Today’s November Giving Nomination is Strawberry of LeCheval Stable – submitted by Marya Pecukonis

Strawberry has been a part of the therapeutic and mental health counseling program at LeCheval Stable for the past decade. She was gifted to us from a dear neighbor and has been involved in many equestrian capacities. She’s been to 12 state level Special Olympic competitions in Maryland, several Lisbon Horse Parades, a few local shows and clinics with beginner riders, benefit show for a 4H family who lost a daughter to a tragic car accident, participated in individual and group counseling sessions with great impact, taught and given riders to individuals age 4-94, given demos, rides, and provided support to 4H, pony club, home schoolers, girl and boy scout groups, equine demo at Howard County Fair, just to name a few of the very special occasions she has offered her talents.

She has worked with typically developing children and adults, but most intriguing she adapts to all humans regardless if they happen to have autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome. She supports humans with trauma, anxiety, depression, or those managing challenging life transitions.

This horse has a significant and positive impact on the Maryland equestrian community for many reasons. Here are some of the riders and volunteer statements we have heard over the years.

From our Riders with and without disabilities or mental health challenges:

  • “ She’s the best horse I’ve ever seen”
  • “I can’t wait until Wednesday comes because Strawberry makes me feel happy and helps me stay calm and relaxed.”
  • “Did you see her wink and smile at me?”
  • “She even says “yes” with her head when I ask her a question.”
  • “She lets me ride her without a saddle and always makes me feel safe.”
  • “ I like to bring my book and read to her when she’s munching on hay in her stall.”
  • “Strawberry has taught me to ride and develop my skills to handle tougher horses.”

From our Therapeutic riding instructors and volunteers:

  • “Berry is the kind of horse well suited for this population. She’s versatile, kind, patient, smart and responsive.”
  • “We nominated “Berry” for PATH Intl. the last few years as best equine.”
  • “Strawberry was gifted to LeCheval Stable by a very kind human”
  • “It’s amazing to see this horse’s sense of insight with her riders. It’s like she knows what they are thinking and responds offering them a chance at success.”
  • “This horse helps to support the rider with low tone, stands with grace and tolerace at the mounting block to help the most physically disabled rider get balanced.”
  • “Strawberry can offer a brisk ride on the trail with her seasoned riders yet adapt to the most gentle spirit for those that need a little extra time and patience.”
  • “She’s proudly carried many athletes for Special Olympics for the past 10 years in competition including: Equitation, Trail, Barrels, and Musical Kur.

From our Parents and Families:

  • “I don’t know what we would do without this horse. She has provided years of support, weekly interaction, riding, and genuine love to our son with autism.”
  • “ All of the horses at LeCheval are wonderful and well trained. Strawberry, however, seems to the be barn favorite.
  • “My daughter suffers from chronic anxiety and school avoidance. This horse has given her great comfort, courage and confidence to carry on each week with her daily life and set goals for her future.
  • “It is amazing to watch the interaction of people and horses. Strawberry always seems like she knows what’s going on and makes such a difference in our family life. She is the reinforcement my child has needed for such a long time.”

Thank you for the opportunity to submit and nominate this very special mare. Whether she is selected or not as the winner, we will always cherish her presence and provide her with the very best life until she lives out her days at LeCheval Stable.