Dec 27, 2013

Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris Chaisson Back in the Saddle!

December 27th, 2013

Cowboy Up! Instructor Chris Chaisson (Army) has been waiting patiently for the weather to comply with his plans for getting back in the saddle for first time in 14 months since his car accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. - with all hands on deck - today was the day! 

And Rick, you are so right, "This was the best Christmas present we could ever have!"

Chris oversees saddling and checks his tack at every stage.

First stage of tack check complete! As it is in everything we do, SAFETY was driving todays training and SMOOTH was the order of the day!

Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis re-familiarizes Hollywood with the platform where Chris will mount.  Normally one will mount from the ground so to make sure Hollywood understands that we will be towering over him in order to mount we re-familiarize him with us standing on the platform as well.

A gentle touch from Hollywood ~ priceless.

Executive Director Rick Iannucci continues to take Hollywood all around the platform and along both sides... 

...and we mount ourselves several times before the real deal to make sure Hollywood remembers his job and knows what to expect.  This is another good reason why we mount and dismount all our horses from BOTH sides!

It's time...

Good boy Hollywood!

Here we go...

... Hollywood comes nearer...

... and Chris is ready to get on...

... and he's back in the saddle once again!!!

Like he had never stopped.

It's good to be horseback...

...and riding once again!

Chris directing Hollywood forward.

After several passes and we can see what great balance Chris has...

... it's time to ride.. just him and Hollywood. With Capt. John Shannon, Rick and Nancy flanking and our safety outrider Bianca Shannon riding Star in position Chris is ready to ride.

Hollywood responds well to all of Chris' cues as he walks on... 

... and on the bridge...

... and pauses until Chris says it's okay to move on.

This day was made possible because of Chris Chaisson and his "never quit" attitude and this great Cowboy Up! Crew:
L. to R. Newest volunteer horsewoman and outrider Bianca Shannon, Cowboy Up! Assistant Instructor John Shannon, Horses For Heroes - NM, Inc. Executive Director Rick Iannucci, 
Sgt. Chris "Crash" Chaisson, and Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis.

And a HUGE Thank You to our photographer of the day and volunteer helper, Marco Shannon.
Thanks  Little Buddy ~ ya did great! 

Chris' will and determination continue to pay off ~ we are so proud of you brother!