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Lucy

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Manes and Miracles

The healing bond between child and animal is greater than you think.

The horses at Manes and Miracles have names like Iceman and Maverick, a little nod to the film Top Gun. While the horses don't go at jet speed, they do trot along at the perfect pace for their riders. Their passengers are what matter most here, and the horses do more than just take them for a ride.

For Lucy, aged 6, she eagerly signs 'horse' to her mom, Mandy Woodman. Lucy has down syndrome and cerebral palsy and her mobility was therefore limited. Lucy has been riding for two years now and the rocking of the horse gradually strengthened her core and she can now sit up on her own. Lucy is just one of many children with special needs who reap numerous benefits from their time with the horses here.

Manes and Miracles is a non-profit that began in 2018 and helps up to 60-70 children each week. This organization developed out of a desire for service and community by Matt and Lindsey Pittman. Their journey began when Matt suffered an accident during his time as a police officer which forced him out of his job and a long road to recovery both physically and mentally. Having lost a purpose without his career, Matt turned to equine therapy. Soon he and Lindsey saw their calling and embarked on creating Manes and Miracles to help children with developmental disabilities.

Another mom, Sarah Martin, says that riding has helped her son Jaxon, 6, to better regulate his mood and more endurance overall. Chandler, 16, has been riding for about a year and his mother, Michelle Dunlavy, says that the benefits have included giving him a sense of calm, more stability, and even improving his fine motor skills. Michelle says that the horse helps Chandler calm his sensory system down so that he is able to focus more on tasks. 

Matt hopes to continue this work and more by extending the therapy to veterans and emergency service workers, like himself, who suffer from PTSD and other conditions. For now, Matt has found his passion and a sense of peace working alongside these gentle horses and watching the many kids here flourish in their company. www.manesandmiraclesaz.org

  • Lindsey and Matt Pittman
  • Lucy
  • Jaxon