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Horses are Heavenly for Rider with Cerebral Palsy

Hi, I’m Katelyn Dawson,

I am a horse girl and also an equestrian rider. I have both a visual and hearing impairment and also have cerebral palsy. I wanted to start riding with Ride On St. Louis in 2005 mostly because I love horses. I went through two surgeries, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) and Percs, which helped with the tightness in my legs and feet. At first, before I had the surgeries, my legs and feet were tight; It made riding difficult. The most challenging thing was trying to stretch my heels down, but after I had the surgeries my legs and feet aren’t as tight anymore. Riding before I had the surgeries helped stretch my muscles, but riding after I had the surgeries now strengthens my muscles. I am happy that I don’t have the tightness now and that these surgeries changed my life forever, but I still stretch to prevent stiff muscles. Riding makes me feel wonderful and happy— being around horses makes me feel like I’m in Heaven.

I have been riding for 12 years now. Through the years I rode many different horses at Ride On St. Louis. I don’t really have a favorite one, I loved them all. Charity was the first horse I rode when I was young, but I love working with Lucy now. My dream is to have a horse of my own, and board it at Ride On St. Louis. I always wanted one ever since I was a little girl. I want to take care and spend time with my horse one day, ride for fun, travel and go on trail rides in different places like the beach, forest, or the mountains. I want to ride with friends, make a ton of memories with my horse, and maybe enter competitions. (I’ve never rode a horse competitively; but once I get better with my riding lessons I would like to try!) I will NEVER stop riding and caring for the horses. Horses are my whole life. Horses are the best and the most beautiful creatures in the world; I will never outgrow the “I love horses” phase.


Please consider joining the Crusader's Circle, a monthly giving club at Ride On St. Louis, dedicated to making quality of life improvements to people like Katelyn. Every penny of your monthly gift of $20 or more, will help change a life each and every month.

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