Alani sized

Alani finds her happy place

After a busy day at school, 11-year-old Alani bounces into the barn as she gently holds back a smile. “I’m freeeeee,” she says releasing her lips to reveal a gleaming grin as she stretches her arms out wide. “I get to do something I really want to do!”

Alani peers down the aisle eagerly waiting for her horse, Xena, to round the corner and walk into the mounting area where she will climb on and spend 45 minutes of pure joy on the back of this beautiful, strapping, black-and-white Tobiano Spotted Draft.

“Fieldstone is Alani’s happy place,” says her mom, Maria, smiling.

Alani first came to Fieldstone two summers ago as part of our Summer Camp with Hospice of the Western Reserve after both of her uncles had passed away. It was such a positive experience that she enrolled in weekly classes.

“Being around the horses gives Alani a sense of happiness like nothing else,” says her mom. “The horses just sense what she is going through and they gently lay their head on her to comfort her.”

When Alani rides Xena, you see a calm confidence as she guides one of our largest horses in the barn around the arena, looking ahead with her back straight and her legs connected to Xena’s large barrel. She is fully “in the moment” with her horse, leaving all of her anxieties at
the door.

Leslie, her instructor, sees Alani’s growing confidence not only on horseback but in everything Alani does at the farm, from grooming and tacking her horse, to greeting other students and forming lasting relationships with volunteers.

Alani’s mom has also made friends at the farm. “Fieldstone is a wonderful place. It feels like home when we come here.”