Perspective is a beautiful thing. I woke up Saturday thinking about the NFL draft and would the Carolina Panthers get it right and would I get it right with my prediction that they’d take an offensive lineman, and who would the Panthers take in the second round and, and, and…
And then I went to the Mitey Riders’ Spring Festival & Horse Show at the Misty Meadows farm. The farm has a Waxhaw mailing address but is not far from the Charlotte line. And the draft became less important.
If you want to be taken out of your little world, get on Providence Road and drive out here.
Marilyn and Harry Swimmer began the therapeutic riding program in 1993. They give 70 kids with special needs the opportunity to ride a horse every week. Those needs range from cerebral palsy to Down Syndrome to autism.
The Swimmers offer the farm. More than 125 volunteers help them run the program. The families of the kids don’t have to pay.
On Saturday, the Mitey Riders showed off. Family and friends came to watch, cameras snapping and video whirring as the kids mounted the horses. Each horse is led by a walker, with another walker on the side.
Yet it is the rider who is in control. To see the kids high on a horse named Joe or Jimmy or Otis is thrilling.
The horses and riders make their way to a ring. And one by one the horses break into a trot.
Joy Simon, who directs the program, begins to run and the horse follows. The riders hang on and the fans cheer. When the horse stops, the rider gets more applause and a trophy. The kids pump their fists, laugh, hold their trophies high or exchange a high-five with Harry Swimmer.
If you aren’t moved, you aren’t alive.
For more information, try www.miteyriders.com.
If you would like to contribute, send your donation to Mitey Riders, Inc., 455 Providence Rd. S., Waxhaw, N.C., 28173.