When Perfect Chance (P.C.) won the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
International Equine of the Year Award in 1992, he had been a Hippotherapy
horse for almost five years. He originally came to Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, needing his own therapy as he had been "forgotten" in a divorce settlement and was left standing in a tie stall in knee-deep manure. Consequently, he developed a severe case of thrush and the vet was not very optimistic about his recovery. After a brief period of lameness, P.C. was rehabilitated and went on to work successfully and he quickly became a favorite therapy horse, helping children and adults with physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, psychosocial disorders and sensory impairments.
As a member of the Fieldstone Farm therapy team for 10 years, P.C. worked with hundreds of children and adults with disabilities. He participated in riding lessons, Hippotherapy
lessons, ground lessons, trail riding, volunteer lessons, summer camp activities, parades, Special Olympics
and horse shows.
P.C. loved the students and showed it. He would drop his head to let a young child in a wheelchair pet his face. He was quiet and consistent in lessons. Loud noises and sudden movements never bothered him.
It takes a special horse to be an outstanding Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
horse: patience, work ethic, tolerance, attitude and soundness. He had so many qualities beyond that of a typical horse. He taught frightened children to sit up tall, helped unbalanced riders find their center of balance, and had just the right trot to keep riders with autism engaged "“ not talents you can train into a horse.
"When you find a great horse, you keep him." said Lynnette Stuart. Stuart first met P.C. in 1992 when she was the Head Instructor at Fieldstone Farm. "In the lessons I taught, I chose P.C. to work with almost every school group because I knew that I could always count on his consistency.
Stuart recalled one of her many memories of an adult rider who was very physically involved and used a wheelchair. Mounting this student onto P.C. took a lot of time, effort and patience. "P.C. would stand perfectly still as we transferred and adjusted this rider until we got him centered and were able to get his spastic lower extremities to relax enough to walk away from the mounting ramp. P.C. was happy to participate in any lesson activity "“ rings on his ears, clothespins on his mane or stickers on his rump "“ nothing bothered him. He was always patient and accepting. He was an exceptional therapy horse."
In 1997, when Fieldstone Farm opened itsr new facility, P.C. was given the "ribbon cutting" honors by biting through a line of carrots at the Grand Opening Ceremony.
Stuart recalled another special situation from P.C.'s later years. One of the volunteers had been in a horse riding accident in which she was severely injured and became a paraplegic. After her accident, she was not able to ride and was deeply saddened by her lack of involvement with horses. This volunteer had a bond with P.C. and visiting him and spending time with him was one of the things that helped her to reconnect to the world after her loss.
Because of what had happened to him prior to his arrival at Fieldstone Farm, P.C. could have been a withdrawn horse who didn't trust people. However, he found his home at Fieldstone Farm and continued to give from his heart until the day that he passed away .