 NARHA Region 9 Horse of the Year, he was a finalist for the national honor, which he recently won, as well.
“He is extremely patient and tolerant with our riders,” said one PATH instructor. "His unflappable attitude and consistent nature inspire confidence in riders.”
One rider who has gained confidence from Striker is Sam Solan, a teenager with autism, who has been riding Striker for several years.
“They say a child needs to have just one special individual in their life,” said Virginia, Sam’s mother. “If you have that one individual, your prognosis for success goes way up.
“Since the day when their eyes first met, Sam has been devoted to this beautiful, patient horse. Working with Striker has inspired him to focus on another’s feelings rather than his own.
"Striker has dedicated his life to connecting with children who desperately need connections. He is a fine example of the most noble of horses.”