Prancing Horse Honors Tracy Land
Tracy Land was honored as 2007 Volunteer of the Year at the Prancing Horse Center for Therapeutic Riding annual meeting on Feb. 12.
The Volunteer of the Year award is "presented to an individual whose compassion, kindness and dedication make the world a better place," according to Ronnie Meltzer, volunteer executive director of Prancing Horse. The award was established in 2000 in honor of Edward Ullmann, a long-time volunteer at the center.
Land, a resident of Southern Pines, has been a volunteer at Prancing Horse since 2004. Land, who has a background in working with special needs children, says, "I feel like I should be paying them (Prancing Horse) for the opportunity to go out and play with kids and horses."
Jessica Long, program director for Prancing Horse, told the story of a young rider who was less than thrilled with the prospect of learning horsemanship.
"For five weeks, we tried to convince the little boy to put his helmet on and ride a horse," she said. "Finally, a week before the final horse show of the session, I called Tracy in to spend some one-on-one time with the child and hopefully get him on the horse.
"I took off with the first class of riders while Tracy spent time with the child. Halfway through the second group of riders, I was surprised to see Tracy and her ward marching and waving with helmets on their heads.
"The following week, when the little boy's father came to watch his son participate in the school horse show, the boy waved at his father while trotting on horseback for the first time."
Lang confirmed the story and indicated it was those kinds of reactions that made volunteering at Prancing Horse a fulfilling experience.
"The story of the little boy who worked so hard to get on a horse and then laughed and waved to his father the day of the horse show is a moment many people don't get to experience," said Tracy Lang. "The boy's father was crying, we were crying. It was a huge moment. Everybody should consider coming out and volunteering at Prancing Horse. They will get much more back than they ever give."
Prancing Horse offers mounted therapy to mentally and physically handicapped children and adults.
For more information, call (910) 245-3220 or go to www.PrancingHorseCenter.org
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