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Two loves, one job

Horseback riding therapy allows Sally Brandom to combine two passions: horses and teaching
Sunday, November 26, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:04 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mac, a 31-year-old gelding, nudges Sally Brandom’s head with his own as she slips a bridle on him. Brandom leads him to the riding arena at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center.

At complete ease on a horse, Brandom doesn’t bother to saddle Mac for her training session. A barn manager at the riding center, she is working with him to make him more flexible going around turns. Mac has been specially trained to work with people who have cognitive or physical disabilities.

“It’s hard because I can’t use my legs,” Brandom says.

One of Mac’s riders is a woman paralyzed from the waist down, so when Brandom works with him, she simulates paralysis.

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Sally Brandom, a barn manager at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center, prepares Mac, a 31-year-old gelding, for a training session.

Working at the riding center combines Brandom’s love of riding with her career path. She is attending William Woods University, taking classes in the special education program.

“Coming out here and working with the horses and kids with disabilities gives me a lot of exposure to two things I really like to do,” Brandom says, adding that she likes making a difference in the riders’ lives.

Brandom finishes her training session and leads Mac back to the barn, enjoying the outdoors and last vestiges of fall. She is gentle and affectionate with him as she brushes him down.

Alleta Kyd, 22, another barn manager at the riding center, describes Brandom as a hard worker who really understands the horses and how to take care of them.

“She knows what she’s doing,” Kyd says.

Though Brandom’s parents never rode, she feels it’s something she needs to do.

“I’ve always just loved riding,” Brandom says.

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Without using her legs, Sally Brandom tries to improve the way Mac turns around a barrel. Mac is trained to be ridden by people with disabilities.


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