I have been attending Coreys Day on the Farm for five years now. I have always believed it to be a wonderful event that offers special needs children the opportunity to experience how wonderful horses are. I always looked at this event as a great means to "giving back". I never thought of it as much more.
Today was the first time in the last five years of attending this incredibly special event, that I actually broke down in tears. Never before had I actually gotten that emotionally provoked at the event. There have always been memorable children that attend, but never before had one actually touched my heart and make me re-consider what this event is really about.
The small boy was carried onto the horse. Initially, we thought a rider might be needed because he was so small. He grasped firmly to the horn of the saddle and we decided that two side walkers should be fine. He didnt saw a word as we spoke words of encouragement and called him a cowboy. He kept his small eyes closed and continued to hold tight to the horn, clearly introverted. I continued to talk to him softly and lightly as we started to make the lap around the pen. A hand on his small back, I rubbed his back and continued talking to him.
About halfway into the lap, he suddenly turned to me and slowly opened his eyes. He began to smile - a smile that was truely coming from his heart, not from the words I was sawing. His small hand came off of the horn and grasped the air. I offered him my index finger, which the tiny fingers closed around. He smiled so warmly to me and held firm to my finger for the rest of the ride. I couldnt help but just look up at his incredibly sweet face and smile back at him. I was sad that the horse ride was over. I said good-bye and as I left the chute, my throat began to tighten. I couldnt help but start to cry. My friend wasnt quite sure what was the matter. I wasnt quite sure why I was crying, but the tears began to sleadily flow.
I continued to think about that sweet boy for the rest of the day. I realized that he showed me what this event is about. It's about love, and finding a connection with these incredibly special children. He made me realize something I hadnt before, something I was ashamed to admit. I realized that these children are still competely capable of feeling and knowing love. Even though it might be difficult to see the person behind the exteriors, these children are still incredible souls. That is why we have Corey's Day. That is how we give back - by making that real connection. I truly changed after leaving Corey's Day this time. This is what it is all about.