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Dear Saddle Up! friend,

I want to tell you about a “one-of-a-kind” child. 

He is the only person in recorded medical history to have his combination of three rare genetic disorders. He receives over 49 doses of medication a day. He has been in the hospital over 140 days in his eight years of life for 22 surgeries, and he meets these medical challenges as a child with autism. But there is much, much more to this child than his diagnoses. From the moment you meet him, you know he is someone very special. Looking into those bright blue eyes, you are mesmerized by his magnetic personality, engaging wit and intelligence, and ability to make a connection with everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Ephraim is that child.
I met Ephraim several years ago when he had been a Saddle Up! participant for a year. He was riding a small pony then and, as his skills improved, he was able to ‘graduate’ to a horse (which he was able to control exceedingly well from the first ride!). I am his volunteer ‘side walker’, but I mostly just stand by his side, giving him encouragement, and letting him do most of the exercises on his own! 
Ephraim is learning something every time he gets on his horse and improving many skills; physical, mental, emotional and social. While he is having fun, he is gaining control and confidence and greatly improving his physical strength and mobility. Ephraim does not see his time on the horse as therapy, although the benefits are critical to his health. He loves his sessions and becomes more and more confident with each one. Ephraim is shining in “his sport” and, yes, excelling it in! His mom shares:
“I was amazed watching Ephraim during his first couple of weeks at Saddle Up!. He would come out of lessons just exuberant! Within just a couple of weeks, his instructor was gushing to me about how quick he was to pick up on the things she was teaching and how naturally this came to him. I said to her, in amazement, 'Nobody has ever said that my kid was a fast learner. That's not how this goes.' She replied, 'this is going to be his thing'.  And that feeling of 'finding his thing' was such a good one because he has struggled with all of those things that are delayed compared to typical children his age. It has been so exciting to watch his confidence unfold. 'Mom, I'm good at this. I can do this. This is easy for me.' That is just a huge blessing. This must be what typical parents feel at a T-ball game, watching your child hit a home run!!” 

Watch more of Ephraim's story below:

This grateful volunteer can personally attest to the fact that our Ephraim “hits it out of the park” every time! Each of our riders are “one of a kind” and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of dreams fulfilled and goals exceeded here at Saddle Up! Your gift to our Annual Fund Campaign is the momentum behind our mission. We set a goal for this year of returning to pre-COVID levels of programming for the fall session and, as that session begins, we are meeting that goal!
It is critical that our fundraising efforts keep pace as our program returns to full capacity and dozens of children come off of our waiting list.  I hope you will consider joining me in “hitting it out of the park” during this fall’s Annual Fund Campaign appeal for Ephraim and all of the riders at the farm “Where All Children Are Equal in the Saddle”; every dollar is received with deep gratitude for your support.
Fern Aron
Saddle Up! Volunteer

If you'd prefer to send a check, please mail a check payable to Saddle Up! to 1549 Old Hillsboro Road, Franklin, TN 37069.
We need your help to share Ephraim's story with the world so that Saddle Up! can continue impacting the lives of children and youth with disabilities for years to come.
Would you be willing to take just a few seconds to share this video on your social media networks along with this link to donate? Thank you for helping us spread the word about Saddle Up!.
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1549 Old Hillsboro Road | Franklin, TN 37069 US
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