At HorseSaddleShop.com, we have the privilege of working with some wonderful customers. Occasionally, we like to let you know the stories of some of the people we have the pleasure of assisting.
Dan Files loves his horse Dollar. In corresponding with Dan, he wrote, "My horse and I are so connected. … I will walk before I hurt him." You might not think that’s a big deal…until you know a little more about Dan. Dan is a totally disabled veteran of the Gulf War who lives is West Virginia. His legs are numb from the knee down and his arms are weakened. His face and chest are numb also, leaving him unable to speak. BUT he is able to ride his horse.
Dan told us about a fellow disabled veteran and paraplegic, Mike McGowan, who is a horse trainer and travels all over the US giving horse shows and clinics. He is an expert with folks that are disabled. He picked out Dollar for Dan 20 months ago. Speaking about Dollar, Dan says, “it is like riding a horse with power steering and a very slight touch with my legs or hands and he does what I ask, I cannot talk or make a sound. He responds to signs from my hands and touch and legs. He is so quiet I take him to nursing homes and the school for Deaf and Blind here in West Virginia.”
Dan riding Dollar
Dan has a lot of support from friends who help him pursue his love for riding. “My wife has to get me ready to go - she has never left my side in all these years. I have to be helped or use a ramp to mount my horse. Our good friends at our bank help us out and keep track of our funds each month. We know all of the UPS drivers that come to our home. They are like friends, they usually just bring the orders in and put them where we keep the items.” Just recently, McGowan helped Dan pick out a new saddle for Dollar. (In case you’re curious, it’s Fabtron’s new Easy Trail Homesteader Saddle – the dropped rigging was one of the deciding factors). Dan is also selling his used Textan saddle on consignment at HorseSaddleShop.com. You can see it here: http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/tex-tan-used-saddle1.html
Dan with wife Joan and Dollar
Due to a recent fall which injured his shoulder, Dan won’t be able to ride for a while. But that didn’t stop him from getting a new saddle. “Folks ask me why I keep going to the farm. I refuse to sit around and do nothing. My horse is the best and I will go until my body won't move.”
We’re proud of you Dan! You are an inspiration to us all.
Click here to see a recent article on Dan Files:
http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/538401.html or check out the May 2009 issue of the APHA Magazine