My name is Phil Quinatana and I am a USMC Veteran and have been riding at TxTRC for almost 2 years. In 2006, I was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan which took my left leg above the knee amongst other injuries. I was one of the first veterans asked to join the program but was reluctant to accept as no other form of therapy had helped with my PTSD in the past, so how could this?
I couldn’t have been more wrong and I am so thankful I accepted. Shelby started me slowly knowing my fear of horses. Starting from the basics of how to approach the horse, what each body part is called, grooming, tack and how it is used. She let me do alot of these things independently, with supervision of course, which gave me a sense of confidence I haven’t felt in a long time.
Quickly I became confident enough to ride and I was hooked. It took some ingenuity but we figured out how to keep me stabilized on the horse. Shelby made a basket for me to place my stump in so I can lift myself out of the saddle and post. I have now competed in multiple horse shows with TxTRC, which I never thought would be possible for me given my circumstances but I am and I absolutely love it.
The adrenaline of competition and getting to meet so many adaptive riders like myself has become my favorite part of this sport. This program has become a way for me to silence my demons, get out of the dark places, give me something to look forward to and has brought my family together. I have also seen TxTRC’s program work miracles in other verterans life’s as well.
My name is Jenny Quintana, I am a caregiver to an OEF USMC Veteran amputee and have been volunteering for TxTRC for three years now. Our involvement came when my husband was offered an opportunity to participate. He was timid and had little interest in horses but I had grown up with them and awed at the idea of getting to not only ride again but have him and our children experience it, so they offered us this amazing opportunity to go through the program as a family, which very few organizations do.
We learned and grew for the first year under Shelby. I watched not only my husband but my children as well gain so much confidence that they carried far beyond the barn. It helped us connect as a family, something that has been a struggle since my husband’s injury It wasn’t just my husband and children who benefited, I found my joy again.
Being a caregiver to a wounded veteran and a mother is hard. It becomes easy to lose yourself in the countless doctor appointments and surgeries. The horses, TxTRC and Shelby helped me find what makes me happy again and for that I will be forever grateful. I am now a working student/volunteer for TxTRC as well as helping on the board 4-5 days a week.
I get to witness and help others grow throughout the program, see breakthroughs, help riders conquer fears, help veterans and other adaptive riders train to compete in shows and see them succeed in just the way our family has. TxTRC is so much more than a riding center. They create an environment in which everyone feels like a family and the barn feels like home.