Bob: Hello everyone, and welcome to today's special interview with Max, a remarkable therapy horse in our herd. Max, it's great to have you here.
Max: Thank you, Bob! I'm excited to share my story with everyone.
Bob: So, Max, let's start from the beginning. Can you tell us about your past as a competitive reining horse?
Max: Absolutely, Bob. I had a successful career as a reining show horse, competing in Western competitions showcasing my agility, responsiveness, and precision. Reining is a western riding competition where horses perform a set pattern that includes spins, circles, stops, and sliding stops. I loved the thrill of it all. Here’s a fun fact about me - I am a registered American Quarter Horse and my real name is Legendary Slider! Max is my nickname.
Bob: That sounds incredible. Unfortunately, your career was cut short due to an injury, right?
Max: Yes, it was a tough time for me. I sustained an injury that prevented me from continuing in the show ring. However, that turned out to be a turning point in my life.
Bob: Can you share how you transitioned from a show horse to becoming a therapy horse in the STEPS program?
Max: After my injury, my owners, realizing I had so much more to offer, decided to donate me to join STEPS with Horses so I could participate in STEPS’ counseling and therapeutic riding program to help individuals facing various challenges through the healing power of horses.
Bob: That's wonderful. How did you initially adjust to being a therapy horse and joining the herd?
Max: It was challenging at first. I was used to the spotlight of the show ring and had to learn how to get along with the other herd members. I wasn’t used to living in such close contact with other horses which made integrating into the herd tough. I struggled to understand my new role and the dynamics of being in a herd. To be honest, I wasn’t so nice to some of my other herd members.
Bob: How did you overcome those challenges?
Max: With time and support from my fellow herd members. I learned the importance of empathy, patience, and being attuned to the needs of those around me. Gradually, I grew into my role as a leader and now look out for everyone in the herd, both human and equine.
Bob: Recently, you participated in the Chisholm Challenge Horse Show as part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Can you tell us more about this event and share your experience?
Max: The Chisholm Challenge Horse Show is a unique event that takes place as part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It's specifically designed for riders with unique challenges or disabilities. Participants get the opportunity to showcase their equestrian skills and demonstrate meaningful connections with therapy horses like me. It's an inclusive and empowering event that highlights the abilities of riders overcoming challenges. Oh, it was an amazing experience! I felt immense pride when I carried the flag during the opening ceremonies. Being part of such a prestigious event was an honor. But the real highlight was seeing my riders succeed in their events and winning ribbons. It filled my heart with joy to know I played a part in their achievements.
Bob: That's truly heartwarming, Max. Your journey from a reining show horse to a therapy horse making a positive impact is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story with us today.
Max: Thank you, Bob, and thank you to everyone who supports the STEPS program. Together, we're making a difference one hoofbeat at a time.
Want to support Max and hear from him more often? Join Max’s Carrot Club!
Want to work with Max as a client? Fill out the Counseling Interest Form!
STEPS With Horses